Committee Update from the Acting Executive Director

The 2011 AGM saw the conclusion of Jane Gilligan’s two-year term as Executive Director. Unfortunately for the organistion she decided not to re-nominate. Jane brought a calm, no nonsense enthusiasm to the role that reinvigorated the organisation and its committee. Jane’s term also delivered great success for our representative teams. Gold and silver for the Men and Women at the recent CMAS world championships in Portugal and a fourth placing for the U19 boys in the Age Group tournament in Holland unequivocally demonstrated that Australia remains a force in international Underwater Hockey. Jane’s work over the past two years will hold Australian Underwater Hockey in good stead for the coming years. On the upside, Jane is not leaving the UWHA committee completely, she has assumed the role of Records Officer. Unfortunately, no nominations were received for the Executive Director position so the position remains vacant and applications are welcome.After numerous terms in the Chief Referee role, Simon Talbot also steps aside. Thanks to the countless hours he has put in over the past ten plus years the quality of refereeing in Australia and internationally has improved out of sight. Simon has played a pivotal role in the evolution of the rules of the game, has trained hundreds of referees and overseen numerous national and international tournaments as Chief Referee. Simon’s contribution has directly and significantly contributed to improvement of the international game, a massively amazing achievement. Lena Plambeck steps into the revised role as Director of Refereeing.After a number of years, Joe Tindal is also stepping down from the Records Officer position. Thanks to Joe’s diligent work Australia has a far improved record of the history of Underwater Hockey in Australia and our participation at an international level.The other committee positions up for election at the AGM included the Director of Coaching role and the newly established Secretary role. I was re-elected into the former and UHA welcomes Eden Brown as our new Secretary.Craig Proctor has also stood down from the Communications Officer role. During his time on the UHA Committee, Craig has been instrumental of establishing an extensive online presence for the organisation. His humour and level-headedness will be sorely missed. Jodie Miners steps into the role to build on the foundations laid by Craig.

On the Australian team front there was also some substantial changes. Most notably, Tommy Solopotias did not seek re-appointment as Australian Women’s team coach. In his ten plus years in the role Tommy has overseen one of the most dominant eras in the sport. His dedication and innovative approach delivered World Championships in 2000, ‘02, ’06 and ’08 and silver in 2011. During his time as coach Tommy has played a major role in the development of a generation of women underwater hockey players. His coaching record is the envy of all and testimony to the enormous contribution he has made to underwater hockey in Australia. As no nominations were received the Australian Women’s team position applications are welcome.
In the other coaching positions, Arnold Piccoli was reappointed as Men’s team coach and will be pursuing back-to-back World Championships in 2013. Nick Martyn and Kirsteen Reid were also re-appointed in the U19 divisions. As our international results indicate all of our coaching staff in 2011 (Tommy, Arnie, Nick and Jason Miezis) did an amazing job and represented Australia with aplomb.

In the team management roles, following her fantastic work at the Age Group Championships in Holland Sandra Milner was reappointed into the junior management role while Kirsteen Reid was appointed to the Elite team management role.

I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the hard work and fantastic organizational skills of our Australian team managers over the past years. Sandra has done an amazing job on a number of trips with the junior teams. While for the Elite divisions Lucero Perdomo Cruz has also done a fantastic job over the past couple of years. She made an enormous contribution to our recent success at the CMAS World Championships in Portugal. Her work is much appreciated by the UHA committee and the players who traveled.

On behalf of the UHA and as a player involved on the trip I would also like to express gratitude to the Australian team Physio, Nick Stepkovitch, who accompanied us on our trip to Portugal. Nick did a power of work on the trip and his knowledge and magic hands played a vital role in the success of both teams.

Next year will be an exciting and challenging year for the UHA: we have two sub committee and coaching vacancies that need filling but the National Championships in Perth are bound to be fantastic.

