The FIH Pro League is one of the biggest and most celebrated international field hockey competitions. It is organised by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) and replaces the previous FIH Hockey World League. The competition generally serves as the qualifier for both the Hockey World Cup and the Olympic Games.
The league attracts the world’s best men’s and women’s national hockey teams.
The 2021 – 2022 event is the third edition of the championship competition, it began in October 2021, and it is set to come to its finale in June this year. While originally there were nine teams scheduled to play in the tournament, world events caused some disruption to Hockey Pro plans.
Both Australia and New Zealand were forced to drop out of the competition as a consequence of travel restrictions in those countries. As a result, Canada and South Africa both joined in their place in the men’s side in December 2021.
However, the Canadian teams were also forced to withdraw due to travel restrictions and France were eventually named in their place in January of this year. The current teams now participating in the tournament are as follows:
In the men’s competition, current teams include: Argentina, Belgium, England, France, Germany, India, Netherlands, South Africa and Spain.
In the women’s competition, current teams include: Argentina, Belgium, China, England, Germany, India, Netherlands, Spain and the United States.
Each team plays against each component twice during the season, playing 16 games in total. In this competition, instead one playing one home game and one away game, team hosts are rotated on a bi-annual basis.
So, if England played India, they would play two games in England one year and then the two games in India the following season.
What’s happening in the 2021 – 2022 tournament at the moment?
At this point in the tournament, on the men’s side the most goals have been scored by India, the most penalty stroke goals by France and the most penalty corner goals also by India. On the women’s side, Argentina have the most total goals and the most penalty corner goals, while India have the most penalty stroke goals.
The league’s top scorers are currently India’s Harmanpreet Singh, Netherlands’ Thierry Brinkman and England’s Nicholas Bandurak. In the women’s league the top scorers are Argentinian players Agustina Gorzelany and Victoria Granatto and Netherlands’ Yibbi Jansen.
Unsurprisingly, in the men’s, India are top of the leader board, followed closely by Argentina and then Germany, Netherlands and France. Argentina are ahead on the women’s side, followed by India, Netherlands and Germany
Fan’s will be watching the scores very closely over the next few weeks. And with many countries have relaxed gambling law, many fans opt to place bets on professional hockey matches, adding another layer of excitement and suspense to the competition. There are now more convenient ways of placing a sports bet with most UK gamblers heading online to one of the new sports betting providers available or a well established sportsbook who offer hockey specific bets.
So, who is competing for England and how are they performing at this point?
Women’s Hockey League
The women’s England team are not afraid of tough competition, having won the silver medal three times at the Commonwealth Games. Coached by David Ralph and assistant coaches Katie Glynn and Jody Paul, the team currently has a ranking of four in the FIH.
They have so far played in 10 games in this year’s FIH Hockey Pro, scoring two wins, three loses, one draw and one SO-bonus. The matches between India and the England Women’s team were initially scheduled on 2 and 3 April in Bhubaneswar, India, but were cancelled. It was therefore decided between the FIH and the two nations that the six available points for these matches were awarded to India.
The goalkeepers playing in this league are Maddie Hinch and Miriam Pritchard. The team’s overall best scorer is forward Lily Owsley, originally from Bristol, who at 27 years old has scored a total of 38 goals.
The team’s captain is Hollie Pearne-Webb, MBE, she is well known for scoring the winning penalty in the 2016 Olympic final in Rio de Janeiro.
The team are currently in fifth place and have China, Spain, Netherlands and Belgium left to play. While first place may not be in easy reach, the England women’s team could still realistically aim for a top three spot.
Men’s Hockey League
Over the men’s game, England have played in eight games, winning three, drawing one and losing four. They are currently ranked eighth in the league table and still have France, South Africa, Netherlands and Belgium left to play.
On the team is midfielder Harry Martin, who has made 237 appearances in England and Great Britain. There is also Henry Weir, who has scored six goals in 185 appearances.
In February, the England men’s team thrashed Spain in the first game 1 – 6 in Valencia. In April they managed to draw 3 – 3 with league champions India in Bhubaneswar. They have yet to replicate the energy and focus shown in the Spain 1 – 6, but with a number of matches left there is still the opportunity to climb a few places up the league table.