HERO HIL: Warriors need some magic to claim third spot from Wizards


UP Wizards during the warmup session at Ranchi.

Ranchi, February 10, 2013:Jaypee Punjab Warriors would seek to set the record straight and reclaim their third spot in the Hero Hockey India League when they take on Uttar Pradesh Wizards in the play off at the Birsa Munda Astroturf Hockey Stadium on Sunday.

The Wizards had piped the Warriors to the third spot in league standings on the last day of the round-robin stage, thereby setting them a steep task of overpowering league leaders Delhi Waveriders in the semi-final encounter.

The Waveriders handed the Warriors their fourth head-to-head defeat in the semifinal, while the Wizards also failed to make the most of the opportunity and went down against Ranchi Rhinos in the other last four encounters.

There is hardly anything to choose between the two teams and their head-to-head record is also testimony to that fact. Both teams won a game each in the league stage with the third finishing in a 2-2 draw.

However, after their last league encounter that the Warriors won, they lost their momentum and allowed the Wizards to claw back into the tournament.

The Warriors biggest worry throughout the tournament has been the absence of a strong penalty corner specialist and that has allowed the teams to concede short corners whenever in danger.

The Wizards are also likely to employ similar tactics because the Warriors have too many good midfielders and strikers to take advantage of any opportunity to score a field goal.

On the other hands, the Wizards are dependent on their skipper and penalty corner specialist V R Raghunath to provide them a break-through.

Uttar Pradesh Wizards coach Roelant Oltmans said that their team will improve their game after a disappointing defeat against Ranchi Rhinos in Semi-Final yesterday. “We will raise your game. We missed many chances in yesterday’s match and we should not repeat our mistakes. We have to improve our performance for this match,” coach Oltmans at the post-match press conference yesterday.

Jaypee Punjab Warriors skipper Jamie Dwyer said that they need to materialise the chances. “We played well through-out the tournament but in semis, we missed good chances of scoring goals. For this match, we will be more careful and try our best to not to miss good chances,” he added.

The Hero Hockey India League is organised by Hockey India with official sanction from the International Hockey Federation (FIH). The inaugural season is being played from January 14 to February 10, 2013 in a home-and-away format. The five franchisee-based teams, consisting of the top hockey players from India and around the world, will compete for the prestigious trophy. Hero Motocorp Ltd. is the Title Sponsor of the league while Airtel is the Associate Sponsor. Star Sports, who is the Broadcast Partner, will be telecasting all matches live.

(Photo-caption: Jamie Dwyer during the warmup session before the 2nd semi final at Ranchi.)

(Photo-caption: JPW during the warmup session before the 2nd semi final at Ranchi.)

(Photo-caption: JPW team during their warmup session against match DWR at Ranchi before 2nd semi-final on 9th Feb 2013.)

(Photo-caption: S. Utthappa of UPW during the warmup session at Ranchi.)

(Photo-caption: VR Raghunath with his team mates during warmup session at Ranchi.)


Sunday, February 10, 2013