Sunday, December 26, 2010

Indoor Hockey Clips

Canterbury and Trinidad and Tobago hockey player, Kwan Browne on playing at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India, December 2010...

Monday, November 22, 2010

England Hockey League in Leicestershire

Rebecca Herbert scored an amazing second goal during Leicester's 4-0 victory over University of Birmingham in the EHL Premier Division on Sunday, 21st November.

Herbie is on quite a run of form at the moment having scored 9 goals so far this season with only Linda Royston of Cannock on equal numbers at the moment, and Birmingham's Sophie Bray on 8 behind them both.

Check it out on the video above.

Same score line as the previous season and fixture, but the ladies from Birmingham seemed to make Leicester work much harder for their goals.

There was around 30 people watching from the side lines, including my Hindi teacher, Sharmistha who came to watch. Apart from the cold she did enjoy the experience of watching her first live hockey match.

More Leicester videos...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hurricane Wendy!

A lot of fun was had working with the BBC London weather presenter, Wendy Hurrell for the Essex Sports Awards 2010.

Wendy came and recorded the above piece for broadcasting during the ceremony, and showed-off some pretty good stick skills.  

Thursday, November 11, 2010

World Cup Bid

Congratulations to the Dutch, it is a shame the 2014 World Cups won't be coming to England. I'm obviously disappointed with the decision by the International Hockey Federation, as I feel the World Cups in England would have helped to secure the legacy for hockey from the London Olympics.

I think England offered a lot and needs to have the regular international level events to get people into the routine of going to watch hockey and support the national teams.

This can't be done without the events coming to the UK.

We still have the Olympics with the test tournament and events and the Commonwealth Games coming up in Glasgow.

But it'll be some 5 years from the Nottingham Champions Trophy in 2010 until the possibility of getting another major international hockey tournament some time after 2014 in England.

That to me is far too long.

Looking at the calender there will be plenty of trips to India, Argentina, Netherlands and Germany and not enough in England.

Also factor in we have only ever had the men's World Cup in 1986 and the women's event has never been to England, the chance to come to England has been missed, and a chance at a good time for the sport also.

I contributed footage to the promotional film made for the World Cup bid and I was pleased to hear Shaun Dawson, the Chief Executive of the Lee Valley Park Regional Authority talk about the bid live on BBC Essex at the Essex Sports Awards. He'll be running the centre at Eton Manor once it is built.

It's funny isn't it that Roger Mosey (BBC Head of Olympics 2012 coverage) released viewing figures for sports at the Athens Olympics back in March 2010 on his blog. Makes interesting reading doesn't it? Hockey with a quarter hour peak audience of 6.3 million? Putting it up with the top performing sports and events of that Olympic Games. The Athens Olympics give the most obvious comparison with London and provide something of an indicator as to the popular sports.

If hockey does do this well and better let's hope the BBC commentary has improved significantly.

Prior to the Commonwealth Games starting in Delhi back in October it was revealed that hockey was the biggest selling sport for tickets.

According to this report some 60,000 hockey tickets had been sold before the end of September, look at the packed stadiums in Argentina and you see a sport on the up across the globe.

And the FIH, by giving tournaments to India and Argentina are doing much great work to support the sport in those countries. The Olympics and Commonwealth Games are not given out by the FIH, and are both multi-sport events and lack the focus on pure hockey.

Women's Champions Trophy 2010, Eurohockey Nations Championship (Men's and women's) 2007, Olympic Qualifiers in Milton Keynes 1999, World Cup (Men's) 1986.

Hardly many international events compared to the Netherlands.

World Cup (Men's) 1973, World Cup (Women's) 1986, Utrecht (Men's and women's) 1998, Eurohockey Nations Championship 2009, Champions Trophy 2011.

Yes, the Dutch do it very well, but it should have been time to give someone else a go.

It was only as recently as 2002 that the organisational structure in England had financial problems, hockey in England has recovered in around 8 years - an amazing turnaround and reinvention of the selection system and funding model for the organisation.

The World Cups being given to England would have further progressed this project and helped to say we were back as a major force in international hockey.

