With only three matches now remaining to be played in the Hong Kong Hockey Association Premier League 2012-2013 for both men and women, last week’s games were highly significant.
The key men’s matches played on Sunday Feb 24 were Khalsa-A against SSSC-A and HKFC-A against Pak-A—with a lot at stake, both were highly charged affairs. The result of the Valley-A against Punjab-A game played at Happy Valley ground was also important to the league standings.
Khalsa-A vs SSSC-A
The Khalsa-SSSC match at King’s Park was strongly contested right from the onset of the match with a great deal of crowd involvement. There was aggressive hitting of the ball by both sides, although Khalsa-A played a more skilful and structured game.
Many of the SSSC-A long passes went astray and frustration ensued. There was some sturdy play by some players and several green (2-minute suspension) cards were issued—at one stage in the match SSSC-A was down to nine players on the pitch.
A hard hit ball flew in the air and hit Khalsa forward, Ahmed Ewis, over the eyebrow causing a 2-inch gash that caused him to leave the field for bandaging. Although he stayed at the venue for the rest of the game, he did not take much further part in the proceedings on the pitch—he later attended hospital where he had 20 stitches put in to close the wound.
SSSC scored first, but Khalsa equalised quickly and then scored a second from a penalty corner with 25 minutes left in the first half. The score remained at 2-1 until mid-way through the second half, when Khalsa added to the score with two further goals in the last 10 minutes of the game.
Gurcharan Singh explained to The Epoch Times post-match that it is always difficult to prepare Khalsa for matches against SSSC.
“The game went according to our plan, the last nights we have been training all these tactics. It is always unpredictable these derby games with Singh Sabha and until the last minute the score cannot be predicted.
“In the first half the game was very tense and we were not controlling the midfield properly. The second half, after discussing with the kids, we played much better and finished the game. We are on the biggest commanding position with three games to go we have a four point lead and this is a very sweet victory for Khalsa,” he explained.
Goal scorers for Khalsa were, Inderpal Singh (2), Ahmed Ewis, Harry Bal, Jasminder Singh and Arshad Muhammed, but once again their goalkeeper Jaswinder “Bomb” Singh put in a tremendous performance to keep SSSC-A from scoring more than one goal.
HKFC-A vs Pak-A
Following their bad experience when playing against Valley-A the previous week, Pak-A again felt aggrieved over some umpiring decisions in this match against the hosting HKFC.
All was well until shortly before half time when sticks were hooked between two players and neither wanted to give way. Both players were given a green card requiring two minutes suspension.
Ishtiaq Ahmed continued complaining to the umpire and received a green card also. This heated the tempers of players on both sides, but the awarding of a penalty corner to HKFC just on half-time, lit the fuse.
Pak-A disputed the decision with great vigour and because the decision was not changed, all of the team left the field. The required number of defenders did eventually come back onto the pitch to allow the short corner to be taken, but the Pak-A goalie did not take part. HKFC-A scored from that incident, making the score 3-1 to HKFC-A at half time.
There was a tense start to the second half when Pak-A only had eight players, but soon the others joined in and things settled down to normal play. In the end, Pak-A went down to HKFC 6-2.
In the other matches, Valley-A lost to Punjab-A 4-6, Shaheen beat Elite 0-4 and KCC-A won their match against HKFC-B 6-0.
The KCC-A match against HKFC-B on Saturday Feb 23 at HKFC ground was the most interesting with a close match continuing until late into the second half. HKFC-B took the lead early in the game and after an under strength KCC-A pulled level, no one could make a decisive break. HKFC-B were playing good hockey, but KCC-A finally got the break with about 10 minutes of the game left and then added another goal close to the whistle to make the game safe at 3-1.
HKFC-A beat Club de Recreio-A 7-0 and Valley-A overcame Shaheen-A 7-1.
Next week’s clash between HKFC-A and SSSC-A at the HKFC will be the star men’s match. Punjab-A and Khalsa-A both have easier games on paper, while Valley-A should be strong enough to win the result against HKFC-B, although the Club B side has generally played better this season.
The pick of the women’s matches to be played is the Valley-A vs HKFC-A to be played at Happy Valley tonight Feb 28.
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