Batch Named Young Black Sticks Squad to Defend Azlan Shah Title

Black Sticks Men’s head coach Colin Batch has selected an exciting young side to compete at the Sultan Azlan Shah tournament in Malaysia next month.

Nick Ross (Photo credit: Photosport)

Nick Ross will debut for New Zealand (Photo credit: Photosport)

Cory Bennett (North Harbour) and Nick Ross (Midlands) are set to make their Black Sticks debuts while Isaac Staples (Canterbury) has been included in the side after an impressive showing at the recent national training camp.

Classy defender Dean Couzins will again captain the New Zealand side, which edged Argentina 1-0 to win last year’s Azlan Shah final.

Batch has taken the opportunity to give several up and coming players valuable experience ahead of key tournaments later this year. Continue reading →

Youth and experience combined in 2013 Black Sticks Squad

Black Sticks Men’s head coach Colin Batch has named five new faces in his 2013 National Squad as well as experienced players from this year’s Olympic team.

Black Sticks LogoNorth Harbour’s Cory Bennett, James Coughlan and George Muir as well as Auckland’s Devon Manchester and Alex Shaw have all had the call up having been in the 2012 Development Squad.

One of two debutants named, Muir said when he read the email last night he was scanning the Development Squad list so was pretty surprised when he spotted his name higher up the list.

“To be one of the 25 players is a highlight of the year for me, and a pretty nice Christmas present,” says Muir who has just finished his first year of Law and Commerce at Auckland University. Continue reading →

New faces in Black Sticks Men’s Champions Trophy team

Head coach Colin Batch has made it clear that he is searching for the next group of Black Sticks that can make up his side for the 2016 Olympic Games.

Dean Couzins

Dean Couzins: Captain of Black Sticks for Champions Trophy

For the upcoming Champions Trophy to be held in Melbourne in December, Batch has opted to select eight new players including debutants Jacob Smith (Capital), Alex Shaw (Auckland) and goalkeeper Devon Manchester (Auckland). Goalkeeper Hamish McGregor (Southern), who only has one international test cap, has also made the side.

“There are a number of players who I believe need a shot – some just missed out on Olympic selection, others are younger players who I think have real talent and something to offer this side going forward,” says Batch, who was head coach for Belgium at the London Olympics and previously assistant coach of Australia. Continue reading →

Colin Batch will be New Coach of Black Sticks Men’s Team

Hockey New Zealand is pleased to announce the appointment of Colin Batch as head coach of the Black Sticks Men.

Black Sticks LogoA former Australian player, Batch is highly respected and recognised as a world-class coach. He has a proven track record having been head coach of the Belgium men’s team for the last two years and assistant coach of the Australian men’s team for eight years which included two successful Olympic campaigns. Continue reading →

Let’s not make Michael Nobbs a scapegoat for India’s disastrous showing in Olympics!

Watching some of the top hockey teams like Australia, Netherlands, Germany play at the 2012 Olympics gives you a fair impression of the improvement areas Indian team needs to focus on. Michael Nobbs-coached Indian team adopted the Australian style of hockey, the merits of which were seen in all the games India played in the last six months going into the London Olympics.

Chief Coach Michael Nobbs

Chief Coach Michael Nobbs

But with the Indian team delivering their worst-ever performance at hockey’s showpiece event, all the demerits of it are coming out of the closet and that too, in droves.

As a hockey fan first, and second as a sports journalist, I am saddened at the way the Indian team has cut such a frustrating figure at the Olympics. In fact, all the pre-tournament hopes pinned on India got a massive leg up when India fought hard against the Netherlands, especially in the second half after a forgettable first half before an ‘unfair’ penalty stroke denial in the dying minutes of the game robbed us of the opportunity to script a 3-3 draw. The only solace was that we lost narrowly (2-3) against one of the world’s top sides. Continue reading →