PHL 2005 HIGHLIGHTS

Sultans Are Champions

13/02/2005

Inderjeet Singh Chadda slammed in a brilliant winner in the fourth quarter as hosts Hyderabad Sultans defeated Sher-e-Jalandhar 2-1 in their final league match to win the inaugural Premier Hockey League in Hyderabad on Sunday.

For Sultans, Sameer Dad (20th minute) and Chadda (65th) found the mark, while Deepak Thakur (49th) scored for Sher-e-Jalandhar.

The winners, who finished with 19 points to emerge champions, took home a prize money of Rs 30 lakh and the runners up Rs 10 lakh as the inaugural edition of the event concluded today.

Sultans were followed in the points table by Sher-e-Jalandhar (14), Maratha Warriors (13), Bangalore Hi-Fliers (9) and Chennai Veerans (5).

In today's match, Sultans surged ahead into the lead after a barren first quarter when a move from the right was taken by Wasim Ahmed who put the ball in Sameer Dad's possession.

Dad dodged past two players including Baljit Singh Dhillon before driving home to draw the first blood.

Jalandhar tried hard for the equaliser, which came when Deepak Thakur, after getting a cross from Didar Singh, tapped the ball in.

With the score level at 1-1 and the match entering into the last quarter, it appeared as if the fate could be decided in extra-time. But Chaddha had other plans as with just five minutes to go he slammed one past the Jalandhar goalkeeper to seal the issue in favour of his side.

Hyderabad skipper Dilip Tirkey was injured in the first quarter and was out of rest of the match. But his absence did not hurt the hosts much since former Pakistan captain Wasim Ahmed displayed good stick work and was brilliant in the first half of the match.

The hosts built up some very good moves in the initial stage of the match and they attacked in waves with Chaddha and Dad leading from the front and Ajitesh Rai providing adequate support from the mid-field.

But all the raids could yield nothing positive in the face of some very good work by the Jalandhar deep defenders.

After the Sultans took the lead, Jalandhar stepped up their attack and pace and the hosts survived a scare when Prabhjot Singh tried his reverse hit but Vikram Pillay dived brilliantly to intercept the ball before custodian Ahmed Alam averted any further damage.

Jalandhar missed out on a good chance when Prabhjot Singh took a through ball into the circle but Thakur failed to connect it.

In the third quarter, short corner specialist Sohail Abbas failed to convert a penalty corner, much to the disappointment of the home crowd that cheered for Hyderabad throughout the match.

Sohail, however, ended as the second highest goal scorer of the competition with seven goals, one less than Len Aiyappa of Bangalore Hi-Fliers.



Warriors beat Hi-Fliers, Finish 3rd
13/02/2005

Maratha Warriors defeated Bangalore Hi-Fliers 4-3 to finish third in Tier I of the Premier Hockey League at the Gachibowli hockey stadium in Hyderabad on Saturday.

Kashif Javad (15th minute) Dhanraj Pillay (32nd), Ali Raza (52nd) and Girish Pimpale (62nd) scored for the Marathas while Len Aiyappa (43rd and 67th) and Amar Aiyamma (51st) found the mark for the Hi-fliers.

Maratha Warriors aggregated 13 points from eight matches while Hi-Fliers finished fourth with nine points.

Chennai Veerans, with five points, finished last.

Hyderabad Sultans (16 points) and Sher-e-Jalandhar (14) will battle it out for the title in the concluding match of the league on Sunday.

Kashif Javad scored from the top of the circle to put the Marathas ahead and the first quarter ended 1-0.

Dhanraj Pillai converted a penalty-corner in the second quarter to increase the lead.

It was in the latter part of the game that the Arjun Halappa-led Hi-Fliers came to their own with Len Aiyappa converting a penalty-corner and Aiyamma drawing parity.

However, Razi Ali did not make any mistake and converted from a penalty-corner before Pimpale made it 4-2 for the Warriors.

With just three minutes for the hooter Aiyappa converted another penalty- corner to reduce the margin 4-3.

The match could have ended in a draw had Halappa scored from a penalty-stroke. But his flick was well-saved by goalkeeper Baljit Singh


Shers Stay In Hunt For Title
12/02/2005

Shers kept away a fighting Chennai Veerans to beat them 2-1 and keep themselves in the hunt for a National Hockey League title.

Shers survived a little less than two quarters to beat back Veerans who almost snatched an equaliser in the dying minutes.

Shers will now face league leaders and hot favourites, Hyderabad Sultans, on Sunday, in the last league encounter which is billed as the virtual 'final' of the Premier Hockey League Tier I championship.

After taking a commanding 2-0 lead Shers allowed their opponents from Chennai to crawl back into the match with some mediocre performance.

Deepak Thakur scored from an indirect penalty corner variation set up by Baljit Dhillon in the 9th minute.

And in the 44th minute, Didar Singh made it 2-0 for Shers with a powerful waist-high drag-flick into the net from the team's third short corner.

Shers needed full three points to stay in the hunt to challenge Hyderabad Sultans who are sitting pretty with 16 points from 7 matches. Shers now have 14 points from equal number of matches and need a regulation-time win in the last match as they need all the three points. Sultans just need a draw in the regulation time. According to PHL rules, the winner will get only two points if the match is decided in the extra-time and the loser will get a point.


Veerans Down Hi-Fliers
11/02/2005

Chennai Veerans defeated Bangalore Hi Fliers 5-4 via the tie-breaker in the Premier Hockey League at the Gachibowli hockey stadium in Hyderabad on Thursday.

With the teams finishing 2-2 after regulation time and the extra-time failing to break the deadlock, the match was extended to tie-breaker.

Bimal Lakra, Sandeep Singh and Juan Escarre scored for the Veerans while only Kuhan Shangmughanatahan and Sandeep Michael could score for Bangalore Hi-Fliers as Veerans won by a 5-4 verdict.

Veerans gained two points from the match to take their tally to five from seven matches while Hi-fliers earned one point to move to nine points from seven matches.

Maratha Warriors, with eight points from seven matches, will play Hi-Fliers on Saturday. The match will decide the third and fourth places.

Veerans, who can at best finish fifth and last, will play their final match on Friday against Sher-e-Jalandhar.

Failure of floodlights stalled the game in the first half of extra-time for a few minutes.

Len Aiyappa put the Hi-fliers ahead in the third minute before skipper Arjun Halappa increased the lead in the 24th.

But Sandeep Singh scored to reduce the margin at the close of the third quarter before Ignace Tirkey scored the equalizer in the 59th minute.

The attacking tactics of Hi-Fliers paid off early on as Aiyappa scored with a scoop to give his side the lead in the third minute.

