CLOUD Legguards Review

Well I chose to review my OBO cloud legguards


Before I got my Cloud I was using my clubs leg guards. But I found that even on a nice slippery water base pitch you COULDN’T slide!

When I first ordered them I was regretting not getting the ROBO, as I heard rumours that cloud was useless!!

On the day they arrived I was surprised at how light they were!

I noticed that they looked the same as the ROBO hi-control but presuming with slightly softer foam and a few less perks. But still have a lot of good ideas that you won’t find on many other brands

-The left leg is wider than the right for some reason (probably for extra height when logging or something)

-The wings at the side are lower to the ground which really helps to stop balls just sliding past your foot.

-The straps are hiding so there is wear-n-tear when sliding.

-The oddly shaped buckles help to stop the straps loosening during a game or training.

-The great idea of the tongue that helps stop the leg guards from twisting!

(yes I know these are not cloud but it’s the same idea)


The only flaw I can see with the leg guards is that the area around the knee (highlighted)is quite more built up more than the rest of the pads so when I log there is naturally a gap between them making a lovely target for a good striker. Maybe that is only me as I have short-ish legs but, I have no idea that could help stop this without reducing protection. (yes lets laugh at the very badly drawn picture)

My funky drawing

To finish it all I would like to say that I would recommend cloud leg guards to any keeper as they have absolutely excellent protection, are light and easy to move in and have never caused me a single problem during a match.

By the way if anybody else has had the problem with the built up knee please leave me a comment! and if you dont, leave a comment anyway!!



Advanced positioning

To make the most of angle play, and challenging the shooter’s angle of the possible shot, you must understand your positioning in relation to the goal, and the ball itself. By really challenging the angle, and ‘getting in the face’ of the shooter, you should be able to force the shot wide; coming out so far that they miss because there is nothing of the net to shoot at.


Covering the angle

When playing the angles, it is necessary to understand how your depth in goal affects your ability to make the save. Staying on your line means that shots to the sides will be much further away, forcing you to extend and across in order to make the save, whereas coming off your line closes down the angle, making an easier save. Draw a mental line between the striker and centre of goal and positioning correctly, you can reduce the amount of space the striker can shoot at.


If you have the chance to challenge the angle, use positioning to your advantage to allow you to cover more of the shot, rather than making the save difficult for yourself.



Gap control

Gap control is basically the space between you and the shooter. With a small gap between you and the attacker, they will have less space to shoot at, and will have to shoot at you, or look for the space in the corners, whereas not challenging and hanging back against the shot, will give the shooter more options. By playing the gaps actively, you are able to limit the shooting space the shooter can see, reducing their options of scoring; actively challenging to pick their spot wisely from a number of options that have been cut down by you limiting the angle they can see.


Goalkeeper with strong gap control, vastly reducing the shooter’s scoring chances.
Goalkeeper with strong gap control, vastly reducing the shooter’s scoring chances.


Goalkeeper with poor gap positioning, leaving too much of the net open for the shooter.
Goalkeeper with poor gap positioning, leaving too much of the net open for the shooter.


Making use of your angles

Now that you have grown used to positioning yourself in the correct angle around goal and the D, it is important to employ your angles in playing a situation to your advantage. Learning to be aggressive with your positioning to challenge the shooter really gives you an edge when faced with an open opportunity against a one on one or set play scenario (like a close-in shot developing from a pass within the packed D from a free hit or long corner), where you can actively reduce scoring chances by stepping out to meet the shot. This way you have the means at your disposal to give you the upper hand in reducing the chances of a goal; it is up to you to use them.


Narrowing the angle

The most important skill of angle play by the goalkeeper is narrowing the player’s shooting angle to make it harder for them to score; bringing the goalkeeper closer to the shot, to make the save easier, whilst taking away valuable shooting space at the same time. As the attacker comes in to for the shot the goalkeeper steps out onto the angle, getting in position to cover the shooting space, thus reducing the shooter’s options.


By challenging the shooter, you make it harder for them; having to take time to choose the shot, by which time you are ready and waiting.


Staying on your line gives the shooter too much space to choose from on the play.
Staying on your line gives the shooter too much space to choose from on the play.


