Uttar Pradesh Wizards trounced Kalinga Lancers 5-1 to register their first win in the third edition of the Hero Hockey India League (HIL) in Lucknow on Thursday.
VR Raghunath (5th minute) opened the scoring for UP Wizards from a penalty corner, while the other four goals came through field efforts in the last 10 minutes of the game from the sticks of SK Uthappa (53rd), Bob de Voogd (54th), skipper Wouter Jolie (55th) and Jeroen Hertzberger (60th). For Lancers Russel Ford scored the consolation goal in the 58th minute.
UP Wizards have now climbed to the third spot in the standings with eight points from one win, one loss and one defeat while the Lancers are just below with six points.
It took the Wizards just five minutes to break the deadlock when Raghunath sounded the board with a fierce dragflick past Lancers goalkeeper Andrew Charter from their first penalty corner.
Thereafter both the teams created a number of scoring chances in the second and third quarter, but none could find the final touch.
But the match turned head on in the fourth and final quarter when UP Wizards struck thrice within three minutes to take control of the game.
The Lancers managed to pull one back two minutes from the hooter through Ford but UP Wizards restored their lead in the final minute when Hertzberger flawlessly converted a penalty stroke.
UP Wizards coach Roelant Oltmans was ecstatic after the victory.
“It was really necessary for us to win the match and I am glad that we succeeded in doing so. The team had a new captain in this match that turned out to be fruitful and I will keep rotating the captains in the future matches as well. This strategy seems to be working for us,” he said.
Lancers coach Jude Felix termed his team’s performance as “disappointing”.
“It was a very disappointing performance. We were in there till the third quarter of the match but the fourth quarter changed the entire game,” he said.
Knowles gets 1-match suspension
Jaypee Punjab Warriors will be without the services of its experienced midfielder Mark Knowles against Delhi Waveriders on Friday after the Australian was handed a one-match suspension for breaching the Hero Hockey India League (HIL) Code of Conduct.
The Disciplinary Committee of HIL last night met to discuss the conduct of Knowles during his team’s match against Uttar Pradesh Wizards on Monday and found him guilty of breaching the Code of Conduct.
According to a statement from the orgainsers, after analysing video and audio recordings of that match the disciplinary committee found Knowles guilty of using abusive language against an opponent player.