In the second quarter Hi-Fliers extended the lead following a fine move and Halappa slammed the ball into the goal, beating custodian Devesh Chauhan hands down.

The celebration in Hi-Fliers team did not last long as Sandeep Singh's drag flick found the mark and the margin was reduced just before the third quarter ended.

Ignace Tirkey ignited the field with a superb flick into the net in the 59th minute to draw parity.

Chennai skipper Ignace, Raju and Escarre made some valiant efforts in the first quarter but could not make any deep inroads and hit the mark as the Bangalore custodian Bharat Chetri was in full control under the bar.


Marathas Upset Shers 2-1

05/02/2005

Maratha Warriors rallied from a goal behind to halt the winning run of Sher-e-Jalandhar 2-1 in the Premier Hockey League Tier I match in Hyderabad on Sunday.

Viren Rasquinha-led side, which was trailing by a goal till half time scored a goal each in the next two quarters through Kasif Jawad (42nd) and Vijay Alfanso (55th) against the run of play to collect three points from the encounter.

The Warriors now have 10 points from seven outings while the Jalandhar side, which had won four of their earlier five matches, remained on 11 points from six matches and maintain their second spot.

Hyderabad Sultans lead the table with 16 points from seven matches.

Jalandhar skipper Gagan Ajit Singh drew the first blood in the 15th minute, thanks to a defensive lapse by Saqlain Mohammad.

Taking advantage of the mistake, Prabhjot Singh picked the ball outside the 25-yard line and passed it to Gagan who slammed it home to give his team the lead.

After a barren second quarter, Jawad drew parity by tapping a pass from the flanks to beat Jalandhar custodian hands down and level the score at 1-1.

Alphanso then sealed the points for his team with an opportunistic strike.

Though the honours went to the Warriors, it was the Jalandhar side which called the shots for most period in the match.

The men from north took control of the game early and dictated terms pushing the Marathas to the corner and forced as many as four penalty corners in the first corner.

But some good defending on the goal line by Pakistan international Ali Raza ensured that the Marathas kept their opponents at bay till Gagan found the net.

The Jalandhar side continued to mount pressure on the Warriors but their defence stood up to the challenge and held the aggressive attack line led by Gagan and Deepak Thakur pretty well.

It was the turn of the Maratha forwards to get into the act as Jawad found the equaliser, thereby giving the match an interesting twist.

With the PHL going into the last week, only Sher-e-Jalandhar and Hyderabad Sultans have a chance to lift the title.


Dhanraj Gives Maratha's Victory
05/02/2005

Mercurial forward Dhanraj Pillay scored the golden goal as Maratha Warriors defeated Chennai Veerans 3-2 in the Premier Hockey League match at Hyderabad on Saturday.

After the teams were locked 2-2 at regulation time, the match was extended to extra-time when Pillay deflected in the free hit from outside by Kashif Jawad for the winner.

The win gave Warriors two points while Chennai earned one point for taking the match into extra time.

Jawad gave Maratha Warriors the lead in the 25th minute while Chennai skipper Ignace Tirkey drew parity in the 32nd minute.

Sandeep Singh's 49th minute strike made the scoreline 2-1 in favour of the Veerans, but Warriors equalised through Pakistan's Ali Raza who converted a penalty corner in the 58th minute.

After a dull start, the second quarter saw Pillay and Jawad packing their experience into their game when a brilliant pass by the former was elegantly put home by the Pakistani forward.

Veerans tried hard for the equaliser and they managed to draw level just before completion of the second quarter. Ignace Tirkey shot hard from a narrow angle in the right flank and the ball caressed the pads of goalkeeper Baljit Singh before entering the cage.

The goal boosted the morale of the Veerans who took the lead when young Sandeep Singh beautifully converted a penalty corner with a powerful drag-flick.

But nine minutes later, Raza Ali too scored from a penalty corner much to the disappointment of Chennai players.

Veerans played with a new strategy and showed a lot of discipline denying Pillay and Jawad to take control of the proceedings.

In the initial stages, it appeared as if both the teams were playing without any purpose and this was evident from the way they performed.

The first quarter provided some very ordinary stuff even though both the sides made a few good moves. But they could not capitalise on them due to lack of finishing touches.

Veerans launched a good attack led by Juan Pablo Escarre and forced a penalty corner but Sandeep Singh's scoop landed on top of the box.

The men from south made some further misses with Adam Sinclair wasting a golden opportunity. Sinclair got a wonderful pass from Escarre inside the circle but failed to beat the goalkeeper.

Maratha skipper Viren Rasaquinha and Sunil Yadav were shown the yellow card for stick check while Nitin Singh and Escarre were temporaily suspended for foul play.

With today's one point, Chennai Veerans moved to three points from six matches while Maratha Warriors were on seven points from six matches as well.



Shers Whip Hi-Fliers 4-0
05/02/2005

Prabhjot Singh scored a brace as Sher-e-Jalandhar blanked Bangalore HiFliers 4-0 to keep their title aspiration alive in Tier I of the Premier Hockey League at the Gachibowli hockey complex in Hyderabad on Friday.

Sher-e-Jalandhar gained three points to move to the second spot in the league. The have 11 points from five matches.

Hosts Hyderabad Sultans have 16 points from seven matches while Banglaore Hi-fliers are almost out of contention for the title.

Dilip Thakur drew first blood in the 46th minute before Prabjot Singh (65th and 68th) swelled the lead.

Skipper Gagan Ajit Singh then provided the icing on the cake as he sounded the board in the dying moments of the game.



Veerans Upset Sultans
03/02/2005

Chennai Veerans defeated Hyderabad Sultans 7-6 in sudden-death to register their first victory in the Premier Hockey League in Hyderabad on Thursday.

The teams were locked 1-1 after regulation time. Extra-time and even the tie-breaker failed to break the deadlock as both teams scored from all their five strokes.

In sudden-death, captain Ignace Tirkey found the mark for Veerans while Avtar Singh's flick was well-stopped by Veerans custodian Devesh Chauhan.

Chennai got two points from the contest while the hosts had to be content with one for taking the match into extra-time.

In the penalty shoot-out Avatar Singh, Sohail Abbas, Vikram Pillai, Ajitesh Rai and Wasim Ahmed scored for the home team while Ignace Tirkey, Sandeep Singh, Bimal Lakra, Juan Escarre and Vivek Singh netted for Chennai Veerans.

Sandeep Singh scored with a drag flick in the second quarter to put Chennai ahead in the 33rd minute.
The India penalty-corner ace made no mistake as Adam Sinclair took the push and he flicked the ball to the top corner of the net.

But Hyderabad Sultans drew level when Sameer Dad scored a spectacular goal in the 50th minute.