In terms of our international commitments over the next couple of years: indications are that Worlds will be held in South Africa for all divisions in 2013. This is a major shift from what had been previously stated and as such we are in discussions with our international partners about or plans for 2012. Hopefully there will be more news on that front shortly.

See you in the water.

Rees Quilford
UHA Acting Executive Director & Director of Coaching

CMAS Underwater Hockey World Championships, Portugal

Australia sent an Elite Men's and Elite Women's team to the 17th CMAS Elite World Championship of Underwater Hockey held in Coimbra, Portugal from 16 - 27 August 2011.

The Australian Men and Women's teams

The Australian Men and Women's teams.

Results

Australian Elite Men win gold

The Australian Men's team won gold with a 6 - 1 win over South Africa in the World Championship game.

The win ended a drought of sorts for the Australian Men as it was their first title since the 2002 win in Calgary. They did it in style, the 6-1 scoreline was the largest margin in a World Championship Men's final for more than a decade.

The Australian Men's team celebrates their World Championship win

The Australian Men's team celebrates their World Championship win

The boys made their way through a very even round robin stage in unspectacular fashion. Six wins, two draws (to Great Britain and South Africa) and one loss (to France) was solid but uninspiring.

It looked as though it would leave them as the third placed seed. However, a surprise loss by France to Turkey in the final round robin game saw Australia leap frog the French in the standings and enter the finals as the second seed.

This meant a quarter final match up against a hard working Great Britain team who had proved stiff competition in their drawn round robin match. While it was a tight and hard fought contest, Australia progressed to the semi-final with a workmanlike 4-2 win.

France loomed has their semi-final opponent after atoning for their stock round robin loss with a massive 13-0 win over the Turks in a controversial quarter final. Following a spiteful first half the French played uncontested for most of the second half - swimming in goal after goal - when the Turkish team refused to contest the game due to perceived umpiring bias.

The two teams have a history of producing close matches in the pointy end of the competition.  The teams had met in the semi finals in the previous two World Championships and in both cases the French had prevailed in extra time. As such, there was no shortage of motivation amongst the Australia boys to put in a big effort. In an intense and physical encounter an unselfish team performance saw the Australian boys reverse the result of previous years winning 3-2 to book themselves a ticket to the big dance.

Australia's opponent in the final was a South African team that had progressed undefeated through the competition. Spectators arrived at the pool expecting a close match but in the minds of many the South African team was the strong favourite to take out the title.

In a close and frantic opening saw the puck move from end to end. Blake Sutcliffe got on the end of a solid multi phase drive from the middle of the court to score the first  goal four minutes into the game. Nick Yong extended the lead when his break away resulted in Australia's second goal at the midway point of the first half.

South Africa reduced the margin shortly after.  With Australia a man down in the sin bin the South Africans where able to take advantage of a penalty in front of goal to score.

The game see-sawed back and forward for the remainder of the half but neither team was able to penetrate the opposition defence. Halftime saw Australia hold a 2-1 lead.

South Africa opened the second half strongly but the Australian defence held firm. A sustained counter attack saw the Aussie boys work the puck up the pool before scoring their third goal four minutes in.

Tom Miller had the opportunity to stretch the lead shortly after when he found himself in the clear in three metres out from goal but a wayward flick over the top of the goal allowed the South Africans to clear the puck. Thankfully for him the Australian boys were able to lock the play in their attacking third and score a minute or so later.

Nick Yong looked to have put the result beyond doubt shortly afterwards when his break away goal stretched the lead out to 5-1. The South African's had other ideas and next four minutes saw them make a  sustained attack on goal. Once again the Australian defensive structures held strong.

Another Australian goal in the final minutes of the game stretched the margin out to 6-1 and ensured the largest margin in a World Championship Men's final in more than a decade.

The win reasserted Australia's dominance in the international Men's division and delivered a tenth World Championship title from the 16 competitions we have contested.

Australian Elite Women win silver

The Australian Women's team collected Silver, losing 1 - 3 to Great Britain in a closely fought World Championship decider.

