Friday, January 31, 2014

Jaypee Punjab Warriors beat Delhi Waveriders 3-1, leapfrog to top of points table

Jaypee Punjab Warriors exacted sweet revenge for their 1-3 defeat to Delhi Waveriders in their tournament opener, as they humbled them by the same margin to leapfrog to the top of the points table in the 2nd Hero Hockey India League at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi.

Significantly, this was Warriors’ first ever win over Waveriders after a string of five defeats behind them. The Punjab outfit now have 16 points from four games.

Earlier, Jaypee Punjab Warriors wrested the early initiative going up 1-0 when drag-flicker Sandeep Singh made optimum use of their first penalty corner. Conceding an early goal was not something the home crowd would have bargained for at the start of the opening hooter. Delhi Waveriders were up against a stout Warriors defence, who were leaving nothing to chance.

The Waveriders forced their first short corner, but Rupinder Pal Singh could not profit from it. The last year’s runners-up pushed hard for the equalizer, but muffed up two short corners even as the Warriors looked determined to hang on to their solitary goal lead. Australian Matt Ghodes messed up two chances in the dying moments of the second quarter to further compound their woes.

The Warriors had an opportunity to double the lead off their second penalty corner in the third quarter, but Sandeep Singh slammed it wide. The Waveriders needed to go all out in the final quarter, but all their plans went awry when Satbir Singh made it 2-0 for the Warriors in the 64th minute off a Shivendra Singh pass.

Trailing 0-2 with six minutes to go, Rupinder Pal Singh finally it count with his PCs – rifling in one home to reduce the margin in the 65th minute. The Warriors put the issue beyond Waveriders when former Indian striker Shivendra Singh deflected home a nice pass from Simon Orchard in the 66th minute and then went on to flash his trademark salute. The Delhi forced back-to-back short corners at the death, but the Warriors defended them with aplomb to pave the way for a convincing 3-1 win.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Delhi Waveriders show Kalinga Lancers who is the boss

Delhi Waveriders walked down the victory path after their narrow loss to reigning champions Ranchi Rhinos in their previous tie, swamping debutants Kalinga Lancers 5-0 at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi.

The Odisha outfit, who put up a below par display in their opening tie against Jaypee Punjab Warriors, controlled possession early on but did not quite translate that into desired circle penetrations.

The last year’s runners-up side may not have matched the Lancers in terms of possession early on, but grew in confidence as the match wore, slamming the opening goal through a PC conversion by Rupinder Pal Singh in the 10th minute.

Matt Ghodes doubled the lead in the second quarter with a superb field goal in the 20th minute. Kalinga Lancers tried to exert pressure on the Waveriders and forced two short corners, but failed to profit from them. The Waveriders made them pay for that firing the third goal via Rupinder Pal Singh off a set-piece in the 29th minute.

The cup of troubles for Kalinga Lancers was full when Gurbaj Singh engineered a superb move from the right dodging past three of their players before laying it to Danish Mujtaba to slap it home. The South African combo of Lloyd Norris-Jones and Timmothy Drummond conjured up the fifth goal with the former tapping home a pass from the latter.

With this win, Delhi Waveriders have 11 points from 3 games, while Kalinga Lancers are lying in the bottom of the table with no points from two games.

Why is former Indian striker Prabhjot Singh not playing for Mumbai Magicians?

Hockey fans are keen to know why former Indian striker Prabhjot Singh is not turning out for Dabur Mumbai Magicians in the 2nd Hero Hockey India League. The 33-year-old forward sat out of the Magicians’ first two games as he is serving a three-month ban for indulging in unbecoming behavior in the final of the 2013 Surjit Singh Memorial hockey tournament.

Prabhjot, then featuring for his employers Indian Oil against Punjab & Sind Bank, showed poor sportsmanship and refused to leave the field when he was red-carded for arguing and abusing with umpire GS Sangha and even showing the stick to him, prompting the match to be held up for about twenty minutes.

Dabur Mumbai Magicians must have felt his absence in the first two games as they struggled to jell as a unit losing by identical margins of 3-5 to Jaypee Punjab Warriors and Uttar Pradesh Wizards. The vastly experienced striker is known to produce 'big impact' performances inside the rival ‘D’, but also has a propensity to get worked up easily, something he needs to guard again if he has to guide the Magicians to an improved showing from what they dished out in the 2013 edition.

According to Dabur Mumbai Magicians sources, Prabhjot can only return to competitive action only after January 31 – the time by which he would have completed his three-month ban. It may be noted that the 2013 Surjit Singh Memorial hockey tournament was held in the month of October last year.