Sameer, after getting the ball from Wasim Ahmed, scooped the ball to the top corner of the goal from a narrow angle to send the homes crowd in raptured.

Crowd favourite Sohail Abbas, who scored a hat-trick in the previous match against the Chennai Veerans, was off-colour today as he failed from al the three penalty-corners he took.



Sohail's Hat-trick Destroys Marathas
30/01/2005

Powered by Sohail Abbas' hat-trick, Hyderabad Sultans defeated Maratha Warriors 4-2 to post their second straight win and leap to the top of the Premier Hockey League standings with 15 points in Hyderabad on Sunday.

The genius from Pakistan sounded the board in the 17th, 34th and 40th minute and Indrajeet Singh scored the fourth goal in the 56th minute as Warriors surrendered scoring only two goals through Kashif Jawad (7th) and Shivendra Singh (46th).

It was Marathas who took the lead though Jawad but Abbas restored parity within ten minutes before the end of the first quarter. He struck again just before the close of second quarter to give the hosts in 2-1 lead. Abbas then completed his hat-trick in the third quarter to put Sultans on top at 3-1.

A penalty corner conversion by Shivendra Singh infused tempo into the game as the Warriors narrowed the gap to 2-3 but then a brilliant reverse hit by Indrajeet Singh sealed the fate of Warriors in the final quarter.

The opening goal of the match saw mercurial Dhanraj Pillay doing the spadework, which was neatly finished by Jawad collecting a brilliant pass from Sunil Yadav.

Sohail then came up with in inimitable drag flick past the Maratha custodian Baljeet Singh towards the close of the first quarter as the two teams went level 1-1 at the break.

He again struck at the end of the second quarter through another conversion and this time his powerful flick tore open the nets and scooted out as the home crowd erupted in joy.

The crowd puller, with his wife among the spectators, was in full flow much to the delight of the spectators and completed his hat-trick in the 40th minute.

A foul at the danger zone earned a penalty corner, which was neatly driven home by Shivender Singh through a crowded goalmouth raising the hopes of Maratha Warriors to make the score read 2-3.

Then came the stunning goal from Sultans. In a power packed raid into the striking zone, Indrajeet Singh took the cross from Waseem and hit it in a diagonal reverse to take the
home team to 4-2.

Earlier, Warriors began on a confident note and raided the rival citadel with the midfield and forwards working in tandem. Dhanraj was at his best and he came up with precision passes, which troubled the best of the Sultan players.

Early action at the other end saw, Maratha custodian stop two of the four drag flicks by Sohail Abbas even as Inderjeet was shown yellow card twice for obstruction.

Hyderabad Sultans have won five of their six matches to top the charts with 15 points.

Earlier, Chandigarh Dynamos lifted the Tier II title defeating Delhi Dazzlers 4-3 in sudden death in their last league match.

Chandigarh won all their eight matches to finish with 23 points and annex the trophy. The title win earned them a prize money of Rs four lakh. Delhi finished at the second spot with 19 points.



Dynamos Lift PHL Tier II
30/01/2005

Chandigarh Dynamos lifted the title in Tier II defeating Delhi Dazzlers 4-3 in sudden death in their last league match of the Premier Hockey League at the Gachibowli Stadium in Hyderabad on Sunday.

Chandigarh won all their eight matches to finish with 23 points and annex the trophy. The title win earned them a prize money of Rs four lakh. Delhi finished at the second spot with 19 points.

The match was stretched to tie-breaker after both the sides failed to score in the regulation time and the extra-time.

Amit, Raju and Gurcharan Singh scored for Delhi in tie-breaker while Chandigarh scored through Rajpal Singh, Harbajan Singh and Devinder Singh.

In another Tier II match, Imphal Rangers pipped Bengal Tigers 10-9 in sudden death.

A fast paced game marked the first quarter of the match between Chandigarh and Delhi with both the teams trying hard to take the lead.

Dynamos came close when Baljeet Singh got a pass inside the circle from Rajpal Singh, but his scoop went wide. Soon after Delhi had two hits at their rival post without any success.

Chandigarh got as many as five penalty corners in the third quarter but failed to take the lead due to some smart work by Delhi custodian Raghuvanshi.

In the last quarter, both the sides intensified their attack but failed to break the deadlock as the match went into extra-time.

Imphal Rangers and Bengal Tigers were locked 2-2 in the regulation time and the extra time yielded no results. In the tie-breaker both teams scored four goals each.

Laiba Singh and skipper Brojen Singh were the scores for the Rangers in the regulation time while Anil Ekka and Savaren Barla scored for the Bengal side.

In the penalty shoot out, Rangers scored through Benarjit Singh, Tomba Singh, Rinel Singh and Laiba Singh while Gopal Singh missed out.

Edmon Kerketta, Dabeander Ekka, Anil Ekka and Manoj Kujar beat the Imphhal custodian Herojit Singh while Arbind Kumar fumbled for the Bengal Tigers.


Sultans Beat Veerans 2-1

29/01/2005

Hyderabad Sultans overcame a fighting Chennai Veerans 2-1 in the Tier I Premier Hockey League (PHL) at the Gachibowli hockey complex in Hyderabad on Saturday.

Ajitesh Rai put Sultans ahead in the 39th minute but their joy was short lived as Adam Sinclair found the equalizer for the Chennai outfit in the very next minute.

Wasim Ahmed then produced the winner in the 47th minute as the hosts leapt to top slot in the Tier I with 12 points off five matches.

The action was packed in the third quarter with Sameer Dad sending a cross which was neatly deflected into the box by Ajitesh to draw first blood, much to the joy of the weekend holiday crowd.

Sinclair then found space on the flank for a solo run and sneaked past host captain and Indian skipper Dilip Tirkey before beating custodian Alam Ahmed to level the scores.

Ajitesh had a hand in the decisive goal as he broke through the Chennai defence to the goal and sent a cross to Wasim Ahmed. The Pakistani import had no difficulty in scoring past the Chennai goalkeeper Devesh Chauhan who was drawn forward and put Sultans to 2-1 lead.

The high voltage match also saw Sultans' custodian Alam Ahmed saving a penalty stroke hit by William Xalxo and a penalty stroke taken by Sohail Abbas being stopped by Chauhan.

Chennai Veerans went on the offensive from the outset and had more ball possession than their rivals but could not translate it into goals.

The fast paced game had seen Veerans penetrating into Sultan citadel and when the host team gained momentum Chennai players effected a counterattack to keep the up the tempo of the game.

Escarre's push from left was taken by Bimal Lakra and an obstruction at the goal mouth earned Veerans a penalty stroke.

Full back William Xalxo took the stroke and made a weak push, which was brilliantly stopped by Ahmed Alam and the first quarter ended barren.

