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UKDHA takes Midlands National Qualifier to new Lutterworth rink

The second UKDHA tournament of the season takes place on Saturday 20 October, as the Midlands National Qualifier goes to Leicestershire.

Midlands Roller Arena in Ashby Parva, Lutterworth, is playing host to the GMB Union Nottingham Open where 12 teams from across the UK will battle out for the first National trophy and valuable points towards qualifying for the 2013 National Finals.

The GMB Union Nottingham Open is hosted by Arnold Wolves, the oldest dek hockey club in the country.

As well as the on-court action, the UKDHA will also be running their first Referee Course led by Karl Wilson.  There will be a session before the tournament and one during the mid tournament interval.

It is also hoped to hold an “all-star” style skills contest, schedule permitting, with hardest shot, shooting accuracy, stick handling and 3v0 breakout drills.

A UKDHA spokesman said: “Following on from the Southern Regionals last month, we are excited that the first National qualifier is here.

“Teams from across the country will battle it out at the UK’s newest rink, and the winners of the GMB Union Nottingham Open will qualify by right for the 2013 Nationals next spring.

“We are also pleased to run our first Referee Course which is an important step for the association and the development of ball hockey in the UK.  We’re grateful to Karl Wilson for the work he has done using the ISBHF rulebook and preparing a casebook to use in UKDHA tournaments.”

Full details of the draw for the GMB Nottingham Open will be published once entries close early next week.  Teams and players are reminded that all clubs and players MUST have a current UKDHA registration in order to participate – full details can be obtained from Rob Clayton at UKDHA.

The ‘Road to Nationals’ continues after the GMB Nottingham Open with the Midlands Regional Tournament on 17 November at Sheffield’s Simply Skate, hosted by Sheffield Storm.  December sees the Northern Regional Tournament at Gateshead Leisure Centre on 9 December hosted by Northumbria Uni while the Northern National “Fantastic Fours” returns for a third year as a two-day event on 16-17 February at Gateshead Leisure Centre hosted by the NE Dekstars.

The ‘Road to Nationals’ concludes on April 27 with the Junior Nationals, with Senior Nationals in May 2013.

Darlow names his UK Teams for Canada 2013

UK Dek Hockey Performance Director and Team UK Head Coach Matt Darlow has concluded his “toughest decision making process in 19 years as a coach” and named the Mens and Womens Senior UK Teams to play in the 2013 World Championships in Canada.

Darlow, who joined UKDHA before the 2011 Worlds in Bratislava, said the playing standards at the two trial events had improved massively since the last World Championships, and that made his task incredibly tough.

“Decisions were made hard by what I would say were performances across both teams that were at least 20% better than the standard in Bratislava in 2011,” he said today.

“Although I came in after squad selection last time around the standard among the men and women is noticeably improved and it was very much a case of fitting players into the fast paced way I want us to play this time around as opposed to adapting players to the heavily defensive style we had in Slovakia.

“The biggest difference is that we now have not just a line or two that can stretch the opposition but we have genuine firepower across four lines and a huge amount of pace up front with the men.

“The women are a far fitter, better drilled and cohesive unit with threats in all areas from front to back and they can certainly provide upsets.

“As soon as I saw the fitness and speed differences it immediately influenced our strategy and the way we are going to play in Canada and it will make us a very different proposition to the Team UK of 2011.

“We have several new additions to the game from the ice hockey world and with this comes a wealth of high level experience that coupled with the ball hockey experience of others and the fearlessness of youth in both teams will give us outstanding team dynamics.”

Darlow has set his teams demanding goals for the 2013 tournament which is likely to be in early June in St John’s, Newfoundland.

“We are stronger from front to back with both teams and with a structured, thorough preparation we can achieve our overall aims of 2 group wins for the women and promotion to Pool A for the men.”

The UKDHA spokesman Craig Simpson added: “The two trial events were very well attended from all over the UK and we were delighted at the level of interest shown.  I certainly did not envy Coach Darlow’s task, and it’s a credit to the players that it was such a difficult job for him.

“The sport has seen a huge jump in terms of the quantity and quality of participant clubs and players, and Team UK is seeing the benefit of that.

“We wish Coach Darlow and all players the very best of luck in the World Championships, and congratulate them on making the respective squads.”

The players are completely self funding their participation to the tune of £1500 each.  Any companies or organisations interested in supporting Team UK with sponsorship should contact the UKDHA via email to craig.simpson@ukdha.co.uk in the first instance.

Goaltenders: Graham Arnett, Rich Bennett.

Defence: Ali Cree, Carl Graham, Hayden Johnson, Johnny Tulip, Mitch Davis, Rob Clayton, Carl Wood.

Forwards: Andy Harwood, Ash Atkin, Ben Bliss, Chris Reid, James Dixon, Jay Ashfield, Mick Donohue, Richard Worrell, Stewart Bliss, Tom Cole, Stefan Corlett, Scott Ellard, Chrissy Morrison Jr, Vlad Porubsky.

