On This Day
1886 – Modern field hockey is born with the formation of The Hockey Association in England.
Field hockey is a widely played team sport of the hockey family. The game can be played on grass, watered turf, artificial turf or synthetic field, as well as an indoor boarded surface. Each team plays with ten field players and a goalkeeper. Players commonly use sticks made out of wood, carbon fibre, fibre glass or a combination of carbon fibre and fibre glass in different quantities (with the higher carbon fibre stick being more expensive and less likely to break) to hit a round, hard, plastic hockey ball. The length of the hockey stick is based on the player’s individual height, the top of the stick usually comes to the players hip, taller players typically have taller sticks. The sticks have a round side and a flat side only the flat face of the stick is allowed to be used, if the other side is used it results in a foul. Goalies often have a different kind of stick, however they can also use an ordinary field hockey stick. The specific goal-keeping sticks have another curve at the end of the stick, this is to give them more surface area to save the ball. The uniform consists of shin guards, shoes, shorts or a skirt, a mouthguard and a jersey.
Today, the game is played globally, mainly in parts of Western Europe, South Asia, Southern Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, and parts of the United States (primarily New England and the Mid-Atlantic states).
Known simply as “hockey” in many territories, the term “field hockey” is used primarily in Canada and the United States where ice hockey is more popular. In Sweden, the term landhockey is used and to some degree also in Norway where it is governed by Norway’s Bandy Association.
During play, goal keepers are the only players who are allowed to touch the ball with any part of their body (the player’s hand is considered part of the stick if on the stick), while field players play the ball with the flat side of their stick. If the ball is touched with the rounded part of the stick, it will result in a penalty. Goal keepers also cannot play the ball with the back of their stick.
Whoever scores the most goals by the end of the match wins. If the score is tied at the end of the game, either a draw is declared or the game goes into extra time or a penalty shootout, depending on the competition’s format. There are many variations to overtime play that depend on the league and tournament play. In college play, a seven-aside overtime period consists of a 10-minute golden goal period with seven players for each team. If a tie still remains, the game enters a one-on-one competition where each team chooses 5 players to dribble from the 25-yard line down to the circle against the opposing goalie. The player has 8 seconds to score on the goalie keeping it in bounds. The play ends after a goal is scored, the ball goes out of bounds, a foul is committed (ending in either a penalty stroke or flick or the end of the one on one) or time expires. If the tie still persists more rounds are played until one team has scored.
The governing body of field hockey is the International Hockey Federation (FIH), which is called the Fédération Internationale de Hockey in French, with men and women being represented internationally in competitions including the Olympic Games, World Cup, World League, Champions Trophy and Junior World Cup, with many countries running extensive junior, senior, and masters club competitions. The FIH is also responsible for organizing the Hockey Rules Board and developing the rules for the game.
A popular variant of field hockey is indoor field hockey, which differs in a number of respects while embodying the primary principles of hockey. Indoor hockey is a 5-a-side variant, with a field which is reduced to approximately 40 m × 20 m (131 ft × 66 ft). With many of the rules remaining the same, including obstruction and feet, there are several key variations: Players may not raise the ball unless shooting on goal, players may not hit the ball (instead using pushes to transfer the ball), and the sidelines are replaced with solid barriers which the ball will rebound off. In addition, the regulation guidelines for the indoor field hockey stick require a slightly thinner, lighter stick than an outdoor stick.
Born On This Day
1853 – Marthinus Nikolaas Ras, South African farmer, soldier, and gun-maker (d. 1900)
Marthinus Nikolaas Ras (18 January 1853 – 21 February 1900) was a South African farmer, soldier, and gun-maker who is considered the father of South African Artillery.
He served in the First Boer War in the Potchefstroom commando under General Piet Cronjé. After witnessing the siege on the British fort at Potchefstroom by the Boers, he realized the need for artillery by the Boer forces to be able to successfully mount an assault the British blockhouses and forts. In the early stages of the conflict, the Boers seriously lacked cannons to enable them to assault the six British army forts in the Transvaal. In December 1880, he requested and obtained permission to return home to his farm Bokfontein, near Brits, to build a cannon for the Boer forces.
He built two cannons (named the Ras cannons), the first being a 3 inch caliber, 4½ feet barrel cannon, named “Martienie” and the second a 2 inch caliber, 5½ barrel cannon, named “Ras”. The “Martienie” cannon was used to great effect on a British fort near Rustenburg, firing 93 shots and resulting in the subsequent surrender of the fort.
On 21 February 1900 during the Second Boer War, whilst on the way back to his farm at Bokfontein, he was ambushed and killed at Kaya’s Put by an impi (African war party) of the Kgatla tribal chief Linchwe, an African tribe fighting on the side of the British.
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