Sultans changed their strategy in the second quarter and tried hard to penetrate the strong Chennai midfield.

The high voltage attacking game gave way to a penalty corner for Sultans and amidst a cheering crowd Sohail Abbas took the strike.

Chauhan made a daring rush and took the Pakistani ace's drag in his stomach which resulted in a free hit.

In the ensuing goal mouth melee, Ajitesh hit it in but umpire ruled it out and the second quarter ended without any result.

Escarre proved to be a constant threat but was checked by the defenders astutely guided by the experienced Tirkey.
In one of the chances which came Chennai's way, Escarre's feeble hit was deflected by Sultan custodian Ahmed.
The three points from the match pushed Sultans' tally to 12 from five matches they played.

Chennai is yet to open its account and lost all the four matches they played.

Sher-e-Jallandhar is in the second slot with eight points from four matches.



Dazzlers Blank Nawabs 3-0
28/01/2005

Keeping their reputation intact, Delhi Dazzlers blanked Lucknow Nawabs 3-0 in a Tier-II match of the Premier Hockey League at the Gachibowli hockey complex in Hyderabad on Friday.

Gurcharan Singh put Delhi in the lead with a 20th minute strike while Ajit Pal Singh (31st and 36th) scored a brace as the team secured three points to join leaders Chandigarh Dynamos with 18 points.

After a goalless first quarter, Gurcharan Singh made no mistake in hitting the back of the net with a neat drag flick off a penalty corner.

In the closing moments of the second quarter, Delhi earned one more penalty corner and Gaganpreet's hit was blocked by the custodian, but Ajit Pal scored off the rebound.

Ajit Pal struck again early in the third quarter when he took a pass on the right flank from Amar Singh Negi and shot it inside beating the goalkeeper comprehensively as Delhi went up 3-0.

Delhi converted two penalty corners while Lucknow squandered away both the penalty corners they got in the match.

Lucknow also missed a golden chance in the first quarter when an unmarked Kamlesh came up to the top of the striking zone scooped the ball which hit the bars.

Chandigarh Dynamos have 18 points having won all their six matches so far while Delhi too have 18 points but have played one match more.



Khandekar Gives Hi-Fliers Victory
28/01/2005

In a high-volatage, late night Tier-1 match of the Premier Hockey League at the Gachibowli hockey complex here on Friday, Tushar Khandekar’s extra time effort gave the Bangalore Hi-Fliers a 1-0 win over the Maratha Warriors.

The young left-winger reverse-pushed home Amar Aiyamma’s pass six minutes into extra-time to win it for the Bangalore team. Hi-Fliers took their tally to eight points from five matches. Maratha Warriors have five points from four matches.



Sponsors For Shers, Dynamos
25/01/2005

Western Union Financial Services Inc., a money transfer company, announced that it would sponsor two Premier Hockey League teams -- Sher-e-Jalandhar and Chandigarh Dynamos -- for three years.

Sher-e-Jalandhar are currently leading Tier I of the league with eight points while Chandigarh Dynamos are at the top of Tier II with 15 points from five matches played and won so far.

"Through this sponsorship of the Punjab hockey teams, we endeavour to create awareness and encourage the game among the Indians all over the country and lift the profile of the Punjabis in the game to even greater heights," Rajiv Garodia, regional marketing manager, South Asia, Western Union Financial Services, said.

Sher-e-Jalandhar captain and Indian forward Gagan Ajit Singh said, "We play with complete commitment and for the love of the game. If companies come forward and support the game in terms of sponsorship, it works as additional encouragement.

"A game attracting sponsorship also symbolises its growing popularity and helps a lot in attracting fresh talent to the sport," Gagan Ajit was quoted as saying in a statement.

Western Union is soon going to launch a national-level marketing campaign to promote the two teams. This will include a multimedia campaign comprising press, television and merchandising with special focus on Punjab, the statement said.



Nawabs Edge Past Tigers
26/01/2005

Lucknow Nawabs tamed Bengal Tigers by a solitary goal as the latter put up a spirit challenge but failed to convert their into goals in the Tier II of Premier Hockey League at Hyderabad on Wednesday.

The solitary goal was scored by Amit Kumar in the 16th minute who converted a short corner and while Bengal Tigers rued their missed chances.

Amit scooped the ball to beat the Bengal custodian Manoj Singh for Nawabs' winner.

But it was a match which Bengal, who have lost all their matches in the league so far, should have easily won.

The Tigers lacked the finishing touch as several of their raids were at the post.

They also earned as many as 13 short corners but could not score even once.

In the event, Lucknow custodian Neeraj Kujur did a commendable job for his team.

Lucknow scored one of the four penalty corners that came their way.

They now stand fourth in the points table and Bengal, which is yet to open its account, is at the bottom.

Chandigarh Dynamos lead the table followed by Delhi Dazzlers and Imphal Rangers.



Dynamos Thump Rangers 6-1
26/01/2005

Rajpal Singh and Navdeep Singh scored a brace each to give Chandigarh Dynamos a thumping 6-1 win over Imphal Rangers in a Premier Hockey League Tier II match at Hyderabad on Wednesday.

The victory saw Dynamos move to the top of the league table with 18 points.

It was Imphal which surged into lead through M Chittaranjan who scored in the 4th minute from a direct hit as the men from northeast dominated briefly before Navdeep scored to bring parity.

The game slipped out of the hands of Rangers as the Dynamos stepped up their attack and ripped through the weak defence of Imphal Rangers with Navdeep scoring the second goal to have his team lead 2-1 at half time.

Luck smiled on Dynamos again as fit-again Jugraj Singh converted a short corner in the 36th minute with a drag flick to consolidate the lead (3-1).

Rajpal Singh then scored in the 50th minute while skipper Sukhbir Singh Gill made his presence felt by a smart hit from the left, to take the score to 5-1.

Rajpal struck again in the 63rd minute to score the sixth goal for Chandigarh Dynamos.

The Dynamos earned eight penalty corners of which they converted only one with Jugraj showing his skills with the drag flick.



Sultans Crush Hi-Fliers 5-2
26/01/2005

Sohail Abbas roared back into form as he powered in three penalty corners to send the Hyderabad Sultans racing away to a 5-2 victory over Bangalore Hi-Fliers. The victory also avenged Sultan’s last week's defeat.

Three consecutive goals by Sohail put Hyderabad in the lead. The goals came in the 2nd, 5th and 7th minute of play before Avtar Singh (22nd) and Sameer Dad (24th) swelled the lead to 5-0 at half time.

Kuhan Shanmuganathan (45th) and skipper Len Aiyappa (53rd) reduced the margin.

