Playing for the third position, Delhi Waveriders and Uttar Pradesh Wizards met in the third place playoff match of the Hero Hockey India League 2015. Having missed the Finale berth, both the teams were determined to win and claim the position in the League. With the scores locked at 1-1 the second half was the decider session for both the teams. It was Delhi Waveriders who successfully kept the pressure on the opponents and won the match 2-1, taking home Rs. 75,00,000.
Eminent dignitaries Rajeev Shukla, Member of Parliament and Cam Vale, Hockey Australia seen enjoying the tough tussle between both the teams for the win.
Getting into their business side of the field, Uttar Pradesh Wizards were on the attack immediately as the match started, but the defence of Delhi Waveriders were more determined and cleared the danger. Delhi Waveriders earning their first penalty corner in the sixth minute missed converting, but Rupinder Pal Singh counter attacked by entering the D and scored a brilliant field goal, giving Delhi Waveriders their first goal in the match. Seconds left for the first quarter to end, Bob de Voogd standing in D got a clean pass but missed hitting the ball completely, giving the Delhi defenders a chance to save again for the team.
Right into the second quarter a back hand stroke by Nikkin Thimmaiah in the 18th minute helped UPW to equalize the game. With both teams attacking and trying to create openings and a chance to capitalize, the session did not yield any further goals leaving the second half scores locked at 1-1.
Three minutes into the third quarter Delhi Waveriders earned another penalty corner. Opting for a variation Andrew Hayward passed the ball to Rupindre Pal Singh who hit the ball towards the nets but was cleared by the defence. Next minute again Delhi got one more penalty corner to their name but this time Rupinder hit wide of the goal. In its bid to double their score, Delhi Waveriders just seconds away for the quarter to end, saw Akashdeep Singh making a desperate attempt to put the ball past the Uttar Pradesh goalie, but Sreejesh saved and Talwinder Singh counter attacked and tried to convert but Sreejesh was too good for him too and saved for the second consecutive time. The third quarter ended goalless with the scores still reading 1-1.
Delhi Waveriders in the last quarter finally took one up in the game. 50th minute and it was Talwinder Singh who passed the ball to Simon Child standing in the D. He saw Yuvraj Walmiki having a clear chance to put the ball in the nets and passed him the ball. Walmiki on his part, deflected it easily in the nets. With the score 2-1, Uttar Pradesh saw the game slipping from their hands and they increased the tempo of their attack in a bid to equalize the game again. But Delhi Waveriders high on confidence kept the Wizards at bay by not allowing them to score. With 2-1 on the board, Delhi Waveriders won the match and settled for the third position in the Hero Hockey India League 2015 and took home a prize money of Rs, 75,00,000 lacs.
Speaking post the match, Man of the Match, PR Sreejesh, UP Wizards said “The team played well today but missed a couple of matches which costed us the game. Overall the tournament was good for us but we could not end it well”.
Post the match, Cedric D’Souza, Head Coach, Delhi Waveriders, said “The tournament ends only once the last match has been played. We lost the semi final match against a better team who converted many of their opportunities into goals. The game is all about control and I am glad that we did better with our control in the game today. I had asked the boys to play as a unit and enjoy the game as this is the last game that we were playing and I am happy we ended the League with a win“
Hero Goal of the Match Award – Nikkin Thimmaiah
Man of the Match –P R Sreejesh