The proficient hit man will likely to take the pitch for Dabur Mumbai Magicians in an away clash against Kalinga Lancers in Bhubaneshwar on Saturday.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Uttar Pradesh Wizards pip Dabur Mumbai Magicians 5-3

Uttar Pradesh Wizards seems to be mastering the art of ‘coming-from-behind’ – they showed it in no uncertain terms when they upset reigning champions Ranchi Rhinos in their tournament opener in Ranchi.

On Wednesday, they produced an encore, fighting back from being 0-2 down to script a superb 5-3 win over Dabur Mumbai Magicians in the 2nd Hero Hockey India League at the Mahindra Hockey Stadium in Mumbai. With their second straight win, Wizards now have 10 points from two games.

Earlier, backed by a vociferous home crowd, Dabur Mumbai Magicians called the shots early on and shot into the lead through drag-flicker Gurjinder Singh, who converted their first penalty corner in the 5th minute.

Stung by the early salvo, Uttar Pradesh Wizards pressed hard for the equalizer and even forced a penalty stroke. However they could not profit from that as Dabur Mumbai Magicians’ Irish goalkeeper David Harte pulled off a fine save to ensure his side held onto the 1-0 lead at the end of the opening quarter.

The Magicians consolidated the lead early in the second quarter when Australian striker Glenn Turner scored off a short corner rebound in the 19th minute.

The Wizards needed to summon desperate measures to stay in the match and Vokkaliga Raghunath did his side a big favour converting a PC to reduce the margin in the 27th minute.

The Roelant Oltmans-coached side, who appeared out of sorts in the opening exchanges, looked a transformed side in the third quarter, dominating possession even as the Magicians were pushed on the backfoot.

They were soon rewarded when Vokkaliga Raghunath converted another short corner in the 41st minute to make the scoreline 2-2. Unknown Indian youngster Siddharth gave Wizards the lead with a tap-in goal in the dying minutes of the third quarter. 

Vokkaliga Raghunath gave Wizards a two-goal cushion when he converted another PC early in the fourth quarter. The Magicians responded swiftly with Sarvanjit Singh reducing the margin off a PC attempt essayed by Gurjinder Singh.

But the Wizards again opened up a two-goal lead when SK Uthappa deflected home a pass from celebrated Dutch hitman Teun De Nooijer. Trailing 3-5, the Magicians had just more than ten minutes to make a match of it.

The UP outfit despite the rearguard action, were profligate in short corners converting only three from 11 PCs.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Sandeep Singh dazzles in Jaypee Punjab Warriors’ 7-3 rout over debutants Kalinga Lancers

Jaypee Punjab Warriors maintained their winning momentum in the 2nd Hero Hockey India League, walloping debutants Kalinga Lancers 7-3 at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneshwar.

The Barry Dancers-coached Punjab outfit, who picked up the pieces after losing the tournament opener to last year’s runners-up Delhi Waveriders, pressed the attacking button from the outset and marched into the lead through a Dharamvir Singh strike in the 5th minute of play.

The goal stunned the home crowd to silence as the Lancers sought to regroup, but the Warriors held on to the solitary goal lead at the end of the opening quarter.

Jaypee Punjab Warriors dished out belligerent hockey in the second quarter and kept asking probing questions to the Kalinga Lancers’ defence. Soon the Orange brigade were left with no answers as Argentinean Lucas Rey converted their first penalty corner off a rebound in the 24th minute. Drag-flicker Sandeep Singh also got into the goal-scoring act rifling in a flick in the 28th minute to make the scoreline 3-0.

The Warriors were almost flowing like a river and soon netted their fourth goal through talented Affan Yousuf in the 31st minute. Australian Simon Orchard further compounded the woes of the Odisha outfit, making it 5-0 in the 33rd minute.

Trailing 0-5 at the end of the second quarter, Kalinga Lancers finally gave their home crowd something to rejoice about. Argentinean drag-flick expert Gonzalo Peillat converted their first penalty corner in the 39th minute.

The joy of the Lancers was short-lived as Sandeep Singh made the most of Warriors’ third penalty corner in the 41st minute – the scoreline read 6-1. Gonzalo Peillat converted another short corner to reduce the margin in the 44th minute, but Warriors ended the third quarter on a strong note, with celebrated striker Jamier Dwyer scoring the 7th goal off a PC rebound in the 48th minute.

Kalinga had a monumental task of coming into the contest after trailing 2-7 at the end of the third quarter. The home side did not quite throw in the towel and scored their third goal after former Indian striker Mandeep Antil tapped home from close range in the 60th minute.

