New rules a hit in field hockey tournament

Perth: Australia defeated India 4-1 to win the women`s title and its men`s team beat New Zealand 5-3 at a field hockey tournament that experimented with new rules designed to speed up play and create more scoring opportunities.

The changes included goals a meter (three feet) wider than regulation, two 15-minute halves, reduced from 35 minutes per half; only nine players per side instead of 11, and more tolerance of foot and stick contact in order to reduce play stoppages.

Australia men`s coach and former player Ric Charlesworth, who helped develop the experimental rules with Hockey Australia, said he wants the Super Series to become a regular event on the sport`s calendar. The four-day series attracted more than 10,000 fans.

"Twenty20 cricket has changed the paradigm so that the skills are different," Charlesworth said. "All this does is open up the skills and put them on display more which is what we want — the one-on-one contests around the field as an example.

"They won`t do anything before the (2012) Olympics but I don`t think having two products available is necessarily a bad thing at all."

Australia women`s coach Adam Commens said Sunday he thought the experimental rules were exciting — "we need to embrace it ... I think that in the future we will see it become very popular, and that`s what we need to promote our sport."

Bureau Report

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