Tuesday, September 28, 2010

England Men's and Women's Commonwealth Games Hockey Preview

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'