Ranchi Rays’ Captain Ashley Jackson lead from front to beat Kalinga Lancers by 4-0 at Ranchi in the Hero Hockey India League 2015. The English drag flicker specialist, aka David Beckham of Hockey, scored first hattrick of the season in the revenge of their defeat at Bhubaneswar by 6-3 in the opening game.
A mammoth effort by the men in red and a momentous show by Captain Ashley Jackson helps Ranchi Rays move to the second place in the points table. With today’s hattrick Ashley Jackson also became the highest goal scorer of the seaon with six goals to his personal tally.
The first quarter of the match saw both Ranchi Rays and Kalinga Lancers playing an attacking game from the very beginning of the match as the circle penetration was attempted frequently by both the sides. Where, Kalinga Lancers were awarded three consecutive penalty corners within the first five minutes of the game itself. They failed to convert any and strongly felt the absence of the young penalty corner specialist Gurjinder Singh. It was the home team Ranchi Rays which opened the account when Captain Ashley Jackson made no mistake in converting it into a goal in the 11th minute, helping the team take the lead by 1-0 in the match.
In the second quarter of the match, Kalinga Lancers were seen striving to level the scores with Ranchi Rays and it was evident by their possession rate of 61 per cent as well as frequent attacks in the quarter. Ranchi Rays kept their cool as they successfully restricted Kalinga Lancers from doing any damage. With Ranchi Rays leading the match by 1-0, repeated efforts made by Kalinga Lancers to match the scores went in vain and the second quarter of the match remained goalless. The second half also saw Andrew Charter getting replaced by the Indian goalie Harjot Singh.
Ranchi Rays struck hard and managed to score three important goals in the third quarter, before Andrew Charter came back into the field to take guard at the goal post. Ranchi Rays went on to secure an early penalty corner and Captain Ashley Jackson once again pierced it into the opponent’s goal, taking the lead to 2-0 in the 32nd minute of the match. An astonishing tackle and run by Ranchi Rays’ Mandeep Singh helped teammate Nick Wilson to fire in an equally magnificent field goal in the 34th minute and took the lead further ahead to 3-0 for Ranchi Rays. Ashley Jackson bagged a hat-trick in the match, as he successfully converted his third penalty corner in the 41st minute of the match and added one more goal to the total of Ranchi Rays, making it 4-0 by the end of the third quarter.
Kalinga Lancers were seen struggling to score their first goal of the match in the fourth quarter as well but Ranchi Rays did not allow the visiting team to do so. Though Kalinga Lancers managed to secure a penalty corner opportunity with only seven minutes remaining on the clock, they failed to convert it into a goal and their only hope to open their goal account also fell short. With a lead of 4-0 in the match Ranchi Rays successfully avenged their defeat against Kalinga Lancers in the opening match of the Hero Hockey India League 2015.
Man of the Match for the day and Captain for the Ranchi Rays, Ashely Jackson said, “It doesn’t matter being the top goal scorer. What matters is the win and the way we played today. We have a good pool of talented players in this team and its easy playing in this team which helps take out your full potential. From Birendra Lakra to Barry Middleton, Kothajit Singh, Mandeep Singh, Nick Wilson everyone is very talented. We managed to convert the penalty corners today which helped us to win. We are improving match by match and will continue to work on our team combination and come back strong. The League is still open and we will work on ourselves to keep improving.”
Speaking on the 5th consecutive loss, Jude Felix, Head Coach, Kalinga Lancers said, “Ranchi Rays played better than us today and we missed out on all the penalty corners and even failed to convert many opportunities into goals. We are disappointed but not de-motivated. We will work on our weaknesses and will come back into the League.”
Hero Goal of the Match – Ashley Jackson (Ranchi Rays)
Man of the Match – Ashley Jackson (Ranchi Rays)