Jolted by Sohail's hat-trick, Bangalore lost the rhythm and had a tough time defending a wave of raid by rivals. The visitors made a late challenge but could not catch up the with the hosts.

Hyderabad are leading the Tier-I points table with nine points from four matches, of which they have won three and lost one -- to Bangalore Hi-Fliers.

Sohail's drag flick zoomed past Bharat Chetri's left corner in the second minute as Hyderabad took the lead and the Pakistani struck in the fifth minute again to increase the lead to 2-0.

Drawing the Bangalore custodian Chetri to the wrong side, Sohail doubled the lead amidst cheers from the holiday crowd.

Sohail did not miss the mark for his third goal and completed the hat-trick, which was second in the tournament.

Bangalore Hi-Fliers' Len Aiyappa had scored the first hat-trick in the previous encounter between these two teams.

Arjun Halappa was shown the green card in the first quarter, which ended with a 3-0 lead in the favour of the hosts.

Bangalore team stepped up the attack in the second quarter but could not yield much result. While for Sultans Avtar Singh scored from a long shot by Pakistani Wasim Ahmed after it was deflected by Susan Topno and then directed by Inderjeet to take a 4-0 lead. Sameer Dad scored the fifth goal for the winners.

Third quarter proved to be eventful for Bangalore team with the Malaysian star K Shanmuganathan beating the Hyderabad custodian Ahmed Alam to sound the board and open their account to make it 5-1.

Eight minutes later Len Aiyappa converted another penalty corner for the Bangalore team to reduce the margin to 2-5.

Halappa could not score from a penalty score which was saved by the Hyderabad custodian Alam in the last quarter.



Len Does It For Hi-Fliers
23/01/2005

Len Aiyappa struck the first hat-trick of the competition as Bangalore Hi-Fliers beat Hyderabad Sultans 3-2 in a Tier I match of the Premier Hockey League at Hyderabad on Sunday.

Riding on Aiyappa's brilliance, Bangalore came from behind handing out Hyderabad their first defeat in the tournament.

Aiyappa struck in the 14th, 49th and 51st minute after Sohail Abbas gave Hyderabad the lead in the 12th minute. Wasim Ahmed slammed home five minutes before the final whistle.

After the Bangalore team messed up a penalty corner, world's highest goal scorer Abbas lived up to his reputation with his trade mark drag flick to the right hand side corner of the post to put the hosts in the lead in the first quarter.

But minutes later Len Aiyappa scored the equaliser through a similar flick infusing tempo into the game played before a sizeable Sunday crowd which included former Indian cricket captain Mohamed Azharuddin.

Aiyappa struck in the next two short corner opportunities and the Hi-Fliers took a 3-1 lead.

Stung by the reverse, Vikram Pillay, Susan Toppno and Sameer Dad raided the opponent citadel with some incisive moves but could not pull out any thing positive. Sultans, who had more control of the ball, could not capitalise on a few lapses by the Hi-Fliers and Sohail too missed one penalty corner.

In the last quarter, Wasim Ahmed hit from the top of the circle beating the Bangalore custodian Bharat Chetri hands down to bring the score to 3-2.

Hi-Fliers' V S Vinay was shown the first red card of the tournament for obstructing a surging Hyderabad forward while Avatar Singh of Hyderabad Sultans got a yellow card for foul play.

After Bangalore took a 3-1 lead, the hosts looked a bit upset and their running went awry and at times could not re-group effectively while their opponents maintained their cool.

Tushar Khandekar and Arjun Halappa combined well and moved in tandem for the Bangalore team tearing apart the defence of the Dilip Tirkey led team.



Shers Beat Warriors
22/01/2005

Sher-e-Jalandhar beat a fighting Maratha Warriors 3-0 via tie-breaker in a Tier I match of the Premier Hockey League (PHL) in Hyderabad on Saturday.

After both the teams failed to score in the regulation time and the extra time, Prabhdep Singh, Didar Singh and Gagan Ajit Singh found the net in the penalty shoot out while Raza Ali, Vijay Alfanso and Kashif Jawed bungled at the hour of reckoning for Maratha Warriors.

After the end of the regulation time of 70 minutes, the match went to the extra time -- the teams fielded nine players in the first half of the extra time and seven in the second half as per the rule of the tournament.

But that failed to break the deadlock prompting a penalty shoot-out.

The match between the two best sides in the event saw some tough fight as both have some very good mid-fielders and fine forwards.

When play started, Maratha Warriors galloped fast to the opposition goal post. But Jallanadhar team soon hit back with equal ferocity through Gagan Ajit, Baljit and Daljit Singh Dhillon.

Maratha custodian Baljit Singh, coming in for an injured Adrian D'Souza, was pick of the players as he made at least seven saves.

Jalandhar team missed out on several scoring opportunities with Baljit failing to convert an easy chance while Sunil Yadav could not capitalise from the passes to him inside the circle.

In the second quarter, the game slowed down a bit but in the next the teams intensified their attacks in a bid to take the lead.

In the 58th minutes Jalandhar team was reduced to 10 men with Prabdeep Singh being sent out by the umpire, but Maratha Warriors failed to make use of the chance.

Jalandhar earned three penalty corners while Warriors got two but neither could score.

Towards the end, both made valiant attempts but could not score as the match slipped into extra time.



Shers Rout Veerans
21/01/2005

The Shers, finally roared as a team when they routed Chennai Veerans 5-0 in a Tier I match of the Premier Hockey League in Hyderabad on Friday. Sher-e-Jalandhar who had lost their first league match to the Sultans were in superb form as they scored thrice in the first quarter with Deepak Thakur getting a goal in the very first minute of the match. Later it was the turn of Gagan Ajit Singh to show his class as he slammed home in the 7th and 8th minute to have the Shers off to a flying start.

Former Indian captain, Baljit Singh Dhillon (33rd minute), and Olympian, Prabjot Singh (58th), then rounded off the tally in the one-sided match as Veerans crashed to their third defeat in as many matches.

For the Shers, it was their second victory in three matches after a defeat in their opening match.

The Jalandhar players surprised the men from the south in the first minute, with Deepak Thakur tapping the ball into an open goal after the necessary spade work was done by Prabjot Singh from the deep.

A reverse flick by Prabjot Singh was deflected into the box by skipper Gagan Ajit Singh six minutes later as Jalandhar took a 2-0 lead. Gagan again struck in the next minute with a hard hit from top of the circle to swell the lead further.

Chennai Veerans stepped up the attack with captain Ignace Tirkey, Sandeep Singh and Adam Sinclair trying to penetrate the opponents' citadel but they failed to create an impression.

Sher-e-Jalandhar could have added one more goal to the tally but Dhillon's attempt from a penalty-stroke was disallowed by the umpire on the grounds that the player had dragged the ball too long before taking the flick.

