Saturday, February 22, 2014

Delhi Waveriders ride on Yuvraj Walmiki's goal to pip UP Wizards 1-0, reach final

Delhi Waveriders got the better of Uttar Pradesh by a solitary goal to reach the final of the 2nd Hero Hockey India League at the Astroturf Hockey Stadium in Ranchi.

The Green brigade made the first noises in the Wizards’ defence when Yuvraj Walmiki threatened to score, but muffed up the opportunity at the near post. The Cedric D’Souza-coached side upped the ante and forced their first penalty corner in the 11th minute, but Rupinder Pal Singh slammed it wide.

The Delhi outfit was soon rewarded for their aggression upfront when Yuvraj Walmiki deflected home a nice pass from Lloyd Norris-Jones in the 14th minute to go into the opening quarter break with a narrow lead.

The Wizards looked good to equalize early in the second quarter when Ramandeep Singh engineered a short corner for them, but Vokkaliga Raghunath was thwarted by Rupinder Pal Singh. The Greenshirts kept the Wizards at bay to hang on to a 1-0 lead at half-time.

The UP outfit had an opportunity to draw level when they won their second PC, but Vokkaliga Raghunath banged it wide. SK Uthappa could have given his side the much-needed equalizer but failed to tap home in front of an open goal. The Wizards were left ruing their chances when Vokkaliga Raghunath hit the crossbar off their third PC.

The UP outfit replaced goalkeeper George Bazeley with Srinivas Rao in the final quarter and even as time was running on, the Waveriders piled on the pressure. Akashdeep Singh nearly made it 2-0 but his shot sailed wide.

New Zealander Hugo Inglis perhaps had the best chance to bring Wizards into the contest with three minutes remaining for the final hooter, but his shot was off target. The Waveriders soaked up all the pressure from the Wizards in the dying moments to eke out a 1-0 win and a second consecutive berth in the HIL final.

New blue turf to be laid in Bangladesh
Hockey in Bangladesh is set to receive a big push following the announcement of FIH President Leandro Negre that a new, blue, water-based pitch will be laid at the National Stadium in Dhaka. The FIH president intimated the same during his recent visit to the country.
Negre, who represented Spain in the 1968 Mexico Olympics, was accompanied on his trip to Bangladesh by Steven Niven, Director of STI – an Australian-based company that produces Poligrass turf and is a FIH partner.
The new Stadium will be built with assistance of STI, Olympic Solidarity, the Olympic Committees of Asia (OCA) and the Bangladesh Sport Ministry and is estimated to cost around $400,000.
The visit of 66-year-old Negre, who is serving his second four-year term as FIH president after being first elected to the post in 2008, is expected to spur the spirits of the Bangladeshi youngsters taking to hockey.
In a significant gesture, which bodes well for the future of Bangladesh hockey, STI donated a sand-based pitch to a secondary school in Bangladesh that caters to 7,000 pupils.
Bangladesh, who are ranked 32 in the FIH world rankings, can see the FIH President’s visit as a springboard to uplift their game and fare well in international competitions
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