By challenging off your line, you can dramatically reduce the shooting options.
By challenging off your line, you can dramatically reduce the shooting options.


Here, the goalkeeper moves off his line to challenge the angle to his left post (holding the right post to force the shot to his left).
Here, the goalkeeper moves off his line to challenge the angle to his left post (holding the right post to force the shot to his left).







Game 2 vs France

Australia recorded a 4-1 victory in our second and final game against France to finish up 2-0 series winners. At the wonderful venue of Racing Club in Versailles, the Kookaburras extended their two goal half time lead in a greatly improved performance after game one. Chris Ciriello, Glenn Simpson, Luke Doerner and Simon Orchard all scored in a very even team performance.

George Bazeley played his first minutes of the tour in the net during the first 35 minutes, while I came on at half time to play out the rest of the game. I have included a picture of the two of us after the final whistle, in which I’m trying to show him the GK gear he should be wearing! Touring with a team is significantly more enjoyable as a goalie if you get along well with the other keeper. Luckily for us this is the case in the current Australian team, a particularly important fact when you consider that we are rooming together for the entire trip.


We now leave Paris for our next round of matches in Germany, including the Hamburg Masters tournament. The travel day is going to be an incredible experience, as we head to Villers Brettoneux and then Menin Gate; two very important locations in Australia’s history. We will spend the night in Eindhoven before continuing onto Hamburg.




Other than covering your neck area with a removable bib/guard, it is possible to use to increase the protection required for your neck, with the mask not follow covering this dangerous area. The dangler is attached to the helmet or mask, hanging off the chin of the helmet, to cover the open neck area and provide suitable protection against a potential shot there.


Hockey plates

There are field hockey specific types of danglers mass produced by a number of companies, like Grays, Obo or TK, that can be attached to the helmet, fixing on below the chin area. Made of pvc, they are strong enough to withstand the majority of shots to the neck area; offering a flat blocking shape against balls ending up between the helmet and body armour. However, they should really only be used in conjunction with helmet/cage combos, as the plastic dangler can attach to the helmet without it moving around wildly; if you tried to attach it to a mask, then it will not make efficient connection, leaving you open to shots as you move around, as it swings up.




Ice hockey danglers

Ice hockey companies mass produce lexan danglers for their goaltenders, which attach around the mask’s chin to offer all-round protection to the throat. These can be used by us field hockey goalies to cover the open space below the mask chin; covering your voice box and neck from possible harm. The dangler is made of strong composite materials which are capable of absorbing a shot (really hard shots could crack it and will obviously need replacing!). You can get different danglers to suit the type of helmet; larger round danglers are suitable for both helmet/cage combos and masks, providing a wide rim of protection, whilst the smaller V-shaped danglers work OK with masks, offering a tighter area of coverage; the shape not interfering with the chin.




Hockey Specific Masks

Due to the great improvement in the plastics industry, metal working, and technology in general, field hockey equipment makers have been attempting to keep up with the new alterations to the new sticks that give players greater chance to do us more damage! Similar to ice hockey masks, hockey specific masks are fully enclosed helmets, with a back strap holding the mask in place on the head. Rather than using any special materials for increased protection, they are made of high impact plastic, injection moulded for head sizes. The cages are generally made of carbon steel.

These masks make great protection for young goalkeepers’ headgear, and are at affordable prices, making them affordable and reasonable alternatives to a helmet/cage combo, if you prefer protection over vision. The masks generally come in two sizes: junior or senior (I would recommend that an older intermediate teenager would manage to fit into a senior helmet – check the given sizes first i.e. 16/17 +). They are suitable for lower to mid-club level standard (up to about regional level standard) for senior players; cages can be switched for a cat eye (for greater vision for those who dislike having to see through a grill) at an additional cost.

Common makers include Slazenger who produce club, county and international versions with obviously matching levels of protection.



  • Provide better protection than helmet/cage combos; added chin protection and

  • Moderate costs makes the helmet an affordable option

  • Cage compatibility – able to switch cages produced by the same company easily


  • Reduced peripheral vision – harder to see overall side to side game

  • Harder to shout out team instructions, with the mouth area covered by the design

Review on OBO Robo Elbow Guards

This is my review on the new OBO Robo Elbow Guards. Hope you enjoy it.