Anyhow, we've got more chance - should England bid - of winning the 2018 Hockey World Cups, than anything to do with the football tournament!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Essex Sports Awards 2010

The Essex Sports Awards 2010 take place on Wednesday, 10th November 2010 - you can listen live to the ceremony on BBC Essex 103.5 FM & 95.3 FM/DAB/Online at the BBC Essex webiste. Click on listen live from 1900 GMT.

It should be a very exciting night and there will be plenty for hockey fans and sports fans alike.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

England Hockey League and Spectators...

Well, I haven't managed to get to any domestic matches yet, but I'm looking forward to a few in the coming weeks.

It is often remarked that not that many people go to watch hockey games during the season, but I'm interested to hear people's favourite games that they've been to see over the years.

There was two very exciting matches between Leicester and Reading last season in the EHL and Surbiton have played some great games along with East Grinstead.

Do you have a memory of watching top-flite hockey in the UK? And what made you go and support?

Please post a comment...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

England Men Miss Bronze

Is there a bit of a curse on the England men and the Commonwealth Games?

They've only ever won bronze once in 1998 in the first Commonwealth Games hockey tournament, compared to the ladies who've taken a medal from each tournament since the beginning.

Still the men have had two very impressive matches, one against India and now this one with New Zealand.

There was a big crowd as you can see from the pictures.

Again poor Adam Dixon he'll feel terrible for the penalty save, but hopefully this will make them all stronger for 2014 and Glasgow.

 And Australia were on fire as ever, interestingly Chloe predicted an 8-0 win by the guys from downunder the previous night. I'd said surely a single goal victory for India? Well, I'm big enough to admit I'm wrong!

Well that's just about it from Delhi. We have the domestic season in the UK already up and running, and I'm already planning hockey trips for next year! Champions Trophy in the Netherlands and a European Championships in Germany - should be very good!

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Bronze for England Ladies

So, 1-0 was the tight score line against South Africa. I think it is interesting to note that the top ranked teams are closing in on each other, especially in the women's game.

A year ago we perhaps wouldn't have included New Zealand and England in the faster developers, now we do.

Next year will be very interesting for the England women's team, with a Champions Trophy in the Netherlands and a European Championships in Germany - both very exciting prospects for the ladies.

Possibly there was a few tired England players out there, 3 top international tournaments in as many months is a big ask of players.

I'm glad that some of the players don't feel satisfied with a bronze this time round. I remember back to Melbourne when we'd scrapped through a penalty shoot out with New Zealand and the feeling was bronze was the best we could have hoped for.

Now it is much, much more.
Above: Me and guy from Melbourne radio who was going to different events at the Commonwealth Games to support Australia.
Above: My first tiger in India! This is the mascot of the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, he did one lap at half time and decided he couldn't take the 40'C heat!

Above: Chloe Rogers gets her second Commonwealth bronze medal from Dame Kelly Holmes.

Above: Australia celebrate winning gold again
Above: Australia and New Zealand players walk around the pitch at the end of the final

Above: Marion Seymour and flag!

We have England Men in action tomorrow and I have a ticket for the India v Australia final!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

England Lose on Penalties

I caught the end of the Men's game against India 3-3 after extra time and then penalty flicks. I have to just say I feel terrible for Glenn Kirkham, such a shame. But on the positive side the men are playing for the first Commonwealth medal for some time - the last one they got was in 1998.

As for the ladies well a game against South Africa awaits them tomorrow.

I went to the synchronized diving today, and saw Chelmsford's Rebecca Gallantree in action, well done to her - although she didn't win I thought she was very good. Anyway, it is difficult to see much in it between dives for someone like me who knows very little about the sport.  

Above: England's women's hockey players pose for a photo in the special meeting area.

Above: Carol and Annie Craddock at the diving.

Above: Rebecca Gallantree from Chelmsford dives.

Monday, October 11, 2010

England Disappointed

A 1-0 defeat to Australia in the semi-finals and to be fair we dominated but failed to convert chances. The Aussies and the English both contained each other, with Charlotte Craddock getting the best chance early on in the game.

40 degrees Celsius was shown on a thermometer on the large screens in the National Hockey Stadium at the beginning and at half-time - a suggestion to the umpires it might be a little too hot to play? For me in the stands it was boiling.