Dhillon did strike back in the 33rd minute through a drag flick to put his side in a comfortable 4-0 lead.

Jalandhar had one more moment of celebration when Prabjot Singh, after receiving a short pass from Deepak Thakur inside the circle, gently directed the ball beat Veerans' goalkeeper Devesh Chouhan.

In the Tier II tournament, Chandigarh Dynamos blanked Bengal Tigers 7-0 to remain at the top of the table with 12 points.

Rajpal Singh scored twice (4th and 27th minutes) while Jugraj Singh (10th), Harbajan Singh (25th), Navdeep Singh (40th), Sardar Singh (54th) and Ravi Pal Singh (69th) pumped in a goal each as Chandigarh recorded their fourth win on the trot.

In another match in the second division, Lucknow Nawabs beat Imphal Rangers 4-3.

Lucknow Nawabs were benefited from the mistake made by their opponents, whose forward Gopal Singh wasted a penalty stroke in the third quarter.

Amit Kumar (9th), Mohammed Kalim (22nd), Arshad Khan (40th and 51st) found the net for Lucknow Nawabs while H Tomba Singh (20th) and skipper Brojen Singh (41st and 57th) scored for Imphal Rangers.



Imphal, Dynamos Win
20/01/2005

In the Tier II league, Imphal Rangers trounced Bengal Tigers 6-1 for their first victory in three matches. Bengal Tigers suffered their third straight defeat.

In another match in the second division, Chandigarh Dynamos slammed three goals in four minutes in the second quarter to hand Delhi Dazzlers their first defeat.



Sultans March On
20/01/2005

Sultans beat Warriors 2-1

Hyderabad Sultans made most off their chances to beat Maratha Warriors 2-1 in the Premier Hockey League at the Gachibowli stadium in Hyderabad on Thursday night.

For the Sultans, it was their second win in as many matches while Maratha Warriors suffered their first defeat in two matches.

In the Tier II league, Imphal Rangers trounced Bengal Tigers 6-1 for their first victory in three matches. Bengal Tigers suffered their third straight defeat.

In another match in the second division, Chandigarh Dynamos slammed three goals in four minutes in the second quarter to hand Delhi Dazzlers their first defeat.

The Hyderabad Sultans – Maratha Warriors match was a keen affair, with the latter having more possession and shots at goal. For the Sultans, Dilip Tirkey and Lazarus Barla, played superbly, keeping the Maratha forwards Kashif Jawad and Dhanraj Pillay at bay.

The first goal for the Sultans came as a gift, 13 minutes into the first quarter, when Maratha’s Pakistan defender Ali Raza fumbled with a clearance and his countryman Wasim Ahmed pounced on the ball to score easily.

Warriors came back in the 8th minute of the second quarter when they converted a stroke. Ali Raza's penalty corner drive was saved by a defender on the line. Going for the rebound Mohammad Saqlain's stick was checked and the umpire had no hesitation in awarding a penalty-stroke, which was converted by Saqlain himself.

A flurry of Warriors attacks came forth but the all important goal wasn’t coming.

It was another stroke that gave Sultans the lead and ultimately the match-winner. Six minutes into the fourth quarter, the Sultans earned their first penalty-corner. Marathas captain Viren Rasquinha fouled Vikram Pillay as he advanced inside the circle to score. The umpire pointed to the penalty spot and Avtar Singh Sohal made no mistake, finding the net with a high flick.



Fliers Outplay Veerans 3-2
16/01/2005

Bangalore Hi-Fliers displayed a fine blend of free-flowing and aggressive hockey as they outplayed Chennai Veerans 3-2 in the Tier I match of the Premier Hockey League.

Though the final scoreline did not reflect the domination of the Hi-Fliers through out the 70 minute period, the Arjun-Halappa led side must be satisfied with the display they gave in the field after the demoralising defeat to Sher-e-Jalandhar.

The Hi-Fliers played free-flowing hockey for the majority period and made probing runs on counter attacks to trouble the Veerans' defence.

Sandeep Michael opened the account of the winners in the ninth minute, finishing off a brilliant move from the right and penalty corner expert Len Aiyappa made it 2-0 two minutes before half time with a clean strike.

The Hi-Fliers looked like running away with the game when Amar Aiyamma (40th) minutes scored the third goal, capping off a counter attack started by his skipper.

William Xalxo (45th) and Sandeep Singh (69th) then found the net for the Veerans, but it was too little too late.



Shers Beat Hi-Flyers 2-1
15/01/2005

Desperate for a win after the opening loss to Sultans, Sher-e-Jalandhar showed a huge amount of determination to put it across Bangalore Hi-Fliers 2-1 in the Premier Hockey League in Hyderabad on Saturday.

The Jalandhar side came under constant pressure from the opponents in the third and fourth quarters but the defense stood firm to give the team crucial three points.

Baljeet Singh Dhillon (13th) and Prabhjot Singh scored for the winners while Arjun Halappa scored the consolation goal in the 21st minute for the Hi-Fliers.

After an action packed start with both the teams shifting to attacking mode, Baljeet Dillon beat the Bangalore custodian on a penalty corner to put his side ahead.

But eight minutes later, Hi-Fliers had their hero in Halappa when he levelled the scores off a penalty stroke awarded for an infringement by Sher-e-Jalandhar custodian Kamaldeep Singh.

However, Prabhjot made a probing run from the left flank on a counter attack and his reverse hit left the opponent goalkeeper stranded.

The play started with a fast paced attack led by Gagan Ajit Singh, Baljeet Dillon and Daljit Singh piercing into the Hi-Flier's arena and Arjun Halappa, Amar Aiyamma and Tushar following it with a similar raid on the opponents citadel.

After Jalandhar took the lead, the Hi-Fliers made amends to their style and Halappa, after Bangalore custodian thwarted the penalty corner, took the ball to the opponent's goalmouth but failed to find the mark.

It was in the early part of the second quarter that a penalty stroke was awarded to the Hi-Fliers by the referee after the Jalandhar custodian fouled and Halappa made no mistake to level the score.

Bangalore lost another opportunity to go ahead when Tushar Khandekar failed to tap the pass by Arjun from very close to the goalmouth.

Meanwhile, Prabhjot sped off to a counter-attack and after going past three defenders smashed the ball past the Hi-Fliers goalkeeper.

Hi-Fliers could have got the equalizer but Tushar Khanderkar missed the opportunity thrice.

Khandekar once missed the ball completely on a cross from Sandeep Michael in the third quarter and on the other two occasions failed to connect properly when he had only one defender to beat on the goal line.