Goaltender: Rachel Jackson.

Defence: Amanda Bestford, Helen Briscoe, Jenny Hehir, Katy Parles, Rachel Stockdale, Sarah Lowe, Kendra Hourd, Shannon Laing.

Forwards: Amanda Williams, Amy Herdman, Beccy Farren, Catherine Vicerage, Deana Cuglietta, Johanna Presly, Joy Craighead, Kate Parker, Lyanne Diotte, Nikki Croxall, Rachel Serrell, Sarah Smith.

Road to the Nationals: four more events confirmed

With the Southern Regional Qualifier less than three weeks away, the UKDHA are pleased to announce four more tournaments on the Road to Nationals 2013.

The Midlands National Qualifier will be hosted by the Arnold Wolves club and will take place on Saturday 20 October at the new Midlands Roller Arena at Ashby Parva in Leicestershire.

The all day event will also see the first course in UKDHA’s new programme for referees, run by National Referee’s Coordinator Karl Wilson.

Ali Cree, UKDHA Vice President, said: “The Arnold Wolves will be hosting this event at a brand new facility which makes it all the more interesting. It will be open to all clubs from around the country and will be our first opportunity to see how the best of the north, midlands and south regions are matching up.

“The Arnold club is the oldest existing team in the country and have been involved in every competition since UKDHA was formed. They have a track record of organising good tournaments such as the Nottingham Open last year and I’m confident this will be another great event.”

Rich Bennett, tournament organiser, said: “We can’t wait for the season to get underway and to begin planning for this event. We will be contacting all clubs very soon with details for entering the tournament and we’re hoping for a great turn out.”

The third tournament of the season will be the Midlands Regional Qualifier hosted by Sheffield Storm.  This event is only for clubs in the Midlands Region, and is on Saturday 17 November at Rotherham’s Simply Skate from 4pm.

Ali Cree added: “Last year’s Sheffield Tournament was well attended and I’m sure the Storm will build on their experience and put on a fantastic event for the Midlands region.”

David Grant from the Sheffield Storm said: “We are delighted once again, to be able to host a UKDHA tournament and look forward to welcoming all the teams from the Midlands region, old and new to the Sheffield Tournament.

“As a club that is still developing, we believe that having the opportunity to host a tournament will help us with our continual growth within the sport. Last season’s tournament was great day of hockey, with some excellent players on show, we are hoping for the same again, and look forward to seeing the midlands dek hockey community on the 17th November for our tournament.”

Moving into December, the calendar year will round off with the Northern Regional Qualifier on Sunday 9 December.  The tournament, for teams in the Northern Region, is hosted by Northumbria and will take place at Gateshead Leisure Centre from 9am to 4pm.

For the first time, a UKDHA Qualifier will be a two day event when the Northern National Qualifier is hosted by the North East Dekstars at Gateshead Leisure Centre on Saturday and Sunday 16 & 17 February 2013.  The opening day is from 12noon to 6pm, with the Finals Day from 9am to 4pm.

As a National Qualifier all clubs from across the UK are free to enter.  The UKDHA will also hold it’s Annual General Meeting on the Saturday evening at Gateshead – more details on the AGM will be released in due course.

The “Fantastic Fours” are in their third year, and the 2013 event will be bigger than ever.  NE Dekstars Chairman Paul Lynch said: “The Fantastic Fours have been extremely well received over the past two years, and while holding a two-day event gives us more work, it is the next logical step for an event where we played 50 games last year.

“The Dekstars are proud of the event that we put on and are determined to make the 2013 Fours even better than last year.”

UK Dek Hockey Association is still looking to confirm the Southern National Qualifier, and discussions are ongoing – an announcement will be made as soon as agreement is reached.

“The Road To Nationals” starts on September 29 with the Capital Cup and will conclude with Junior Nationals on April 27, with Senior Nationals in May 2013.

TeamUK – coach Darlow reflects on “extremely promising” first trial

Monday saw over 40 players descend on Rotherham for the first UKDHA Team UK trial, building to the Senior Mens and Womens World Championships in Canada next June.

For Team UK Head Coach Matt Darlow does that leave him with a tough decision when making the cut?

“It will certainly be a tough decision as even with some ladies and gents missing it’s a better standard than last year and there was a wider spread of talent especially with the womens team,” said Darlow.

“It’s testament to the time and effort put in by the players and the willingness to achieve that this is the case.

“I know the type of teams we need in order to be successful in 2013 and will select each individual I feel can fit that style and the roles we require to perform at our best.

“It was an extremely promising first trial with everyone pushing themselves to be the best they can be.

“Overall it was very enjoyable to be back involved.”

The second trial is on September 30 at Sheffield’s Skate Central (Queen’s Road rink).