JONATHAN COOK
at UKZN Greenfields Turf

The toughest men’s A Section group at the 2015 University Sport South Africa (USSA) hockey week is in Pool A, where defending champs University of Johannesburg (UJ), University of Stellenbosch (Maties) and University of Pretoria (Tuks) are slugging it out for two berths in Thursday’s semi-finals.

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JONATHAN COOK
at UKZN Greenfields Turf

THE quality of hockey, coupled with the sheer drama and competitive nature of a men’s clash between such long-time rivals, set the tone for a superb opening day of the 2015 University Sport South Africa tournament at UKZN Pietermaritzburg’s Greenfields Turf Monday.

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JONATHAN COOK

The stage is set for a memorable week of university hockey fun and games in Pietermaritzburg.

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It’s been a riveting weekend of indoor hockey in Bellville down in the Western Cape. There have been more goals than controversial statements from Donald Trump and as the weekend progressed the quality of the hockey started to experience an upsurge as well. Ultimately it was the expected KZN Raiders who did the job and emerged victorious.

After the group stages were completed on Friday, the knock out stages is where the tournament truly begins and the quality of games really backed that statement up.  The Raiders continued on their relentless march in both the women’s and men’s tournament where the victims of their brutally efficient hockey was the WP Pens and Mpumalanga respectively.

There was a major upset in the Quarter finals of the men’s tournament as an opening salvo of supreme pace and relentless attack saw the Southern Gauteng “B” Side, known as Wits march to an early lead against the KZN Inland side. It was a lead they would not release and they ended up victors with one of the displays of the tournament. There reward though was a match against the unstoppable Raiders in the Semi-Final where Ryan Hack’s men could not be stopped.

The other Men’s semi-final produced the greatest showdown spectacle I have ever been fortunate enough to witness. It took 11 rounds of showdowns before Southern Gauteng finally emerged victorious 7-6 against Western Province after being 2-0 down in the actual game itself. Kamal Ramburth-Hurt, who played for the SA men against the All Stars in December last year, scored the most audacious flick that left Becker fuming and the crowd roaring!

With the Velodrome surface playing fast and the players getting used to it, the importance of close control was high and it’s no surprise that the teams that used this to move the ball were having the most success, much like the KZN Raiders ladies. The Raiders were almost belligerent in how they dismissed their Western Province counterparts in the final to retain the title. Province who were superbly coached by Brinsley Powell, decided to pull their keeper to chase the game, but probably a bit too early and the Raiders were able to add the gloss to the scoreline that arguably their tournament domination had deserved.

The men’s final was an altogether different affair. Southern Gauteng were the heavy underdogs but started with a bang when Kyle Marks scored from a rebound, the Raiders fought back before a sensational goal by Brandon James gave Southerns the lead again. Raiders, not to be outdone fought back with a great team goal finished off by Greg Last.  After half time the Southerns boys started to tire and the Raiders almost looked to have more energy and raised the game to another level. After taking the lead through inspirational skipper Fairweather and another through Eustice, the Raiders employed a brand of game management that would make the All Blacks proud in seeing it out.

The tournament was undoubtedly one of the best indoor IPT’s that we have seen in South Africa, although there is room for improvement. The involvement of PSi in hosting the IPT raised the tournament to a better level and it would make sense if a continued involvement was sought out for them by SA Hockey.

In terms of the individual awards the top goalscorers awards were shared in the men’s by Jethro Eustice (Raiders) and Gavin Jelley (Inland), and incredibly shared in the ladies as well by Cindy Hack and Eloise Walters (both Raiders). Matthew Becker did is own national hopes no hurt, by being named keeper of the tournament while Nicole le Fleur won the award for the lady. Lastly it was to player of the tournament which was easily won by Jethro Eustice in the mens tournament. In the ladies tournament Nicole de Vries, who had received stiches on Friday when a mask hit her, was named the player of the tournament.

Final Positions

Men’s Indoor Inter Provincial Tournament Women’s Indoor Inter Provincial Tournament
1.  KZN Raiders 1.       KZN Raiders
2.  Southern Gauteng 2.       Western Province
3.  Western Province 3.       KZN Mynahs
4.  Wits 4.       Southern Gauteng
5.  KZN Inland 5.       North West
6.  WP Pens 6.       KZN Inland
7.  Eastern Gauteng 7.       WP Pens
8.  Mpumalanga 8.       Mpumalanga

 

 

  • Rio 2016 Technical Delegate succeeds Kelly Fairweather
  • New Zealand’s McCracken begins February 2017
  • FIH Executive Board delighted with choice following extensive search

25 October 2016: The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has announced that New Zealand’s Jason McCracken will take over as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in February 2017 following confirmation of his appointment today.

He will be leaving his role as Head of Insurance and Investment Risk at banking group ANZ to take on the role at FIH’s headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. He will replace Kelly Fairweather who is leaving for the International Tennis Federation after six years in the role.

McCracken is well known to the hockey family having served as an Olympic and World Cup Umpire, FIH Committee Member and Technical Official for over 20-years. His most recent appointments were Technical Delegate at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and Tournament Director at the 2014 Men’s Hockey World Cup in The Hague, Netherlands.

He has also served as a Board Member for Hockey New Zealand and has played an important role in the development of hockey, especially umpiring, both within his homeland and internationally.

Having held executive roles across global banking, insurance and financial organisations in New Zealand, Australia and India, his business experience and vast hockey knowledge proved crucial in the recruitment process.

The appointment was made following an extensive global search over several months, with the FIH Executive Board and President Leandro Negre agreeing on Fairweather’s replacement earlier in October.

Speaking of his appointment, FIH President Leandro Negre said: “On behalf of the Executive Board, we are delighted to confirm Jason’s appointment. With his incredible hockey knowledge, from grassroots to elite level, combined with his extensive commercial background as a CEO and an Executive General Manager, it was clear he was the stand-out choice.”

Negre continued: “Our 10-year Hockey Revolution strategy is already having a significant impact on the sport, but with the new event portfolio due to be implemented over the next couple of years, it is going to be a very important period in hockey’s history. We’re confident Jason can drive forward our ambition through this strategy and we look forward to seeing him shape the sport’s exciting future.”

McCracken also spoke with great enthusiasm having confirmed his appointment. He said: “This is a unique opportunity to combine my commercial skills with my passion and love of the game. I am delighted to be given the opportunity to lead the organisation and work with our Continental Federations, National Associations, commercial partners, the IOC, along with the talented FIH team and many hockey friends from all over the world.”

He added: “It is an incredibly exciting time for the FIH, with the Hockey Revolution transforming the sport. With the new event portfolio to be implemented over the coming years this is certainly a challenge that I am looking forward to. As hockey’s new CEO, I will be leading by example as we aim to make hockey a global game that inspires the next generation.”

With Kelly Fairweather leaving the organisation in December, FIH Director of Sport and Development, David Luckes, will become temporary CEO until McCracken officially takes up his new role on 1 February 2017.

McCracken will arrive following the election of a new FIH President which will take place on 12 November 2016 during the 45th FIH Congress in Dubai. For more information about that event, visit the official Hockey Revolution Part 2 website by clicking here.
ENDS
Notes to Editors

For more information please contact:
Danny Parker, FIH Communications & Digital Manager
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
+41 (0) 21 641 0641

About the International Hockey Federation (FIH)
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) is the world governing body for the sport of hockey, recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Founded in 1924, FIH today has 132 member National Associations. For more information on the Hockey Revolution, visit: fih.ch/inside-fih/our-strategy
For more information about the FIH Quality Programme for Hockey Turf, click here.