The Hi-Fliers, who had penalty corner expert Len Aiyappa in their ranks, also missed to take advantage of the four penalty corners that came their way.



Nawabs, Dazzlers Win
14/01/2005

Lucknow Nawabs tamed Bengal Tigers 4-2 in the opening match of the Tier II Premier Hockey League, at the Gachibowli hockey complex in Hyderabad on Friday.

In the second match of Tier II, Delhi Dazzlers whipped Imphal Rangers 6-4 thanks to four goals from Gurcharan Singh.

After Anil Ekka opened the account for Bengal Tigers in the 15th minute, the Nawabs hit back with Kamlesh scoring two goals (28th and 49th minutes), before Imtiayz Ahmed (34th) and Rajneesh Mishra (54th) each sounded the board once to take a comfortable lead.

Arbind Kumar reduced the margin in the dying moments.

The Lucknow Nawabs found their rhythm after initial hiccups and conceding the first goal with Kamlesh equalising with a shot that beat the Bengal custodian hands down.

Imtiayz Ahmed found the net with a brilliant reverse shot which passed through the goalkeeper just before the second quarter to give Bengal Tigers a 2-1 lead at half-time.

Kamlesh struck back in the third quarter and a little later Rajneesh found the mark with a direct hit to make the score 4-1.

It was a matter of consolation for Bengal Tigers as Arbind found the mark in the 68th minute.

Bengal Tigers struggled to get past the strong Lucknow defence and the match looked one-sided after the first half.
While Bengal earned two penalty-corners and failed to convert either, Lucknow scored one of the three that came their way.

Gurcharan 'tricks' in Delhi Dazzlers' big win

In the second Tier II match, Delhi Dazzlers defeated Imphal Rangers 6-4 thanks to Gurcharan Singh scoring four goals including a hat-trick.

While Gurcharan struck in the 22nd, 26th, 32nd and 52nd minutes for Delhi, it was N Chittaranjan who scored twice (3rd and 39th minutes) for Imphal.

The high-scoring match started off with a goal in the very third minute with N Chittaranjan putting Imphal into the lead while Raju equalised it in the 14th minute.

Bikas Toppo gave Delhi the lead a minute later, but Chittaranjan struck back in the 18th minute to level the score at 2-2.

However, Gurcharan Singh had a filed day, scoring three goals in a row to swell the lead to 5-2.

H Tomba Singh reduced the margin in the 39th minute but Gurcharan Singh struck back in the last quarter to increase the lead to 6-3 in the 52nd minute.

RK Tomba Singh provided the finishing touches to the match reducing the margin with a neat flick.



Marathas Sweep Past Veerans
14/01/2005

Maratha Warriors shrugged off a brilliant fightback from Chennai Veerans to register a thumping 5-2 victory in their opening encounter of the inaugural Premier Hockey League in Hyderabad on Friday night.

The Viren Rasquinha-led side raced to a 3-0 lead in the first quarter before the Chennai Veerans came back strongly in the next two to reduce the margin to 2-3. But the eventual winners thumped in two more goals to seal the issue.

For Warriors, Pakistani international Kashif Jawad (12th, 55th, 65th minutes) scored thrice while his compatriot, Ali Raza, (3rd, 16th minute) scored twice.

Adam Sinclair (38th minute) and Sandeep Singh (53rd) sounded the board for the Veerans in a fast-paced encounter.

The Maratha warriors showed better combination in the first quarter and by the time their opponents could settle down they were sitting comfortable with a couple of goals in the bag.

Raza drew first blood when he converted the team's first penalty-corner with a hard hit to the left of Veeran goalkeeper Devesh Chauhan and Jawad doubled the lead nine minutes later when he tapped in a pass by Vijay Alphonso.

Veteran Dhanraj Pillay then showed his skills when he snatched the ball from rival defender William Xalxo and though he could not keep the ball in control inside the striking circle he earned a penalty-corner from which Raza made no mistake.

After the first break, Veeran's coach, Harinder Singh, asked the players to concentrate on controlling the midfield and the move paid off as his side dominated the second quarter.

However, some indecisive play inside the striking circle ensured that the Warriors went to half-time without conceding a goal.

The Ignace Tirkey-led side got their first chance in the third minute of the second quarter when Spanish international Juan Escarre gave a first time pass to Birender Lakra but he could not beat the goalkeeper.

Warriors looked disorganised and were lucky not to have their lead reduced as their skipper showed great presence of mind to stop an indirect penalty-corner attempt.

Veerans came out firing on all cylinders in the third quarter and maintained constant pressure on the rival citadel. Adam Sinclair provided them much-needed goal as he controlled the ball at the 25-yard line and then ran through the defence before beating Adrian D'Souza.

It was the Veerans who continued to call the shots in that quarter thereafter with Sandeep Singh scoring off the second penalty-corner just before the break.

With a lone goal separating the two sides and the Warriors down to ten men after their skipper was sent off for a challenge on Xlaxo, it looked like Veerans could turn the match on its head.

But two minutes into the fourth quarter, Alphonso made yet another probing run from the left and relayed the ball to Jawad in the striking circle. The Pakistani star just tapped the ball into the open net.

Jawad completed the finishing touches to the rout with five minutes from the hooter with a brilliant solo goal. For his efforts he was named the man of the match.



Sultans Upset Shers 1-0

13/01/2005

Do believe me, it was the start of something that could change the face of Indian hockey but also has enough potential to change the face of world hockey. But please, whoever is organising this Premier League Hockey, the Indian Hockey Federation or ESPN, please have some stretchers at the stadium. Visuals of Ajitesh Roy of Hyderabad Sultans being carried of by two men and umpire Virender Bahadur reminded one of Dempo’s Junior. Thankfully, it was just a minor injury. But these are early days and hopefully in the next few days, things would have smoothened out.

But the opening match was cool, pacy, interesting, colourful, aggressive and, yes, if no one throws in a spanner, the Premier Hockey League is here to stay.

On a day when Athens Olympics coach Gerhard Rach opened up a can of worms on television channel Aaj Tak with a statement, “The IHF is a mad house”, the opening match of the PHL came as a balm. No controversies, no hitting below the belt, just simple and pure hockey.

It’s a first day and that too an upset as the Shers with a brilliant forward line should have wrapped up the match but the Sultans showed resilience and a player who should have still been playing for India, Sameer Dad knocked in the match-winner.

It would have been a little better if the dug-outs had been completed for the teams. Plastic chairs are fine for marriage parties but players and coaches still want that wooden bench with a plastic cover curving over their heads.
But overall the excitement was contagious. Hopefully when Dhanraj Pillay enters the stadium on Friday under Viren’s captaincy, the stadium would rise to him. Give him a hand for keeping Indian hockey alive so that the PHL could be put into motion.



