Field Hockey Canada > Indian skills impress crowd, wins game

Indian skills impress crowd, wins game

October 10, 2009 | Field Hockey Canada |

Indian Skills Impress Crowd and Help to Win Close Battle

October 10, 2009

By Omar Rawji

An excited crowd assembled at the University of Victoria on Friday evening hoping to see a level of field hockey skill not often witnessed on Canadian soil, and they did not leave disappointed.  India showed flashes of brilliance during game one of the much anticipated 7 Test Super Series; with crisp passes and skilled stick work they dazzled the fans and won with a close 2-0 score.

Though the Indian players had flair, the match was not lopsided and Canada created many chances themselves.  Just four minutes in, veteran Rob Short created a turnover that led to a quick three on two.  Philip Wright ended up with the ball on the right wing, but was tackled before taking a shot.  India controlled most of the play in the first half, but the Canadian defense acquitted themselves well, limiting India to very few quality scoring chances.

“I felt good about our deep defense, but not so much structurally,” said Canadian Head Coach Alan Brahmst following the match.  Supporting that claim, Ken Pereira, in the 25th minute of the first half made a calm goal line clearance that kept the game tied at zero.  Unfortunately, it was a rare defensive breakdown that cost Canada two minutes later, as Tushar Khandker scored for India, putting them ahead by one.

On the error, defenseman Wayne Fernandez said, “That’s the way the game goes, you make one mistake and any good team is going to capitalize.”

After making some halftime adjustments, Canada came out attacking in the second half, and in the 51st minute they were finally awarded with the game’s first penalty corner.  Alas, on an uncharacteristic miss, Ken Pereira shot the ball over the crossbar.  Seven minutes later, Pereira would make up for it by drawing another penalty corner opportunity.  This time, Rob Short mishandled the option play.  The game would have been a different story had they scored on one of the two chances, according to coach Brahmst.

“That’s a couple of opportunities to make it one-all and that would change the game, right?” Still, he remains optimistic that future chances will be capitalized on. “Corners are our strength and we’ll get more.”

With only five minutes remaining in the match, Canada finally gave up their first penalty corner, and India showed the home team that they better not give up many more going forward.  Everyone on the field and in the stands knew that Sandip Singh was going to go for the shot and yet his attempt was completely unstoppable

“Best drag flick in the world,” proclaimed his teammate Bharat Chhikara, who had the honour of stopping the ball for team captain, Singh, on the play. 

With additional reinforcements in Scott Tupper and Connor Grimes arriving in the upcoming days for Canada, the team looks forward to turning the tables on India as the series continues.