My feeling is the two semis should have been played in the evening - no disrespect to Scotland against Wales, but England v Australia is the bigger game.

Danny Kerry, the England Coach, is right to question this scheduling of the match during the hot part of the day.

But at the end of the day, Australia produced the goal, congratulations to Madonna Blyth for scoring and setting up an exciting final against New Zealand.

Let's hope the men do a little better against India.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Shimla and Pinjore

On the advice of my lungs, and Chloe - who said: "Don't watch the hockey all the time, do stuff" - I decided to come to Shimla for a few days.

It is around 8 hours north of Delhi, however it took us closer to 12 hours to drive here, due to the crazy traffic and stops along the way.

I had a look around the gardens at Pinjore, just before we entered the foothills of the Himalayas (See pictures below).

Above: Yadavindra Gardens in Pinjore, on the border with Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. Just about the start of the Himalayas.

I was first attracted to Shimla and the hill stations after watching the BBC's excellent series of documentary programmes on 'Indian Hill Railways', narrated by the wonderful voice of Bernard Hill (Yosser Hughes in Boys from the Blackstuff).

Shimla known as 'The Queen of Hill Stations' was featured in one programme and it looked like an English town. Well, that was the idea when it was constructed by the British.

Since the mid-nineteenth century Shimla became the cold capital, all the Brits would decamp here when Kolkata and Delhi became far too hot.  

The Viceroy of India would reside here and there is a huge Viceregal Lodge to view on Observatory Hill, along with other great houses to view on Summer Hill and along the Mall.

I particularly want to visit Scandal Point, more on that later.

The Oberoi Hotel is stunning and makes London Mayfair places look a little cheap, apparently Rudyard Kipling used to stay in the house they converted into the hotel, when he visted Shimla.

A day of sight-seeing follows then leave for Delhi tonight to make the semi-final between Australia and England.

In the Lord Curzon suite at breakfast this morning, I raised a rye smile at the sight of Essex jams and honey from Tiptree. Well done Wilkin and Sons, 125 years of jam making in the Essex town and still going strong!

Above: The hotel and some views from the mountains looking out from Shimla.

 Oh and it is very 'Tunda' - cold, lovely and cold!

Friday, October 08, 2010

New Zealand Defeat

It was a little bit disappointing to lose 4-1 to New Zealand, especially after such an amazing opener from England.

I understand there may be some sickness in the England camp, so that could account for a few problems - but on the day you had to say Katie Glynn was in fine form, scoring a hat-trick.

Charlotte Harrison also played some good hockey, and it is a credit to Mark Hager, their Australian coach, and the work the team have put in over the summer - getting a result against the number five ranked international side.

South Africa drew with Australia, another big result today 1-1 - so the semi spots are quite wide open going into the last women's pool matches.

Above: Me outside, there is plenty of police and army soldiers to protect visitors like me.

Above: The Dhyan Chand National Hockey Stadium in New Delhi. A sign up says it is only the second best hockey stadium in the world! This is crazy, this is the best purpose built stadium only for hockey in the world. No question. With out a doubt. Could do with some roofs on the stands to protect visitors from the sun!   

Above: England after the match against New Zealand, it's no way near finished yet.

Thursday, October 07, 2010


I feel a little sorry for the Indian women's hockey team, I have now seen two pieces in national newspapers and a feature of the TV all starting with... 'The problem with Indian women's hockey is...'

1. The goalkeeping
2. The defence
3. The attack

Well, hang on that doesn't leave much else to pull apart.

I think lack of marking lead to Australia's first goal, but they recovered and played well in parts. I think being critical of the attack does get somewhere near the problems with the India team.

I would say fitness levels between Indian players compared to some of the top teams in this competition and at the World Cup are very noticeable.

If you look at the top female sides they're players do a lot more running for the ball and pulling the defence out wide.

That said the Indians do have some great penalty corner routines, if this is what Sandeep Somesh can achieve in a couple of months, and yes he had been around the coaching staff for some time, imagine what they'll be like next year.

It was good to see India making use of the aerial a lot, and effectively in cases and what the commentators seem to forget was that India could have drawn or gone on to win, if the forwards had put away a few more chances.

India are certainly an improving side and one to watch.  

