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November 24, 2014
Saturday, March 15, 2014

More clubs in 2014 edition

Seven-time Metropolitan title winner Gimnasia y Esgrima during a match against Liceo Naval.

By Eric Weil

For the Herald

Holder GEBA faces St. Catherine’s today

Women’s and men’s Metropolitan field hockey tournaments start this week-end with a few changes in its format and the return of the invalid own goal. There are more clubs affiliated than last season.

The Metropolitan championships start this week-end — the women today and men tomorrow — with more clubs and women’s teams, but few men’s teams which has always been the case except in the early years of the game at the beginning of last century. After six new clubs were affiliated at last year’s annual general meeting, the total reached 107 with 288 women’s teams in 25 divisions (78 are juniors) and 79 men’s teams in 5 divisions (39 juniors).

The tournaments continue until the end of October, followed by a month of playoffs, playouts and all sorts of plays which the writer has always considered useless as they define placings which had already been defined by the regular championships. It could be worse this year as there would be no sporting advantage in drawn games and no grand final if the regular season winner loses a match.

There will be the usual break over the Easter week-end (April 19-20) and during the World Cups in Holland (May 31-June 15) when a hardcourt tournament and any pending matches will be played. Teams which would be losing national team players during that period and the week-end before, can bring matches forward.

In the Women’s First Division A, GEBA will try to win the title for the 8th straight time to equal the record of Quilmes when the women’s league began in 1924. Really, however, to put the record straight, those Quilmes girls won it 9 times straight, because in the first year they played as Quilmes High School (of which they were all students) because the club did not want them. The division has the return of promoted Banco Nación and Arquitectura while Banco Provincia came up for the first time. They replace relegated SIC, Liceo Naval and Bartolomé Mitre.

Banco Provincia won the men’s First Division A title for the last three years, but competition is likely to be a lot closer now between at least four candidates. Hurling and Quilmes High School are back, replacing BaNaDe and SAG.

The experimental rule allowing own goals has been scrapped again. An attacker must touch the ball inside the circle before it goes into the net to count as a goal. The writer thinks the rule was not such a bad idea, except that it could be dangerous as it resulted in hard goal shots from outside the circle in the hope that a defender or goalkeeper would fumble the ball into the net. Also, a former rule is brought back that the ball must not be played above the shoulder except by a defender on the goal line to stop it from going in.

There are no firm dates yet for this year’s national league which has suffered lately by the almost complete absence of metropolitan teams because it has, right up to the finals, clashed with the metropolitan championships. One feels sure some rearrangements could be made to make it more of a real national championship.

Today’s matches — scheduled at 4pm — will be as follows: Gimnasia y Esgrima v St. Catherine’s; Lomas v Banco Nación; Belgrano v Italiano; Hacoaj v Banco Provincia; San Fernando v Hurling; Arquitectura v Santa Bárbara; Ciudad de Buenos Aires v River Plate.

LUIS CIANCIA. A San Fernando international and later coach most remembered for his long and successful stint at Lomas and then national teams, died a few days ago when only in his 60s. He is credited with revolutionizing local hockey and being the instigator of the successful women’s national team which won two world titles, Olympic medals,many other tournaments and continues to be among the leading teams in the world. He was so highly esteemed that he was the first person to be put as head coach in charge of both the men’s and women’s national teams — a job only given once more to Carlos Retegui now. It is hard to believe therefore that in 2002, the Argentine Hockey Confederation decided to dismiss Ciancia, deeming that his job was unnecessary.

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