Hockey: Rays shoot down Warriors to win dramatic Hero HIL final
- Updated: February 23, 2015
February 23, 2015: Ranchi Rays won the third Hero Hockey India League by beating Jaypee Punjab Warriors in a dramatic penalty shootout in the final in Delhi on Sunday evening.
Australian goalkeeper Lovell Tyler was named Man of the Match after the Rays won the shootout 3-2, having twice come from behind to earn a 2-2 draw in regulation time at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.
Head coach Harendra Singh said: “The team had good unity and combination, and that led us to this victory. Lovell Tyler with his experience has got us here and helped us lift the trophy, while the boys followed the C formula, which is being Cool, Calm and Competitive, and that was showcased in all our matches”.
The Warriors, playing without captain Jamie Dwyer, had their first effort through Sandeep Singh from a 19th-minute penalty corner, but Tyler made a one-handed save and cleared the ball from the area.
After a goalless first two quarters, the Warriors eventually took the lead in the 39th minute when Australia international Kieran Govers converted a cross from compatriot Jake Whetton, before India’s own Stanli Minz equalised within three minutes.
The Warriors made it 2-1 in the 56th minute when Australia star Chris Ciriello flicked home a penalty corner, after Satbir Singh was fouled in the area. However, the Rays again quickly equalised, with England captain Barry Middleton netting past Dutch keeper Jaap Stockmann in the following minute.
The Warriors had a late chance to secure victory through a penalty corner three minutes from time, but Robert Hammond, another Aussie international, could not take the ball cleanly, while Tyler brilliantly saved another penalty corner soon after.
In the shootout, the Warriors’ Simon Orchard failed to get past an agile Tyler with his opening effort. Ciriello and Dharamvir Singh scored their attempts before SV Sunil and Robert Hammond both missed as the Rays won sealed the victory. The Rays collected another award when England international Ashley Jackson was named Hero Most Valuable Player of the Tournament.
The Warriors finished as the tournament’s top scorers, but that was of little consolation to head coach Barry Dancer.
“We did not play our best hockey in the first half and we’re disappointed to lose,” said Dancer, a former Australia international. “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 in the final, as compared to our run-up.”
Delhi Waveriders beat Uttar Pradesh Wizards 2-1 in the third-place playoff.
Source: Hockey India (hockeyindia.org); Editing by SportAsia