It was good to see a few more fans in the stand for the India game as well.

Rest Day

Had the chance to do a bit of sight-seeing in Delhi, went to the Presidential Palace, and Parliament building. The spectacular buildings look out onto a vista that includes India Gate in the distance and were designed by Edwin Lutyens and took some 18 years to build. This is was originally constructed for the Viceroy of India to live in during the British period and wasn't finished until 1931.

The scale, size and beauty of the buildings really are hard to convey over my little pictures.


And also a chance to catch up with Chloe ahead of the big clash with New Zealand. People often wonder what the athletes get up to during tournaments (when not training). Well, sometimes they watch TV, or movies - I don't think I'm giving too much away when I say, Chloe took the 'Mistresses' boxset of DVDs to Argentina.

And then at least one day they're forced to meet up with people like me ! 

 Above: Team England have a special area at one of the Delhi hotels for athletes to meet up with parents, friends and family.

Today, I also learnt the Hindi word for beautiful... However, I've forgotten it. :(

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Looking Hot!

So England win, India lose, and England win!

Rani Rampal is wearing pink trainers just like Luciana Aymar, and Rani showed her class towards the end with her excellent goal.

Above: Me wearing my India hockey shirt from Sandeep Somesh, signed on the back by the whole India women's team out in Argentina - it caused a lot of interest!

India will be at their base cursing the missed opportunities towards the beginning of that game with the Ozzies. I had India down to beat them, but it wasn't to be with a 2-1 victory to Australia.

There was a few more people in for the India game, even if the guys I was chatting to had mixed up the days and thought they'd be seeing India's men! So, they taught me the 'Chaka de India' song and we had a bit of a sing-a-long.

'Chaka de India' is Hindi for 'Go India!' and is from the excellent Bollywood movie about the Indian women's hockey team.

Great goal from Chloe Rogers; get your stick out and low when in the circle and you'll get a touch, top of the net - fab!

Now I understand there is a bit of debate going on in the UK about the music of 'Jerusalem' being played at the start and the England teams non-singing of it.

Well, its stupid - isn't it?

It is not the national anthem of the UK, and the women spend all the rest of the year singing 'God Save the Queen', so let England stick with that.

Also I notice that a lot of the anthems are shortened versions anyway, obviously only the complete song of 'Jerusalem' has been provided - so it goes on and on and on and on and climaxes with a less than impressive ending.

We don't play all 4 verses of 'God Save the Queen' anymore, so why play all of this? (If you must have it at all). 

Above: The top of India Gate viewed from the National Hockey Stadium.
Above: Alan Craddock cut a bit of a lonely figure in the stand, as England supporters moved to the top to get a bit of protection from the burning mid-morning sunshine.
And more volunteers wanted to speak Hindi to the funny foreigner, one volunteer even said: "I'm friendly"- isn't that nice?!

So, a very hot day all round - spent mostly in full sunshine. Phewwwww! Rest day tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

India, First Days...

Well, I have arrived and England won 4-1 against Wales today. So, start as we mean to go on.

It was an okay match - England did what needed to be done. 

Above: The stunning India Gate war memorial next to the National Hockey Stadium in Delhi

Above: Me with marigolds!

Above: Some volunteers wanted a picture taken with some English people, so here we go!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Email Question

Fernando writes:

Just wanted to know what is Oli's opinion on how the Argie crowd treated the England team in general.

Oli replies:

The crowd treated the England team well.

The two exceptions were during the pool match against South Africa, that England won 2-1 and the 2-0 defeat to Argentina.

Towards the end of the South Africa game it was clear England would be putting the pressure on Argentina in the pool, so the crowd started blowing whistles and shouting for South Africa!

Obviously the home crowd were for the hosts - but the noise was incredible for the Argentina games, especially when Luciana Aymar walked onto the pitch.
Watch the crowd from the opening Argentina match.
Please do feel free to post comments on the blog or you can email me by clicking here.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Essex Sports Awards 2010

A project I'm working on at BBC Essex, nominations have opened for the Essex Sports Awards 2010. If you know of a sports volunteer and athletes in Essex due some recognition, then get nominating!

Nomination form (Scroll down to the bottom of the new page)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Note About What's Coming Up...

