Ranchi Rays pull off first Hockey India League victory against Uttar Pradesh Wizards
Friday, 22 January 2016, Lucknow: Defending champions Ranchi Rays played like champions today to edge past Uttar Pradesh Wizards, registering their first win in the 4th Coal India Hockey India League. The match which was being played under lights for the first time ever at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium, Lucknow saw the visitors come from behind to defeat hosts Uttar Pradesh Wizards 4-2. The defending champions who lost out in the initial part of the game against an attacking Uttar Pradesh Wizards, raised their game in the second half to strike back to back goals showcasing their class.
The match began with the hosts pressing hard to score from the first minute, and their attacking mode was duly rewarded through a spectacular field goal in the 4th minute from Ramandeep Singh, giving the home team an early lead of 2-0 in the game. The game there after saw the visitors playing an attacking game, but some beautiful saves from Uttar Pradesh Wizards Goalkeeper PR Sreejesh, ensured the home team maintained their lead right through the first half.
The third quarter began with Uttar Pradesh Wizards trying hard to extend their lead but a strong defence line of the Ranchi Rays foiled the home team’s efforts. Ranchi Rays on the other hand continued to penetrate into the Uttar Pradesh Wizards circle and their constant attacks yielded results through a penalty corner conversion in the 45th minute through Sarvanjit Singh, giving the visitors a chance to comeback in the game. The fourth quarter began with Uttar Pradesh Wizards leading 2-1, but an exceptional field goal in the 48th minute through Ranchi Rays Captain Ashley Jackson ensured the defending champions took a much needed lead of 3-2 in a crucial juncture of the game. The visitors there after played like champions denying the home team any opportunity to score, but continued penetrating into the Wizards circle. Their efforts saw results in the final moments of the game where Ashley Jackson scored for the second time through a penalty corner ensuring a well fought win of 4-2 for the defending Champions.
The Coal India Goal of the Match award of INR 50,000 was presented by Shri R Mohandas, Director (P & IR), Coal India Limited, to Ashley Jackson of Ranchi Rays, while Akashdeep Singh from Uttar Pradesh Wizards won the Most Entertaining Player of the Match award which was presented by Mr. J Bagachi, Chief Manager, Finance, Coal India Limited. Ranchi Rays Captain Ashley Jackson walked away with the Man of the Match award of INR 50,000 while his team mate Simranjeet Singh won the INR 25,000 Hero Emerging Player of the Match award.
The next match of the 4th Coal India Hockey India League will played between the Uttar Pradesh Wizards and Delhi Waveriders at the Major Dhyanchand Stadium, Lucknow on 23rd January, 2016. The six team annual franchise based hockey league, the flagship event of Hockey India - the apex body governing the sport in the country and sanctioned by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) is being played across six venues in India from 18th January - 21st February 2016.