Fiji hockey boost

THE Fiji Hockey Federation has acquired the services of accredited Australian umpire David Sunderland to help lift standard of the match officials in the country.

Sunderland was present during the Fiji Secondary Schools Hockey League Nadi/Lautoka Ba playoffs at Nadovu Park on Saturday.

National coach Hector Smith said Sunderland was guiding the officials.

Smith said they wanted to set a pathway for the umpires.

“In previous tournaments there had been all kinds of protests so we are trying to get that out,” he said.

“To see that the correct rules of hockey are implemented in the interest of the game, instead of being too technical with the flow.

“David from Perth knows the coaching system and grading. We are trying to teach people on the umpiring career.

“We can get them a local qualification and then an Oceania qualification and move on from there.”

Meanwhile week one of action during the Nadi/Lautoka/Ba playoffs unearthed some new talents.

Sangam Sadhu Kuppuswamy Memorial College (SSKMC) was dominant in the girl’s under-16 and U19 divisions.

Smith said there were many good matches but expressed disappointment with the condition of the grass turf.

“The first thing is the grounds were not prepared well,” he said.

“There was long grass and it was difficult to play pushing hockey so there was a lot of hitting.

“But there is a lot of talent especially with the young boys from Ba and Lautoka.

“It was encouraging to get a good turnout.

“The competition will get tougher as it goes on.”

The matches will continue this week.

The top four boys and girls teams from the U16 and U19 grades will qualify for the National Secondary Schools Hockey Championship in Levuka, Ovalau from August 14-16.

Results:

Girls U16: SSKMC 4 Xavier 0, SSKMC 3 Tilak High 0; Girls U19: Tilak High 0 Saint Thomas 3, SSKMC 1 Natabua High 0. Boys U16: Saint Thomas 0 Xavier College, Saint Thomas 1 Tilak High 5; Boys U19: Natabua 2 Ba Provincial 1, Saint Thomas 0 Tilak High 0.

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