It may be early days in the tournament but the newest entrant to the Hockey India League, Kalinga Lancers looks by far the weakest side. After a 7-3 hiding in their opener against Punjab Warriors at Bhubaneshwar, they collapsed on Thursday to a 5-0 away defeat to Delhi Waveriders.
The side is obviously at a disadvantage. The Bhubaneshwar outfit doesn’t have the continuity that comes from being a season old, and didn’t have the option for bidding on any frontline Indian player, all of whom are with other teams. Coach Terry Walsh may say these factors are irrelevant, but the fact is he will be fast reassesing his side’s ability.
Unable to win, ‘learning’ has become the keyword. Walsh said: “the scorelines were disappointing today but there was lot of learnings. I know more about the team now than I did at the start of the day and much more than when we got together. We are trying various tactics and strategies. We will get better as we grow.”
Much of the Lancers game was played in reaction to moves by the opposition. It didn’t help that their strikers failed to string any move of note and their defence repeatedly conceded the ball.
The Waveriders earned a PC in the 13th minute through midfielder Timothy Drummond and Rupinderpal converted clinically. In the 21st minute Jason Wilson stole a ball at the start of an attempted Lancers attack and passed to Matt Gohdes. The latter beat a couple of defenders to shoot high past ‘keeper Harjot Singh. Lancers had the chance to reply with a couple of PCs but missed both. They would go into half time 3-0 down after Rupinderpal scored off another PC.
There would be little different in the next half. Kalinga earned another PC, which was cleared by the rusher easily. Soon after, Mujtaba got on the scoresheet through a Gurbaj Singh assist (48’) and Norris-Jones made it 5-0 minutes later.