Hey guys, iv been part of the beta testing programme for the new OBO Robo Elbow Guards, a very recent addition to the OBO range so here it goes. So far iv played about 5 games and had roughly 10 trainings with the Elbow guards and I have to say I love them.

They have a number of features that only OBO could think of, for example their amazing adjustability. The Elbow Guard has a flexible top pad to protect the upper part of the arm and inner elbow and bicep area. This pad is also fully removable to either provide greater protection or mobility according to personal tastes. I myself wear the right elbow guard with the top pad and the left without as I prefer greater mobility with my left and more protection on my right (shown below).

Left elbow guard. As you can see I have removed the top plate.
Right elbow guard. The top plate is present.

Another feature of the elbow guard I have recently discovered is that you can adjust the amount of padding that you have on the arm.  It basically allows you to change how thick the padding is so that you can adjust how much protection you have and how heavy the elbow guard is. This is an exceptional new idea and I am very impressed with the concept.

As with all OBO products I have found that the elbow guards do not restrict movement and are extremely comfortable.  They fit easily around your arm and unlike other arm guards do not move during the game.  I have found that I have complete movement in my arm and the normal movement of the elbow joint is not compromised by any of the padding. Needless to say it does its job extremely well and has saved my arm a number of times in the few times I have used it.

In conclusion and from my experiences I believe the OBO Robo Elbow Guard is an awesome product. It provides excellent protection, is very comfortable and unconstricting, is very adjustable and looks pretty good as well. even though I have worn them only a few times I am already in love.

Ben Smith.

Hibbert’s Take Over The Reins At Southgate


A father and son coaching team is taking over the reins at Southgate Hockey Club.

First team goalkeeper Chris Hibbert (an OBO sponsored player) and his father Brian are looking to steer the three-time European Cup-winning club back into the top flight next season.

Both boast a wealth of coaching experience while Chris, a South Africa international on the cusp of retirement, has an intimate knowledge of the club and the first-team set-up having played for the men’s 1s for the last four seasons.

He will be head coach and his father assistant coach. They take over from former GB international and club stalwart John Shaw.

They will also head a recruitment drive for new players for the team this summer.
Chris, 33, who will combine goalkeeping and coaching duties once the new season gets under way in September, said: “Getting Southgate back up into the Premier Division is going to be a real challenge, but one I’m very happy about taking on.
“Work is already under way to put together the best squad we can, and we’re improving the structure of the club to work more closely with our second team and the superb juniors that the club produces.”

Southgate were relegated from the Premier League in March.


As well as being the team’s assistant coach last season and its captain two seasons ago, Chris has coached at Spencer Hockey Club for the last two seasons, Brunel University in 2005-6 and Barnes Hounslow Ealing in 2004-5.

A top player, he won the Division One player of the season twice in row – in 2006-7 and 2007-8 – and represented his native South Africa at the Athens and Beijing Olympics Games.

His father has national coaching experience having been assistant national coach of Wales in 2005-7 and Wales U21 men’s team’s head coach in 2007-8.

He has coached two UK national league teams – then Premier League men’s first team Teddington in 2002-3 and then national league side Oxford Hawks in 2003-4.
He was also Barnes Hounslow Ealing ladies’ first team coach from 2005-9 – the side fini

shed fourth in the Conference East (formerly national division one) last season, one place behind Southgate’s women’s first team.

Club chairman David Lloyd-Williams said: “I’m delighted to have Chris and Brian on board.”

“Chris is a popular and respected leader in the current squad and brings enormous experience from the highest level of our sport.”

“The team of Chris and father Brian is a powerful

combination and I’m very confident we’ll be challenging to get back into the Premier Division next season.”

“I would like to pay tribute to John Shaw who has made an enormous contribution to the club in his role as men’s first team coach.”

