Hong Kong—Destiny can be a cruel mistress as Singh Sahba Sports Club-A (SSSC-A) can attest as they had learned the hard way when they conceded the Holland Cup to Punjab-A on a 5-2 note in an all Premier League final at King’s Park on Sunday.
Played before a near capacity crowd at the Wiley Road venue, the many fans attending, regardless of their club affiliation were treated to an entertaining hockey feast as non-stop action kept those assembled riveted to their seats as the many goals flowed.
SSSC convener, Johnny Johor accepted the day’s result ‘matter of factly’ with a shrug of his shoulders, added with a smile.
“I am very proud of my players today,” he said, after his club collected their runners-up medal and were expecting a treble after collecting the earlier in the season Guru Nanak (one-day tournament) and the Premier League crowns.
“We came to King’s Park expecting a hard fight for the Holland Cup and Punjab deserving did just that,” Johor said.
He was especially proud of his players who had to fight back from a 2-0 half-time deficit to come within a whisker of snatching the Cup away from Punjab.
“It was top class action on both sides and I applaud Punjab as they are undoubtedly the best team in Hong Kong at the moment and we did our best to try and wrest the Cup from them,” he added, especially as SSSC were reduced to 10 players for an off-the ball fracas, two minutes into the second half and maybe looking at further disciplinary action.
The cup was expected to be the icing to SSSC’s season as the club had created its own blend of history after winning league crowns in three divisions through their B and C teams who also gained promotion.
Add their A-team lifting the Premier title and their C-team collecting the Plate in the Guru Nanak Cup to make it eight pieces of silverware, the best results for the club to add to their trophy case.
While their B-team won Sunday’s Hong Kong Hockey Association (HKHA) Plate their C-team finished runners-up to Nav Bharat A in a nail-biting 4-4 finish which was then decided on a golden goal for a final 4-5 result.
“At least the fans were truly entertained today,” said Johor, who said he expected his side to go on the town to celebrate their day, despite the day’s defeat.
“We play hard on the pitch and we enjoy ourselves equally off it,” he said, conceding the side felt the absence of captain and fullback Mohammad Iman, who is away on international duty for Pakistan.
Then there was the loss of Suliman, who received a red card for an off-the-ball incident, which Johor deemed as slightly harsh but may have been the game’s turning point.
“It deserved to be a yellow but red was too harsh,” he said.
For Punjab, the victory was much needed consolation after their third-place finish in the Premier League while they can add defender Aleem Mohammad Bilal’s name to their club mantel for his 29 goal tally for the season’s top marksman award, which he received with his Cup winning medal.
SSSC-C took honours with their victory over KNS-B for the HKHA Plate and Rhoba took home the Bowl with their win over KNS-D.
Meanwhile in the women’s Cup action, Hong Kong Football Club-A collected another league double, a back-to-back result as they beat Valley A by a 6-2 margin after holding onto a 2-0 halftime lead in the women’s league.
Eddie So is a freelance photographer and reporter with more than 25 years of journalism experience in Hong Kong.