Hockey India League 2017: SV Sunil stars in Jaypee Punjab Warriors' maiden win
Defending champions Jaypee Punjab Warriors opened their account in the fifth edition of the Coal India Hockey India League with an incredible 7-0 win against Ranchi Rays here on Wednesday. It was Mink Van Der Weerden (25'), SV Sunil (26' and 34'), Jake Whetton (43') who ensured their team walked away with five points.
Played in front of a vocal crowd there was no doubt that this clash was going to be played with pace and skill and the teams didn't disappoint. They both raced out of the blocks at a frenetic pace, attacking each other constantly, but it was the visitors who dominated today.
Playing only their second game in the season, the defending Champions were eager for a win and played an inspired game after losing to Dabang Mumbai in their first outing. Though they missed an early chance to take the lead from a field goal in the first quarter, Nithin Thimmaiah couldn’t quite find the target after a good assist by SV Sunil.
But they made up for the fumble when they opened their tally with a splendid penalty corner converted by Mink Van Der Weerden in the 25th minute. It was skipper Sardar Singh’s near-perfect injection that was improvised by Weerden finding the left pocket beating in-form Ranchi Rays keeper Tyler Lovell.
Almost immediately, Jaypee Punjab Warriors forward SV Sunil, known for his lightning speed on the turf, took the defending champions’ lead to a strong 3-0 with a pulsating field goal. The Coorg lad came up with a class act when Jake Whetton and he worked a brilliant combination to penetrate the circle and fetch a superb goal in the 26th minute.
Returning from the ten-minute break at half-time, the visitors didn’t take too long to put pressure on Ranchi Rays with yet another field goal taking their lead to a comfortable 5-0. It was SV Sunil who struck again, stunning the home crowd, with an unconventional goal in the 34th minute. A back-hander from Sardar Singh aimed at the post, after he received a perfect pass by Simon Orchard, was deflected into the goal off Sunil’s stick.
Ranchi Rays, on the other hand, struggled to convert the chances they earned with several forays into the circle.
Jaypee Punjab Warriors’ forward line continued to dominate the third quarter and this time it was Jake Whetton, after a brilliant assist by Satbir Singh, who pumped in another field goal taking their lead to a formidable 7-0.
The final quarter witnessed the visitors make unnecessary fouls that saw two of their players shown green cards and in-turn won Ranchi Rays two successive penalty corners. Ranchi Rays’ desperate attempts to convert the PC went in vain.
The home team, at this juncture, seemed like they missed the services of German drag flicker Christopher Ruhr, who sat out due to ill health. Coach Harendra Singh would not be a happy man with his team’s inability to convert the several PCs won by them and this perhaps cost them the match.
SV Sunil from Jaypee Punjab Warriors was awarded a prize money of Rs 50,000 for scoring the Coal India Goal of the Match from Shri Arbind Prasad, Chief Vigilance Officer, Central Coalfields Limited.
Armaan Qureshi of Jaypee Punjab Warriors won a prize of Rs 25,000 for being the Hero Young Achiever of the Match from Olympian Mr. Sylvanus Dung Dung.
The Airtel Most Entertaining Player of the Match was awarded to Jake Whetton of Jaypee Punjab Warriors that came with a prize money of Rs 25,000 and presented by Shri Saryu Rai - Honourable Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Food, Public Distribution and Consumer Affairs - Government of Jharkhand.
SV Sunil of Jaypee Punjab Warriors was declared the Man of the Match and was awarded a prize money of Rs 50,000 by Mr NK Pal, Assistant Director, SICCL.
On 2 February 2017, Ranchi Rays will take on Dabang Mumbai in Ranchi at 1900 hrs.