For further information see; Southgate Hockey Club
From the chairman “We’re busy building next season’s squad now, so if anyone wants to join, email us at

Slazenger Phantom Body Armour Review

Due to popular demand (well someone kinda sorta asked me) here’s my review of the Slazenger Phantom Body Armour. Enjoy

Slazenger Phantom Body Armour

Slazenger Phantom Body Armour

As any of you who have read my review on the Robo Bodi Arma will know I have been singing the praises of the Slazenger Phantom body armour. It doesn’t stack up to the Robo equivalent but it does offer decent protection at a fraction of the cost.
After a string of inadequate or ill-fitting sets of chest guards and arm protection my club invested in all-in-one body armour. I can only imagine that they chose the Slazenger phantom body armour because of its price, but who could blame them. At just over half the cost of the Obo Youth Junior Body Armour it provides protection that lies somewhere between that and the Cloud 9 model.

While using this gear I played at a middle level for both my club and school and I found the protection to be more than enough. The chest pad is made of thick spongy foam bound in mesh which, while being far bulkier than that used by obo, does it’s job of protecting you from the force of the ball admirably. One or two shots from some of the older players on my team (who play for the Irish U18 or U21 teams) have left me a little winded but I’ve never had any major injuries.

The arms are made from seven pieces of high density foam. Enclosed in a stretchy Lycra these allow for easy movement whilst still holding the protection in all the right places. This high density foam is far thinner than the chest piece allowing for manipulation of the elbows while not compromising on the protection to those delicate bones and ligaments. The Lycra stands up admirably to the wear and tear of sliding about on a sand filled pitch with only minor fraying in two places after over two seasons. To be honest those were probably caused by my manhandling of the gear after a bad match.

The problem with many of the cheaper sets of gear is that it is virtually impossible to raise your arms above your head. In an attempt to remedy this Slazenger seem to have reduced the amount of foam in the shoulder area. While this has greatly improved the mobility it is the source of one of my few complaints. As a result of their foam shedding there is a small blind spot in the space between the shoulder caps (which are a little lacking too) and the top of the arm pads. I’ve taken a knock or two here when I’ve misjudged a raised shot (which I still maintain swerved around my hand pad) or was caught out by a close range deflection. I’ve been left with a couple of nice bruises and a stiff arm the next day but I feel that for middle level keepers it wouldn’t get any worse than this.

Some of the main points

Some of the main features

The tight Lycra arms combined with the foam back panel keep these pads in place beautifully but they do cause a problem during the summer season. During a high intensity session it can get quite hot in the gear. This causes a problem in this situation but during the winter it can be a welcome layer during a quiet match.

So in short the Slazenger Phantom body armour is the perfect choice for any keeper starting out who wants good protection and mobility at budget prices. With solid chest protection and high density foam arms these pads are a perfect choice for any keeper in the early stages of his/her career who’s looking for a reasonable alternative to the more expensive other brand options.

So again if you have any questions i’ll be happy to help.



Game 1 vs France

On the morning that a player makes his debut for Australia, a Kookaburra from the past officially presents the individual with his first jersey. When I was in this position in January against the Netherlands, I was lucky enough to be handed my first playing shirt by three-time Olympian goalkeeper Damon Diletti. The photo I’ve included shows Australia’s most recent debutants with three legends from the past who are also part of our touring party. From left they are: Graham Reid (Assistant Coach), Glenn Turner, Ric Charlesworth (Coach), Bob Haigh (Selector), Jason Wilson and Graeme Begbie.


We had a 5-4 win against France in the first game of our European Tour. Things were not looking good at half time when we were 2-4 down, but the boys fought back well to record the victory. Simon Orchard netted two goals for Australia, while Russ Ford, Luke Doerner and Mark Paterson also got their names on the score sheet.

There are two keepers on the tour – myself and George Bazeley – and so far in Ric’s time as coach he has always played his keepers for a half each during test matches. I understand this is still his intention, however George was sick in bed only a few days ago so I played 70 minutes today. The game didn’t start off in an ideal manner for us after they scored from a penalty corner inside the first two minutes. It was a fast drag flick directed just inside the post and slightly above the ground to my stick side. I managed to save the next one, also to my right but high this time, before they scored a field goal shortly after with a deflection close to the net.

The final two goals conceded were French breakaways that left us exposed at the back. While it was very frustrating to concede four in a half it was a valuable learning experience for a young team that is building towards World Cup Qualifiers in August and the Champions Trophy in November. It was great to win, but as a team we will study the video footage of the match before game two in Versailles and hopefully learn enough to put in a more comprehensive performance in our next outing.

Cheers for now,