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Lanco Series – Hockey’s little known format

The days of dreams were over and so the most anticipated moments for the past four years. History was made, records have been broken, humiliation has seen its extremity, and happiness has never got its fulfillment. The kookaburras sounded bronze; the Dutch wore a silver lining; and the Germans coated their sticks with gold. In contrast, we Indians bent our heads in dismay and disappointment being recorded in our history books with the wooden spoon.  As the days went by, and the hooter blew off, the decline continued. How disgusting and humiliating!

Well, we are not pessimists to live in the darkness of defeat and frustration of failure. The sun has risen, bringing fresh hope and strength for us, to lift Indian Hockey from its shambles and disarray. With a newly chosen leader, and his deputy, the team is flying to Perth, for a new tournament in a new format. Taken aback by the word new format? As cricket has Test, ODI, and T20, Hockey does have a different format with a different set of keystones.  Come Perth this November and we will watch Hockey in a new avatar!

The Lanco International Super series Hockey or the ‘Hockey 9 s’ as it is called, involves 9 players per  side, with two 15 min halves and one player sticking to the attacking half all times. Substitution is allowed all time except for the time when a corner or a penalty corner is completely taken. The goal post is widened by a meter, the penalty shootout is taken from the 23 meter line opposite the goal and one can surely scan the speed and acceleration encouraging more lively audience. Well, going through the above lines, one might be curious about the corners, the penalty shootouts, the penalty corners and many other aspects. Here’s a briefing on the rules as per the FIH guidelines.

Taking a corner:

Four (4) attackers vs. three (3) defenders including the goalkeeper or a player with goalkeeping privileges if there is one. The ball is placed on the side-line 5 meters in from the corner flag on the same side of the field the ball goes over the back-line on. A goal cannot be scored until the ball has first traveled outside the attacking 23 meter line.

The corner is completed when:

A goal is scored. A free hit is awarded to the defending team. The ball is played over the back-line and a corner or penalty corner is not awarded. A defender commits an offence which does not result in a corner or penalty corner. Ball travels outside of the circle after the ball has entered the circle. Ball travels more than 5 meters past the attacking 23 meter line.

Penalty shootout

The defending goalkeeper starts behind their own goal line between the goal posts. The ball is placed on the nearest 23 meter line opposite the centre of the goal. The attacker starts behind the 23 meter line near the ball. The attacker scores a goal.

Taking a penalty corner

Four (4) attacker’s vs. three (3) defenders including the goalkeeper or player with goalkeeping privileges if there is one. All other remaining players start from the half line. The ball is placed on the back-line inside the circle at the 10 meters mark from the goal-post on whichever side of the goal the attacking team prefers. If the attacking team has not commenced the penalty corner within the prescribed time (25 seconds), the umpire will blow the whistle and signal a 16 yard hit. An attacker pushes or hits the ball without intentionally raising it. The three attackers in addition to the attacking player taking the hit/push-out, hands and feet not touching the ground inside the attacking 23 meter line area. No defender is permitted to be within 5 meters of the ball when the push or hit is taken. A goal cannot be scored until the ball has first travelled outside the attacking 23 meter line.

The penalty corner is completed when:             

A goal is scored. A free hit is awarded to the defending team. The ball is played over the back-line and a penalty corner is not awarded. A defender commits an offence which does not result in another penalty corner. A penalty shootout is awarded. Ball travels more than 5 meters past the attacking 23 meter line

If play is stopped because of an injury or for any other reason during the taking of a penalty corner at the end of a prolonged first or second half and a bully would otherwise be awarded, the penalty corner must be taken again.

Point allocation:

  • 0 points for a loss.
  • 1 point for each team for a draw.
  • 3 points for a win.

On an ending note, laying down the burden of doubt and defeat, we should overcome our faults to move ahead with positive energy.

The sixth sense, nay the hockey stick-sense tells me India will fit into this format. One win will boost our morale and with that will start our winning spree. We will have no regrets once we regain our past glory of hockey. I wish our team the top place in this tournament.

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