With this win, Jaypee Punjab Warriors leapfrogged to the top of the points table, collecting 11 points from three games.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Ranchi Rhinos hit winning ways, beat Delhi Waveriders 1-0

Defending champions Ranchi Rhinos returned to winning ways, scraping past Delhi Waveriders by a solitary four quarter goal to glean five crucial points in the 2nd Hero Hockey India League at the Astroturf Hockey Stadium in Ranchi.

English playmaker Ashley Jackson scored the all-important goal converting his team’s second penalty corner in the 63rd minute, whipping home a flick beating Delhi Waveriders’ New Zealand goalkeeper Hamish Mcgregor all ends up.

Earlier, both teams failed to break the stalemate in the first three quarters of play. It was Delhi Waveriders who forced the first short corner of the match, but Rupinder Pal Singh muffed it slamming it wide.

In fact, it was a match which belonged to both goalkeepers – Rhinos’ Spanish goalkeeper Francisco Cortes and Hamish Mcgregor.

Both teams raided each other’s citadel but poor finishing let them down. Play was held up for a few minutes in the third quarter when one of the light towers malfunctioned.

The final quarter saw end-to-end action with both teams in desperate pursuit of the match-winner.

Simon Child had a great chance to put Delhi Waveriders ahead, but Francisco Cortes pulled off a superb save off the first attempt and then foiled another rebound effort from Akashdeep Singh.

Former Indian midfielder Gurbaj Singh was outstanding in Delhi Waveriders’ defence and he complemented Hamish Mcgregor admirably.

This is the fourth consecutive game between the two teams that have produced a result with no draws so far.

Chhattisgarh gets first international astroturf hockey stadium

It will sound like music to the ears of the hockey lovers in Chhattisgarh as an international astroturf hockey stadium – the first of its kind in the state – was inaugurated at Rajnandgaon district headquarters recently.

The Stadium, spread over an area of nearly 9.5 acres, is built at an estimated cost of Rs 22 crore and was recently thrown open to the public by Chhattisgarh Governor Shekhar Dutt and chief minister Raman Singh.

To mark the occasion, an exhibition match was played between Governor's Eleven and CM's Eleven. Both teams comprised several international players like senior team captain Sardara Singh, Harjot Singh, Affan Yousuf among others.

The Stadium was completed within a record period of 18 months.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

First Test: Australian hockey eves hold South Africa 3-3

Australian women’s hockey team had to battle hard before going on to hold 11th ranked South Africa to a 3-3 draw in the first match of the three Test series in Stellenbosch, South Africa.

The 4th ranked Hockeyross, who bagged the silver medal in the FIH Women’s Hockey World League Final in Argentina, were left doing all the ‘catching up’ after Dirkie Chamberlain put South Africa eves ahead in the 14th minute.

Emily Smith levelled the issue for Australia close to half-time as both teams remaining unseparated at the break. Jodie Schulz pulled Australia ahead for the first time in the game when she rattled the South African cage early in the second half.

South Africa were far from being rattled by the Aussies rebound and took little time in restoring parity through PC expert Pietie Coetzee and later regained the lead through Dirkie Chamberlain – her second goal of the match.

South Africa must have raised visions of a famous victory, but with five minutes left for the final hooter, Brooke Peris saved the Hockeyroos’ blushes and ensured the match end on an even kneel.

Jaypee Punjab Warriors beat Dabur Mumbai Magicians 5-3

Jaypee Punjab Warriors hit winning ways beating Dabur Mumbai Magicians 5-3 in their second match of the 2014 Hero Hockey India League.

Jaypee Punjab Warriors began proceedings on an upbeat note and translated all the early promise into an early goal.

Dabur Mumbai Magicians, who finished with the wooden spoon in the 2013 HIL, refused to let the setback affect their game plan as they charted out their rebound plans.

The Magicians regrouped well and equalized capitalizing on their first penalty corner. Englishman Mark Gleghorne whipped it home after Gurjinder Singh sold a dummy.

The MK Kaushik-coached outfit soared in confidence with the equalizing goal and even pulled ahead when Raviapal tapped home from close range to keep his side 2-1 ahead in the first quarter.

The Warriors got back into the contest in the second quarter when Malak Singh dived to deflect home a cross from the right as both teams went into half-time with the scoreline reading 2-2.

The Magicians again regained the lead when VS Vinaya deflected home a slap pass from Gurjinder Singh.

Trailing 2-3, the Warriors responded swiftly scoring two penalty corner goals first through Sandeep Singh and later through Australian Christopher Ciriello and led 4-3 at the end of the third quarter.

The Magicians put sustained pressure in the fourth quarter, but Warriors weathered the storm and soon scored the fifth goal through Dharamvir Singh to pave the way for a 5-3 win.

This was Jaypee Punjab Warriors’ fourth straight win over Dabur Mumbai Magicians.