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BARBADOS - hockey

8 teams vying for hockey cup

Saturday 17, April-2004

by Mike Owen

Eight hockey teams will contest the Second Women’s Pan American Cup which starts on Wednesday at the Wildey Astroturf and ends with the final a week later.

As well as deciding who gets to take home the winner’s cup it will determine which of the eight teams earns a place in the next women’s World Cup and which of the Commonwealth teams taking part earns a place in the women’s hockey tournament in the next Commonwealth Games in 2006.

Barbados will have a better chance in the hunt for a Commonwealth Games invitation as only two teams will be involved – Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago. Qualifying will simply be a matter of which team finishes in the higher position. So the key game for Barbados could well be the clash with their traditional rivals at 8 p.m. next Saturday.

All eight teams will be aiming to finish first in order to get that World Cup place. But these teams include the formidable defending women’s World Cup champions Argentina. The Argentinian senoritas are therefore strong tournament favourites and it is hard to see any team avoiding a defeat by a substantial margin against them.

The other seven teams are their improving South American neighbours, Chile and Uruguay; the well-drilled United States and Canada; and the three Caribbean teams – Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago and Netherlands Antilles.

The teams are divided into two pools. Barbados are in Pool B with three teams with whom they have a fighting chance: United States, Uruguay and Trinidad and Tobago. Pool A has overwhelming favourites Argentina along with Canada, Chile and Netherlands Antilles.

The Barbados squad has a core of experienced and accomplished players – fromMaple: defender Maria Browne as captain; from Pickwick: forward Tricia-Ann Greaves as vice-captain; from Deacons: forward Corlette Kellman and midfielder Angela Thompson; from Empire: goalkeeper Lana Als, defender Dionne Clarke, midfielder Patrina Brathwaite and forward Nicole Brathwaite; from YMCA: midfielder Chiaka Drakes; and from Eastern Stars: defender Harriett Phillips.

But Barbados coach Peter Norville is also looking beyond the results of the tournament to the continuation of the process of building a squad for the future.

“Obviously, we’re going into the competition with the aim of finishing with a high overall placing. But we’re also looking at the future of our hockey and we see it as helping us to build a squad, with players who have mastered modern hockey principles and techniques. With this in mind, we have introduced some faces who are willing to be guided, are eager to learn and will be more receptive to ideas.”

These include some promising schoolgirl players: 15-year-old Springer Memorial forward Charlia Warner and 16-year-old Harrison College midfielder Reyna Farnum, who both also play for Empire, and 18-year-old St James Secondary School goalkeeper Lisa Payne.

Other comers in the 18-strong squad are: defender Benita Maynard, midfielder Deborah Holder and winger Lisa Crichlow – all from Maple; defenders Tara Howard from Eastern Stars and Debra Murray from the former Avengers.

Norville highlighted the priority being given to the psychological preparation of the team.

“We have placed great emphasis – and spent a third of our preparation time – on building team unity and team spirit. Every week we have had a session with sports consultant Paul Sealy dealing with aspects such as motivation, group dynamics, communication and other aspects of sports psychology all designed to strengthen the squad and its level of performance.”

In terms of playing strategies, Norville said: “We have to take advantage of whatever goal scoring opportunities we get, since we will be playing against well-prepared, accomplished opponents. So we have given a lot of attention and training time to set-plays such as penalty corners and free hits.”

Norville is being assisted by Rossana Warner (assistant coach), Paul Sealy (sports consultant) and Andrea Nichols (goalkeeper’s coach). Manageress is former national player Harrietta Greaves.

The tournament will get under way on Wednesday with games between the United States and Trinidad and Tobago at 8:30 p.m. and Barbados and Uruguay at 10:30 p.m.

There will be an official opening ceremony at 2:30 p.m. and then there will be two more games: Chile v Netherlands Antilles at 6 p.m. and Argentina v Canada at 8 p.m.

Next Friday will be a rest day. Pool matches will end next Saturday and will be followed by play-offs on April 25 and 26. The games to determine final positions will be played on April 27 and 28, with the final scheduled for 7 p.m.

Compliments of Nation News

Barbados’ women’s hockey team got a taste of the standard of competition to expect in the second Women’s Pan American Cup which gets under way this morning at the Wildey Astroturf.

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