Saneko have contacted me via field hockey forum to ask me to review there new range of sticks for the UK, this family run company has a long history of manufacture but this is their first venture in the UK. I was given a choice of several bows and weights to choose from. This stick is 100% carbon with a low bow and featuring a tapered toe.
The feel on the ball is good. The stick has a nice balance between soft and stiff feel on the ball, this makes it slightly more forgiving than other high carbon sticks. The stick is still fairly responsive when dribbling and you can easily execute quick skills, though with the stick being a bit softer you do have to put a little more effort into them. The stick also features a touch compound that has a waxy feel on the ball, this is nice and helps to control any spin on the ball from the incoming pass. The stick is well balanced for moving the ball with a mid balance point. The softer feel is really helpful when controlling wayward incoming passes, the little extra give in the stick let’s the stick flex a little to take some of the momentum off hard passes, pair this with good soft hands and it very easy to control even the most unfriendly of passes. The only downside to this is that at times when you are trying to get a deflected pass or shot off the stick absorbs some of the power of the ball or in some cases stops it dead, meaning for deflected shots or passses you have to put a bit off effort back into the ball. The stick also has a tapered toe, this makes it excellent for pulling off right turns and spins to take the ball away from a defender of your reverse stick as the ball sits so nicely on the reverse toe. This is also useful for using the hook (gap between the head of the stick and the shaft) this makes it really good for penalty corner injections and drag pushes.
The stick is weighted for balanced use, the weight is mid way up the shaft meaning that there is still sufficient weight behind the ball when hitting. The stick has a really nice sweet spot, meaning it’s really easy to get a great connection on the ball and really put the power onto your strikes. The subtle flex of the stick can sometimes be detrimental, but I found that the stick largely would ping back to shape and you wouldn’t lose any power from your strike. The stick is easy to hit flat even with the low bow profile as long as you are hitting from the right place, but is also easy to lift the ball into the roof of the net. You do need to account for the extra ping from the flex when shooting high but along as you take that into account it’s really nice to undercut the ball with as the flex seem to add a little extra to lifted shots, maybe because there is not as much resistance from the turf as the ball lifts. The only issue is that the ball stays on the stick slightly longer than with a stiffer stick, this is only a problem for split second chances where you have to get the shot off straight away, but I find these to be very rare where the slight delay from the flex with make you miss the chance.
When getting low and slap hitting, the stick has equal power to when you’re hitting upright. The flex again causes a slight delay but then pings back to its original shape adding extra ping to the ball. The touch compound along with the low bow profile let you add a little whip to the ball when you are playing slider passes, this can cause the ball to spin and curve which is nice on longer distance passes as you can curl the pass back into a team mates run with practice.
The edge on this stick is a nice thickness, it gives you a big enough edge to easily hit tomahawks but it is thin enough to allow you to get under the ball to lift shots. When hitting tomahawk shots I found that it was easy to direct the ball into the corners and also pummel the ball it the roof of the net. It’s also really nice to use to hit flat tomahawk passes, because of the thickness of the edge it’s very easy to hit flat passes with alot of power that is great for playing long line passes from the left side of the pitch or for a quick transition across the pitch from left to right. Because of the mid balance point you can put alot of the weight right behind the ball of you hit though with the right spot, this is good for low shots and passes, once you find this spot I would make it with tape as the boost in power is great.
The stick is good for upright reverse strikes as the sweet spot well positioned for.this as well as open stick hitting.
This stick features a low bow profile, the head is nicely shaped and a waxy touch compound, these features combined make it very easy to get under the ball and then lift it into the air. This can be done on the move easily.making it excellent for quick 3d skills. Because the touch compound holds the ball well it makes it easy to perform movements of the ball in the air. This easy of getting under the ball also makes it a dream for playing lifted passes either a few inches from the ground or higher, directly to a team mate or just over a defender’s stick into space for a teammate to run onto. Obviously with a low bow (and good technique) you can easily launch the ball into the corner of the goal. The ball sits nicely on the face initially but can easily be moved up the shaft to use the bow to add whip and power to your flicks. You can really use this sticks unique balance to perform a two motion lob on a rushing goalkeeper, you can move the ball into the air and then use the waxy touch compound to hold the ball long enough to see the keeper commit and the elevate the ball over them as they come flying out.
As I have said the stick has a low bow and thin head, much like flicking it is easy to throw the ball high into the air as an overhead pass. The mid balance point makes a nice transition as you can accelerate that point through the the ball as the ball whips down the bow and off the head into the air at great speed. With spittle effort and the right technique you can easily launch the ball 30+ yards down the pitch to a team mate. You can also make use of the hook area to drag the ball in towards yourself then rotate the stick in your hand so the ball rolls onto the face and you can make throwing a long over head even easier.
Dragflicking is just as simple, you can use the same drag with the hook to add power in a similar way to Justin Reid-Ross. I would stress that this exact technique does require some practice as it is easy to mess up and lose control of the ball with any stick. But even using the standard technique you can get a lot of power using the bow and and the shaped head to get under the ball. The smooth curve let’s you add power gradually through the drag and the touch compound lets you add a little spin and whip to your flicks.
This is a great all rounder stick. It is really well balanced for all.areas of the game. In the review I talk about the subtle flex of the stick, I would say 90% of players (9 out of the 10 I asked) wouldn’t notice it and it’s only because I have just come from trying a very stiff stick that I was aware of it. I want to stress that this flex is not a bad thing in this current climate of players all waiting to talk about how stiff the stick is, this stick gives you a little extra forgiveness but it still a high carbon stick and so will be on the stiffer end of the stick spectrum. Further note, upon further review time with the stick it has about the same level of flex as the old Adidas dual rod sticks from 2-3 years ago.
This is a great stick and well worth the money. If you want to get one for yourself or a loved one for Christmas contact @SanekoSportUk on Instagram.
Feel – 8.5/10
Hitting – 8/10
Reverse – 8/10
Flicking – 8/10
Dragflicking/Aerials – 8.5/10