I'm off to the Commonwealth Games in India, the blog won't have the same level of coverage as the Women's World Cup, but there will be some updates from Delhi.

I will be producing a preview for the tournament in the next week or so.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

BBC TV Interviews with Alex Danson and Kate Walsh

There'll be more after the medal presentations! But for now here are my BBC TV interviews with Kate Walsh and Alex Danson.

Do check out Danny Kerry's interview as he has some very special news.

Congratulations to all the players and coaching staff of the England women's hockey team.

Danny Kerry on Winning Bronze

England Win Bronze

We beat Germany 2-0 and win a World Cup medal for the first time!

Just a Quick Note...

I've had a few messages about the an article in the local newspaper written about me.

I shall reveal all about the article at a later date, but in the mean time if you fancy a laugh and your Spanish is good visit PUSH Hockey's Blog and read Tom Cooper's reproduction of the article.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Ex-Las Leonas star - Ayelén Stepnik

A special treat for English and Spanish readers, ahead of the final between Argentina and Netherlands.

Ex-Las Leonas star Ayelén Stepnik, Olympic silver and bronze medal winner and was part of the Argentina team that won the World Cup in 2002.

She is now the president of Mas Hockey, the official charity of the Hockey World Cup, here in Rosario and they help young people take up the sport and support players trying to make the Las Leonas.

Ayelén Stepnik on Mas Hockey in Spanish

Ayelén Stepnik on Retirement from Playing Hockey (In Spanish)

And there will be a little more from Ayelén about how the tournament has gone for Argentina over the next few days.

BBC Sport Website Live Coverage of the England v Germany match on Saturday

Coverage starts at 2030 UK time, do tune in - this game is massive for the England women's hockey team.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Helen Richardson and Hannah MacLeod Following the Semi-Final Match

BBC TV Interviews with Beth Storry and Danny Kerry

Check out Beth's interview and Danny Kerry after the match.

And it is an Argentina - Netherlands final, the Argies have just won against the Germans.

Chloe Rogers after England's defeat to the Netherlands

I really couldn't watch as Chloe took the last penalty flick...

BBC Sport Website and BBC Red Button to Stream England Women's Hockey Semi-Final Live

The England women's Hockey World Cup semi-final that takes place in Argentina tomorrow will be streamed live on the BBC Sport website and BBC Red Button. Coverage starts at 20.25 (BST) with the match beginning at 20.30 (BST).

England's opponents will be the Netherlands who are so far unbeaten in the competition and topped their Pool in the group stages. This is the first time England women's team have qualified for the semi-finals of the competition since 1990.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Gaucho Oli does Tango!

Okay, here's a holiday film! I spent the day at a ranch with International Hockey Federation people, including Sally Munday, the Chief Executive of England Hockey, and the President of the Argentina hockey federation.

A beautiful lunch of beef, cooked on an open fire with empanadas, and a fine selection of wines, including some very tasty Malbec red wines from Argentina.

The wine in Argentina is really excellent, I'll be drinking more of it when I get home.

Also there was a display of horse skills, and the chance to ride a horse - just like a Gaucho. However, the horses were a bit frisky.

I'm no Clint Eastwood, despite having the pancho and hat to match!

Then in the evening I found more success on the dance floor at a Tango lesson. It was held at the Casa Del Tango, a lovely restaurant on the river front in Rosario, which has a stage show and lessons in a back room.

They've interviewed me for their Tango TV programme! Think, funny foreigner trys to dance, although I do ballroom dancing in the UK, so it isn't so alien to me.

Credit: Camera work on the horse riding by Judy Blyth.

The film is more 'Paint Your Waggon' than 'Fistful of Dollars' but worth a look... Actually I'm gonna call it 'Fistful of Pesos: An Argentina Cowboy Experience'...

The day before, Gilly our guide took me to his radio station in Rosario, where he presents an afternoon show. I made a very brief appearence on their lunchtime phone, it isn't so different to BBC Essex's Sadie Nine phone-in show!

But they had plenty of callers talking about the Hockey World Cup and the impact it is having on the town.

I was very impressed by the professional setup at LT8 Radio Rosario.