The Australia Women's team on the podium

The Australia Women's team on the podium

The Australian girls record of five wins, one draw (with France) and one loss (to Great Britain) saw them finish the round robin stage as the second seed.

The GB team had defeated them quite comfortably 5-1 in the early stages of the round robin but the Australian's gave themselves every chance in the final after their impressive run through the finals. They defeated Canada 5-1 in their quarter final match then followed it up with 5-0 win over France in the semi-final.

The final was a high skill and physical exchange. The GB girls skipped out to an early lead before the Australian girls pegged back a goal. Another first half GB goal saw that margin sit at 2-1 at halftime.

The Australian girls came out after the break all guns blazing but the GB were able to absorb the pressure before putting the result beyond doubt with a third goal.

Find out more

The Australian Men's teams journey to Gold.

Worlds photos:

Do you have any other pics from this competition to share with us? We are particularly looking for names and photos of each of the teams that played in this competition. Please email communicationsofficer@underwaterhockeyaustralia.org.au with any photos including the date and competition that was played and the names of the people in the photo. 

Reports from the 2011 World Championships

The 17th  Elite World Championship of Underwater Hockey 2011 were held  in COIMBRA, PORTUGAL, 16 - 27 August 2011. These championships were organised by The Portuguese Federation of Underwater Activities (FPAS).

Congratulations to both teams! Fantastic results!
Australian Mens team won Gold, defeating South Africa 6 - 1 in the grand final.
Australian Womens team won Silver, losing 1 - 3 to Great Britain in their grand final.

See the Mens Team profiles and the Womens Team profiles on the 2011 World Championships Website and also see the full list of results.

Aust Womens Coach, Tommy Solopotias, had a blog post on the World Championships in Portugal in 2011. The post is no longer available but here are a couple of extracts:

"The women’s final was fought out between 2 countries with very similar views on the game. Without getting into the detail, the plan for us was to throw GBR off by neutralising their strength area. The girls did everything I asked of them and the English game plan turned into just guts and effort but the strength they maintained in their back line was unmovable on the day. They did to us what we normally do to other teams, get off to a 2 goal lead quickly and spend the rest of the game settling into a rhythm. Typically going 2 goals down in the first 5 minutes makes it a big mountain to climb thereafter; not impossible but in a final it is that much harder."

"The men’s final was one of the most clinical displays of finishing I have ever seen at any level. The boys spluttered along in low gear for much of the comp, just getting by on the bare minimum and I wondered if they would ever kick into gear. But when it counted they certainly pulled out the stops and destroyed RSA with an impressive 5:1 score."

Australian Masters Team Plan for 2011 Elite World Championships

Masters "Master Plan' by Coach Elwood (David Sutcliffe)

Hi All,
As the newly appointed coach of the Mens Masters team, I am very keen to put in place a program that will:
a) Develop a team that will be competitive at the 2011 Worlds [Read more...]

2011 World Age Group Games, Dordrecht Netherlands

Details

The UWH World Age Group Games were held in Dordrecht Netherlands 9th - 16th July 2011

[Read more...]

2011 Nationals, Tuggeranong, ACT

Details

The 2011 Nationals was held in Tuggeranong, Canberra, ACT on 12 - 16  MARCH 2011.

Results

Juniors Mens Womens Masters
1st TAS A WA-Metro NSW TAS
2nd VIC VIC TAS WA
3rd WA WA-Ctry VIC ACT
4th NSW TAS WA NSW
5th TAS B QLD (Barb) Barb SA
6th NSW QLD QLD

The full results of each game is also available.

Photo Album

All photos by Ron Brear (unless noted).
Do you have any other pics from this competition to share with us? We are particularly looking for names and photos of each of the teams that played in this competition. Please email communicationsofficer@underwaterhockeyaustralia.org.au with any photos including the date and competition that was played and the names of the people in the photo.