Ranchi Rays emerged the Champions of Hero Hockey India League 2015 with a 3-2 win in shoot-out over Jaypee Punjab Warriors in the grand finale after coming back twice to keep scores level at 2-2 in regulation time at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, New Delhi. Earlier in the evening, Delhi Waveriders defeated Uttar Pradesh Wizards by 2-1 to finish 3rd in the league.
The Grand Finale of Hero Hockey India League 2015 witnessed the presence of many eminent dignitaries. Arun Jaitley, Member Governing Council, Hero Hockey India League and Minister of Finance, Minister of Corporate Affairs and Minister of Information and Broadcasting of India, Sarbananda Sonowal, Minister of Youth Affairs & Sports, Rajeev Mehta, Secretary General, IOA, Jan Albers, President of the Royal Dutch Hockey and Mohd Mushtaque Ahmad, Secreatary General, Hockey India.Hero Hockey India League 2015 Awards:
- Winners 2015 (Team Award) Rs 2.50 Crores and Trophy Ranchi Rays
- Runner Up 2015 (Team Award) Rs 1.25 Crores Jaypee Punjab Warriors
- Third Place 2015 (Team Award) Rs 75.00 Lakhs Delhi Waveriders
- Hero Most Valuable Player of the Tournament (Individual Award) Rs 25.00 Lakhs and Trophy Ashley Jackson (Ranchi Rays)
- Ponty Chadha Upcoming Player of the Tournament (Individual Award) Rs 20.00 Lakhs and Trophy Harmanpreet Singh (Dabang Mumbai)
- Dhruv Batra Motivator of the Tournament (Individual Award) Rs 20.00 Lakhs and Trophy PR Sreejesh (UP Wizards)
- Airtel Maximum Goals of the Tournament (Team Award) Rs 10.00 Lakhs and Trophy Jaypee Punjab Warriors
- Star Sports Fair Play (Team Award) Trophy Uttar Pradesh Wizards
Ranchi Rays rode on goalkeeper Lovell Tyler’s brilliant show under the bar to earn a hard-fought 3-2 win over Jaypee Punjab Warriors in the shoot-out after the two teams ended the regulation time locked at 2-2.
Playing without Captain Jamie Dwyer, Jaypee Punjab Warriors gave a tough fight to Ranchi Rays before the latter came out winners for the Hero Hockey India League 2015.
The first half of the Finale match witnessed the defence of both the teams winning over the attack of the opponents as each was determined to avert every danger and not allow the other to have the better of them. Trying to convert the chances both the teams were seen continuously trying to put pressure on each other but the scorecard was left untouched in the entire two sessions and the second half score read 0-0.
In the 19th minute Jaypee Punjab Warriors finally earned the first penalty corner of the game and Sandeep Singh was rearing to go. While he was bang on, Lovell Tyler made a one handed save and cleared the ball from the D. Same minute Malak Singh from the right flank hit hard at the D but unfortunately the ball did not find any of the Jaypee player to deflect it to the nets. 39th minute and a cross from Jake Whetton to Kieran Govers in the D was slapped into the nets and Lovell Tyler just could see the ball passing between his legs. In the 42nd minute Ranchi Rays looking at equalizing got their first penalty corner and all eyes were on Ashley Jackson to convert the opportunity. While Ashely was on target but Jaap Stockmann saved and Stanley Minz scored on the counter attack giving his team the much required equalizer goal. The third quarter ended with 1-1 on the board.
Right into the fourth quarter, Ranchi Rays trying to put pressure on Jaypee Punjab Warriors got another penalty corner to their name but this time Jaap Stockmann did no mistake in averting the danger. Satbir Singh making a solo run towards the D with the defender behind him was stopped by Lovell and in the process Jaypee Punjab Warriors got a penalty corner in the 56th minute. Christopher Ciriello taking the flick made no mistake in finding the nets and took the score to 2-1. Next minute Ranchi Rays attacked and scored the equalizer goal as Barry Middleton put the ball past Jaap Stockmann. With the scores tied 2-2 it was game on and ensuring a nail biting finish to the Hero Hockey India League 2015. Three minutes left for the game to end Jaypee Punjab Warriors earned a penalty corner, but Robert Hammond could not take the ball cleanly and giving away the chance to take the lead in the game. Same minute Jaypee Punjab Warriors having another penalty corner in their name was saved brilliantly by Lovell Tyler. With the scores tied at 2-2 at the end of regulation time the game entered the shoot-out phase.
In the shoot-out, Jaypee Punjab Warriors failed to get past an agile Lovell Tyler in the very first attempt when Simon Orchard failed to convert. While Christopher Ciriello and Dharamvir Singh scored easily in the next two attempts, SV Sunil and Robert Hammond’s consecutive misses allowed Ranchi Rays to win and lift the glittering trophy.
With the win Ranchi Rays takes home Rs. 2.50 crore, while Jaypee Punjab Warriors will pocket Rs. 1.25 crore for finishing in the second position.
Speaking post the match a very happy Harendra Singh, Head Coach, Ranchi Rays said, “The team had good unity and combination that led us to this victory. Anytime there was confusion we came together to sort it and better ourselves. Lovell Tyler with his experience has got us here today and helped us lift the trophy today. The boys followed the C formula which is being Cool, Calm and Competitive that was showcased in all our matches”.
Speaking post the match, Head Coach for Jaypee Punjab Warriors, Barry Dancer said, “We did not play our best hockey in the first half, resulting in this disappointing loss. Our game has potency but consistency was a problem. We led the tournament from the early stages as we played a strong game throughout but did not keep up to the mark today as compared to our run up to the Finale today.“
Hero Goal of the Match Award – Barry Middleton (Ranchi Rays)
Man of the Match – Tyler Lovell (Ranchi Rays)