Rest Day

Wednesday, 8th September is a rest day for all the teams and supporters, I'm off to be a cowboy for the day!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Hockey Parents

Ahead of the big Australia clash with Germany, here are Brian and Judy Blyth talking about coming to Rosario and their daughter - the Hockeyroos captain, Madonna Blyth.

England Played Great

That says it all really, no penalty corners and only a couple of shots on the Argentina goal, but it is close at the top.

Strong defence and Helen Richardson was amazing, she kept Luciana Aymar in-check and the write-up in the Buenos Aires Herald (A national English language newspaper) said England managed to control Aymar without the fouls that she has been getting in previous matches.

Below: Crista Cullen, had one of England's best shot at goal, just slightly wide and she was very upbeat after the game.

Argentina, didn't get many chances sometime like 4 penalty corners and maybe 2 or 3 open play chances.

Here is my BBC TV interview with England Head Coach, Danny Kerry after the match.

Below: Captain, Kate Walsh was presented with some flowers at the start of the match for 250 (Combined England/GB) international caps. Well done Kate, who has been playing for England and GB since 1999.

So, we have the World and Olympic champions, the Netherlands next, they'll be a rest day on Wednesday for everyone before the crossover games on Thursday.

Tonight, Australia take on Germany in what promises to be the decider for second spot in the other pool - I'm rooting for the Ozzies.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Kate Walsh and Crista Cullen after England 0-2 Argentina

After the Hockey

Myself and Alan Craddock, Charlotte's Dad, had something of a wine tasting at our guide Gilly's place. Gilly cooked a BBQ and we celebrated England's success. The Blyths came later after the Australia game, the Ozzies won so that was good too.

The funniest thing of the evening was our hosts were talking about different corns and places they had been in South America and brought out some bags of corn.

I now know they were talking about Peru and things thay'd seen there, however I thought this corn was an after dinner snack.

I causally sat there chewing on this rough old bit of corn, thinking not very much of it.

Eventually Gilly told me it was given to the rats and not an after dinner treat!

Above: Gilly at the front right, with Brian Blyth at the front left, and the rest of our happy team of supporters.

Me and Alan will be cheering for the Ozzies to do the Germans on Tuesday night.

Tough Games in the Other Pool

The Netherlands didn't streamroller the Germans, if anything Germany looked much more in control of the game until the video referal that disallowed their second goal. The Dutch then had to battle hard, and there was plenty of unforced errors, but the Dutchies came through eventually and scored a winner.

Australia won to keep up the pressure for the second spot in the other pool, meaning that it won't be decided until a tough fixture for the Ozzies against Germany on Tuesday night.

India got a solid win over Japan and Rani Rampal is now on 5 goals, wait for it, - ahead of Luciana Aymar on 4!

Sunday, September 05, 2010

England Make It

A fab day yesterday, thanks to a draw between Korea and Spain we're through to the semi-finals! Kate Walsh was very happy and so too are the team. We can now go into the Argentina game with nothing to lose except play hockey.

Above: Kate Walsh smiles, but this shot was taken before the Korea game finished.

I got to interview Helen Richardson for BBC TV, click here to watch.

So a busy day, with another interview for BBC Radio Leicester with Hannah MacLeod.

In the evening I went to the football, missing a brilliant Luciana Aymar goal. Newell's Old Boys drew 1-1 against Independiente. There was a small riot in the second half with lines of riot police battering fans in the far stand! I think there was something like 35,000 people watching this first division match in the stadium, and the singing was loud and tuneful!

Above: The crowd at the football match - crazy!

Saturday, September 04, 2010

England in the Semi-Finals!

How good is that - great, best result since 1990.

Kate Walsh on England's 2-1 Win Against South Africa

The crowd noise was amazing at the end, and the Argentina fans were clearly cheering for South Africa.

Kate mentioned at the end of the interview that she will get her 250th combined GB/England cap for the Argentina game.

What a match to get it in!

Australia's Madonna Blyth on the Commonwealth Games

Friday, September 03, 2010

Super Friday

Due to the weather we had 6 games today at the Hockey World Cup in Rosario, Argentina.

Boy, am I knackered.

Today, I had my first article published in Spanish and this set the tongues a wagging in the press rooms! The volunteers couldn't work out how, I, a simple lad from Essex, with very little Spanish could write such an article.

