The match between the two teams turned out to be exciting as it rained goals throughout the entire 60 minutes. Though Kalinga Lancers had a benefit of their home turf, it did not disappoint the hopes of Ranchi Rays who stood confident enough to give a strong challenge to the opponents.
The first goal of the Hero Hockey India League 2015 went to the home-side, Kalinga Lancers which was skillfully penetrated by Lucas Vila in the 3rd minute when Ranchi Rays’ Birendra Lakra tried to whip the ball away but did not succeed. Undeterred by the goal Ranchi Rays put a brave fight and just under a minute to go in the first quarter, Barry Middleton pulled off a spectacular straight pass goal which served as an equalizer leaving the first quarter score as 1-1.
Unfolding the second quarter of the game, the teams looked confident and made full efforts to utilize the scoring opportunities that came in. Marching ahead towards the lead, Ryan Archibald of Kalinga Lancers notched in a goal in the 17th minute which came through a field goal. The celebrations continued at the Kalinga Stadium when Vickram Kanth scored a beautifully crafted goal for the team in the 18th minute to extend the lead by 3-1.
Entering the third quarter of the game, Kalinga Lancers made it clear that they had the possession of the ball and continued with their brilliant stickwork. In the 36th minute, Ranchi Rays found its second goal when Ashley Jackson put his name on the score sheet through a penalty corner conversion giving a much-needed goal to Ranchi Rays and taking the score to 2-3. In the very next minute, another penalty corner conversion by Gurjinder Singh of Kalinga Lancers allowed the home team to go up 4 goals to 2 marking the end of the third quarter.
In the fourth aquarter, both the teams battled a tough fight between the sticks in order to restrict the opponent to score further goals. To give the team the required lead, Ashley Jackson smacked yet another goal through a penalty corner in the 50th minute to extend the team’s advantage to 4-3.
Just when Ranchi Rays was trying to get a good control of the game, Kalinga Lancers got charged up and scored a field goal in the 58th minute which came through the stick of Mandeep Antil. And to conclude on a winning note Amir Mohd Khan gave a splendid 60th minute goal to Kalinga Lancers who finally emerged as the winners of the first match with a score of 6-3 of the Hero Hockey India League 2015.
Speaking on the first win Kalinga Lancers’ Coach Jude Felix said, “Starting the Hero Hockey India League with a win is very motivating for us. We are happy with this result and the win shows our preparedness for the game since we really worked hard in order to post a good game of hockey today. We continued with our strategies and played steady in the last quarter. We continued with the strategies that we planned and played steady in the last quarter. The team played extremely well and henceforth we have to sustain this form to win more matches.”
Speaking post the match, Kalinga Lancers’ Captain and the Man of the Match said, “It’s a very good feeling to start the league with a great win. The team played very well and we enjoyed the match thoroughly. We are now very happy and emotional at the same time for our first win. Now our main job is to maintain this momentum and continue this form with our passion for hockey. We played as per our Coach’s planning and we managed to implement our strategies on ground. We successfully converted our opportunities in goals and started the league with a positive note.”
Speaking on the team’s performance Ranchi Rays’ Coach Harendra Singh said, “Our performance was good however we lost the match. It’s a new team and new management so we need some time to adjust with them. We are working on the team combination as there are many junior and senior players and I am it will get better in coming matches. We made few mistakes and failed to implement our strategies in few areas which we will rectify and come in better shape in next matches.”
Hero Goal of the Match- Aamir Khan (Kalinga Lancers).
Man of the Match- Vickram Kant (Kalinga Lancers).
Kalinga Lancers 6 Lucas Vila (3min),Ryan Archibald (17min), Vickram Kanth (18min), Gurjinder Singh (37min), Mandeep Antil (58min), Amir Mohd Khan (60 min)
Ranchi Rays 3 Barry Middleton (14min), Ashley Jackson (36 min), Ashley Jackson (50min)
23 Jan 2015 (Lucknow) – 1500 HRS UPW V DWR
23 Jan 2015 (Mumbai) – 1900 HRS DM V JPW