Teams Declared For PHL
05/01/2005

The following are the teams and their players that will participate in the Premier Hockey League.

Teams:

Hyderabad Sultans:

Dilip Tirkey (captian), S Rajasekhar, Inderjeet Singh Chadha, Ajitesh Rai, Harsha Vardhan, Chandan Singh, Suresh, Lazarus Barla, Sameer Dad, Cyril Ekka, Sreejesh (GK), Nitya Jayanand, Susan Topno, Ahmed Alam (GK Pakistan), Sohail Abbas and Wasim Ahmed (Pakistan).
Coach: Narendra Pal Singh.

Bangalore Hi-Fliers:
Arjun Halappa (captain), Bharat Kumar Chetri and Kuttappa (GKs), Irshad Ali, Ajay Kumar, Chandrasekhar Xalxo, VS Vinay, Len Aiyappa, Prabodh Tirkey, Pawal Lakra, Amar Aiyamma, Sabu Varkey, Sandeep Michael, Hari Prasad, Sunil Ekka, Tushar Khandekar, Muddassar Ali Khan (Pakistan) and Kuhan Shanmuganathan (Malaysia).
Coach: Ramesh Prameswaran.

Sher-e-Jallandhar:
Gagan Ajit Singh (captain), Maninder Singh and Kamaldeep Singh (GKs), Kanwalpreet Singh, Harpal Singh, Jatinder Pal Singh, Baljit Singh Saini, Prabhdeep Singh, Balwant Singh, Ajmer Singh, Baljit Singh Dhillon, Daljit Singh Dhillon, Prabhjot Singh, Deepak Thakur, Didar Singh, Parminder Singh, Mohammed Sarwar (Pakistan) and Noor Azlan (Malaysia).
Coach: Ramandeep Singh.

Maratha Warriors:
Viren Rasquinha (captain), Adrian D'Souza and Baljit Singh (GKs), Conroy Remedius, Jaswinder Singh, Sunil Yadav, Vijay Alphonso, Dhanraj Pillay, Girish Pimpale, Shivendra Singh, Devinder Kumar, Errol D'Silva, Hemant Ghete, Humza Mujtaba, Junaid Jada, Ali Raza, Mohammed Saqlain and Kashif Jawwad (Pakistan).
Coach: Clarence Lobo.

Chennai Veerans:
Ignace Tirkey (captain), Devesh Chouhan and Rajarajan (GKs), William Xalco, Nitin Kumar, Jagath Jothi, Vivek Gupta, Bimal Lakra, Prabakaran, Jagan Senthil, Adam Sinclair, Venkatesh, Raja, Birender Lakra, Sandeep Singh, Dilawar Hussain (Pakistan) and Juan Pablo Escarre (Spain).
Coach: Harender Singh.



13 Foreign Players For PHL
05/01/2005

Thirteen foreign players, including short corner specialist Sohail Abbas of Pakistan, will take part in the Premier Hockey League, billed as the mega hockey event of the year, starting at the Gachibowli hockey complex here from January 13.

"We have made many innovations and the new format will provide a different kind of dynamics on the field," Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) President, K P S Gill said while releasing the list of PHL Tier-I teams on Wednesday.
Five teams -- Hyderabad Sultans with Dilip Tirkey as captain, Bangalore Hi-Fliers led by Arjun Halappa, Sher-e-Jalandhar with Gagan Ajit Singh at the helm, Maratha Warriors led by Viren Rasquinha and Chennai Veerans headed by Ignace Tirkey -- will be playing the month-long round robin league matches, he said.

Besides Sohail Abbas, who holds the record of scoring the highest number of goals in international hockey, Juan Pablo Escarre of Spain, Wasim Ahmed, Ahed Alan, Dilawar Hussain, Kashif Jawwad, Muddassar Ali Khan, Zeeshan Ashraf, Ali Raza, Mohammed Saqlain, Mohd Sarwar (all Pakistan), Kuhan Shanmuganathan and Nor Azlan Bakar (both Malaysia) have confirmed their entries, he said.

Two more foreign players are likely to join the league, Gill said adding, next year no country (hockey playing) will go unrepresented as our efforts are to popularise hockey through live telecast and increasing frequency of the matches to give more exposure to players and viewers as well.

For the first time, players will be getting appearance money in hockey, Gill said but held back the exact amount to be paid to foreign players.

The incentive for Indian players was earlier announced with the skippers getting Rs one lakh each.

Infusing more attraction into the league, a total prize money of Rs 71 lakh is on offer of which Tier-I winners will pocket Rs 30 lakh and runners up Rs 10 lakh.

Speaking on the format, Gill said the matches will have four quarters of 17 minutes and 30 seconds each instead of the present two halves.

Number of players will be reduced during extra time which will change the dynamics of the play drastically and improve the efficiency of the boys, he said.

On composition of teams, Gill said "we tried to balance all the sides giving opportunity to youngsters and also the seniors who are in 30s to prove themselves. Things will be clear after we release the Tier-II list at Lucknow shortly."
Tier-I (Premier Division) matches will be held here while Tier-II (First Division) matches will be held at Lucknow.

The league will be played in a round robin format with all teams playing each other twice. Winner in the stipulated time will get three points for each victory while the team winning in extra time will share the points 2:1.



Sohail Heads For PHL
3 Jan 2005

World's leading goal scorer and ace drag-flicker Sohail Abbas and Waseem Ahmed of Pakistan have confirmed their participation in the Premier Hockey League, adding glamour to the much-awaited competition.

The presence of these two players is likely to give a further boost to the PHL, which is set to begin in Hyderabad on January 13.

Today I got a call from Pakistan Hockey Federation Secretary Musratullah Khan who confirmed that the two players would be taking part in the PHL," IHF Secretary General K Jothikumaran told over phone from Hyderabad.

Incidentally both Abbas and Waseem had announced their retirement from international hockey soon after the Champions Trophy in Lahore earlier this month.

Both had in fact made it clear that they would be playing in the Dutch League this year before considering participating in the PHL from next season.

"I don't know what was their arrangements with the Dutch League. But this is (their taking part in PHL) a very good gesture by the PHF," Jothikumaran said.

Jothikumaran, however, declined to name the teams that Abbas and Waseem would represent in the month-long competition.

"We are yet to decide on their teams. We have also not yet decided about the final list of foreign players. But we are hopeful of coming out with the list in a couple of days."

Earlier Pakistan had allowed eight players -- Ahmad Alam, Zeeshan Asrhaf, Muhammad Saqlain, Muhammad Sawar, Ali Raza, Dilawar Hussain, Kashif Jawwad and Mudassar Ali Khan -- to feature in the PHL


 

 

 

     

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