The answer is simples... Somebody else translated it! I am indebted to Gilly, our tour guide for his hard work on producing the translation and for printing it in the 'Hockey Time' magazine that is all over town.

A columnist with an Argentina newspaper apparently wrote an article on me the volunteers in the press room were telling me. He is going to bring me a copy of this, when questioned on the subject, by me, he said "I was a character".

All this and a 1-1 draw for England against Korea, and a Luciana Aymar press conference that was just rammed with TV, radio, and other media.

For many of the volunteers, this is much more than a hockey tournament. It is a chance to mix with people from foreign countries, make new friends and learn new skills for future careers. A number of the team working in the press room are studying journalism and are looking to develop their opportunities either in Argentina or outside.

This is great, and good luck to many of the young team. Oh, and I spoke to Carlos, the coach of the Las Leonas! But more to follow, as they say...

England Head Coach - Danny Kerry on the 1-1 Draw with Korea

England v Korea Update

Is back on for 1130 local time - 1530 BST, I think it isn't rain quite so hard this morning, but we now have a Super Friday of 6 back-to-back matches.

Below: Another group of young hockey players and they gave me a special bandanna they had made up for the Hockey World Cup, that'll go nicely with my Lionel Messi top!

Messi is another local hero as he is from Rosario, and his parents run a restaurant in the city. When I got out of the taxi back to the hotel a group of Las Leonas fans was walking up, and I forgot I had the bandanna on so they all started shouting 'Vamos, vamos Las Leonas'.
Above: Candy and Chloe Rogers at the team hotel. Candy helped the England/GB teams out on previous trips to Argentina, for example in Salta last year, and in Cordoba.

She is very well connected, as me and Candy stood in the lobby waiting for Chloe to come down, a gentleman came up to her and started talking, he then turned and smiled and asked me my name and shook my hand. 

I said: "Who was that?" (after he had left)
Candy: "Oh, the vice-president of Argentina - Julio Cobos"

How mad is that, and looking at pictures on the internet it was him! Apparently she had done some work with him and he recognised her.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

England v Korea Abandoned due to Heavy Rain

No play today, due to the heavy rain, but did appear on BBC Radio Leicester at about 1 hour and 15 minutes in.

India's Surinder Kaur and New Zealand's Kayla Sharland

I speak a little bit of Hindi to Surinder Kaur, India's captain, at the end of this clip about the Commonwealth Games coming to Delhi in October.

Lovely quote from New Zealand's Kayla Sharland, "Our basics turned to custard!"...

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Special Dutch Treat

The Netherlands played very well against New Zealand, 7-3 the final result. It was very cold and Minke Smeets turned up to the after game press conference wearing flip-flops! I naturally asked her if it was too cold to be wearing them. 

Below: Just two great pictures

Above: A picture tells the tale of India 3-6 Australia

I also spoke some Hindi to Surinder Kaur of India, and she understood what I was asking. Just basic stuff like 'how are you?'

Hannah MacLeod and Kerry Williams on England's Win Against China

Rain and Scoring First

It rained very heavily today in Rosario, I spent the morning going to buy waterproof clothes and umbrellas.

This caused a lot of mud around the stadium today, below TV trucks at the World Cup on a sunny day!

I am now able to say to people: 'come and stand under my umbrella, 'bella, 'bella, 'ella' according to Candy, an Argentine person here in the press centre!

We also decided that the chant during Argentina's 1-0 win over Korea, (although that was a clear penalty flick on the stroke of half time) is a little bit like 'Vamos, vamos Lady Gaga' roughly translated 'Go, go Lady Gaga'! I think they mean 'Go, go Las Leonas!' The reason being the Spanish for 'Argentina' sounds like Lady Gaga -  'Argen -taga'

Above: Leicester's Hannah MacLeod, got the goal early and it proved to be the thing that separated the teams.

The England match was a nervous affair, apart from the first minute - that was great. China dominated the second half and Beth Storry pulled off some amazing saves, do hunt down the footage on the internet and watch her performance - really excellent.

Remember: 'How do you make Lady Gaga cry?'

