Waveriders go one better, lift title
Runners-up in the inaugural edition of the Hockey India League, the Delhi Waveriders ended this season on a better note as they laid their hands on the glittering trophy here on Sunday evening, defeating Jaypee Punjab Warriors 6-4 in tie-breaker.other Updated: Feb 24, 2014 00:45 IST
Runners-up in the inaugural edition of the Hockey India League, the Delhi Waveriders ended this season on a better note as they laid their hands on the glittering trophy here on Sunday evening, defeating Jaypee Punjab Warriors 6-4 in tie-breaker.
Defending champions Ranchi Rhinos defeated Uttar Pradesh Wizards 4-3 also in the tie-breaker to finish third earlier in the day.
Full marks went to the Waveriders' goalkeeper Nicolas Jacobi, who put his best foot forward and denied three hits to the Warriors to make sure his team went home with the bigger trophy.
Matt Ghodes, Simon Child and Steven Edwards struck for the champions in the tie-break, whereas Robert Hammond was the only one to convert for the Warriors.
"It was a perfect final, where the two teams had to play their best. We never lost heart even after trailing by an early goal and kept working hard on our plan. It worked well in the end," said an elated coach Cedric D'Souza.
Mark Knowles put the Warriors ahead in the second minute of play with a field goal (1-0), but before the end of the first half, the Waveriders had bounced back with Lloyd Jones Norris (33rd) and Sardar Singh (35th) scoring to take the score to 2-1.
The ding-dong battle continued even after the change of ends. Shivendra Singh made no mistake in flicking the ball home off a swift cross from Gurmail Singh in the 45th minute (2-2), and Affan Yousuf put the Warriors ahead with a field goal in the 48th minute (3-2).
The Warriors kept trying to level the score, and their efforts paid bore fruit as an unmarked Yuvraj Walmiki restored parity with a clean hit (3-3).
Earlier, Ranchi Rhinos lived up to expectations and finished third.
The two sides were locked in a 1-1 draw at the end of regulation time, and in the tie-break it was Bosco del Perez, who struck the match-winner after the score-line read 3-3, and Tushar Khandekar's hit for the Wizards went wide.
Wizards' captain and drag-flicker Raghunath, who missed three penalty corners in the semifinal against the Waveriders on Saturday, was on target as he sounded the board almost at the stroke of the first quarter (1-0).
This had the hosts raising their intensity, which paid dividends when Manpreet Singh's hit zoomed past Wizards' custodian Srinivasa Rao just before the break (1-all).
Thereafter, it was a story of missed chances for both the teams.