Answer: 'Pok-er-face'

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

BBC Radio Leicester 31/08/10

Check out the start of the England v China game live on BBC Radio Leicester during their Drivetime programme. It is about 1 hour 28 minutes into the programme on the BBC iplayer.

And England won!!!! Great performance by Beth Storry in the England goal, I shall be uploading an interview with Beth at some point tonight.

Monday, August 30, 2010

In Rosario...

Today, I spent my time in Rosario.

In the morning, with our guide Gilly and Alan Craddock (father of Charlotte Craddock) looking round the central shopping centre and getting used to the geography of the city.

Some would say: "Well, why didn't you go to the hockey today?"

Answer: I was quite worn out from all the travelling and needed a bit of a break. But also the travelling time to the venue was a factor, and the final clincher was that Chloe had some 'time off' for want of a better word.

However, I did miss the Dutch smashing India 7-1, (India is a team I want to watch, with all that has gone on in the past few months with the side, I'm interested to see how that affects them).

Then in the afternoon, myself, Chloe and room-mate, Katie Long went to the Argentina flag monument in Rosario. This was where the glorious opening ceremony took place a few nights before.

Here is a few shots of Rosario...

Chloe and Katie were asked by a group of young hockey players from Buenos Aires if they could take their pictures with them. Whilst they all said their favourite with Luciana Aymar, they still couldn't believed they'd met two players!

And what is more they'll be at the matches for Tuesday, and will watch England.

Around Rosario, we saw at least a dozen or more people wearing Chelsea Football club shirts and track suit tops - Premier League goals are always on the TV. The British clubs are massive over here it seems - all the shops stock kit for British football clubs.

The display that Chloe and Katie are looking at is by the British Council showing the UK and Argentina at sport, and yes there is a hockey stand with pictures of the current team on.

(Below L to R: Chloe and Katie Long)

Even a girl in the local petrol station next to the England team hotel talked to them about hockey, telling them she played locally.

You will note the huge bill-board posters of Luciana Aymar, (See me by one below) they are everywhere in the city, she has even done some relaxed ads for a shopping chain. Alan and me spotted her autobiography on sale at a news agents.

60 pesos, nearly a tenner for a book we'll both struggle to read in Spanish - I'm waiting for the English translation!

Spanish for today: "¿Cual es tu jugador favorito?" - 'Who is your favourite player?'

Seriously, everybody has said Luciana Aymar in answer to this, and I've asked about a dozen people now since learning it in Buenos Aires on Saturday.

See Also: Chloe and Katie on Hockey's Got Talent.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Crowd and the First Day

Amazing opening day, people everywhere and it wasn't even a sell out! As always Las Leonas main star was Luciana Aymar...

Luciana is known as 'Lucha', also there was another banner (below) that was signed by her friends and family...

And I caught a brief sighting of the player before the start of Argentina v South Africa, as you can see in the short film.

The crowd were amazing, so colourful and loud! One thing I liked, but I'm not sure how the players reacted to this, was something that happened on penalty corners.

At the end with a wire mesh to protect people, young supporters would all rush to be behind the goal and take pictures with cameras. Some had flashes, it was quite a surprising thing to watch.

But remember the Las Leonas are a massive inspiration to young school girls in Argentina.

Chloe Rogers on England 3-2 Win Against Spain

Getting to Rosario...

... Is a lot harder than people think! Below, is me in the van being packed in with the luggage. In terms of international hockey roadtrips, you'll struggle to better this!

There was me, obviously...
...Alan Craddock (father of Charlotte)
...Brian and Judy Blyth (parents of Australia's Madonna Bylth) with Sue
...Margaret and Don from Cheltenham Hockey Club (Interested hockey watchers)

And Migel, the driver, who came and collected us all from different hotels. Migel loves Dire Straits, Genesis and Kiss - all on his phone.

At the coffee stop I bought some new Emo white sunglasses and another pair as I think the white ones look cool, but won't last the tournament.

It takes around 4 hours to get to Rosario from Buenos Aires, and then it is another 45 minutes or so to the Jockey Club where the World Cup is happening.

I had a beautiful lunch of fish caught from the Paraná river, everything is so very big and spaced out here in Rosario.

Below is a looking down from the top of the riverbank picture of the river-side restaurant.