HIL: Delhi ride the wave, register second consecutive win

Delhi Waveriders stuck to their plan and earned their second consecutive away win here on Saturday to be the only undefeated team in the fourth edition of the Hockey India League so far and go on top of the table with 10 points.

Action from the Delhi Waveriders against Uttar Pradesh Wizards match in Lucknow.

Delhi Waveriders stuck to their plan and earned their second consecutive away win here on Saturday to be the only undefeated team in the fourth edition of the Hockey India League so far and go on top of the table with 10 points.

DWR beat Uttar Pradesh Wizards 3-1 against the run of the play with the host dominating a large part of the game but paying the price for a weak and wayward forwardline despite the presence of some big names.

Australians Jamie Dwyer and Eddie Ockenden had a good game as feeders but the strikers’ attempts were weak and the Delhi defence rock solid. Akashdeep Singh conceded several turnovers, Tobias Hauke was off-target and Ramandeep Singh was invisible on field.

Playing a defensive game once again and only venturing out to attack on counters and turnovers, DWR capitalised on the few chances they got. The credit should go to some outstanding defence by Rupinder Pal Singh, Surender Kumar and Vickram Kanth that not only defied a constant wave of attacks from U.P. but also tackled brilliantly to only concede one penalty corner, in the final minute that saw Gonzalo Peillat score to ensure one point for his team.

The initial period of the game was completely dominated by the host. UPW started on an attacking note and the first 30 minutes were played almost entirely in the DWR half. India coach Roelant Oltmans has insisted that in world hockey today, the attack starts from the defence line while the strikers form the first line of defence. UPW skipper V. R. Raghunath, under coach Roger van Gent — also India’s strategic coach — executed the same, combining with Vikas Pillay to orchestrate his team’s chances.

Kenneth Bain started the glut, finding the post in the third minute. Akashdeep Singh did the same a few minutes later and then Bain, put through by Agustin Mazzilli, sent a weak shot parried easily by DWR goalkeeper Devon Manchester.

There were occasional forays into the attack by Delhi with Parvinder Singh, Simon Child and Yuvraj Walmiki all coming close to getting the ball in but the efforts were few and feeble. The visiting side’s first real chance came in the 30th minute but Raghunath managed to clear the danger despite at least eight players crowding the goal.

The deadlock was broken when Child, who had been desperately trying to break past Raghunath, finally managed to shake off the Indian in the 42nd minute and put Talwinder Singh through inside the ‘D’ with only goalkeeper Sreejesh to beat. But the ball was high and got Delhi the first penalty corner of the match and Rupinder made no mistake in finding the net.

Delhi went all out to defend the slender lead thereafter, venturing up front only on counters to pounce on any opportunity and even earned a second penalty corner but Sreejesh cleared it. A desperate final push by U.P. in the dying minutes saw yet another set of chances being wasted before Peillat pulled one back, but it was not enough.

The result:

Delhi Waveriders 3 (Rupinder Pal Singh (PC), Steven Edwards (FG)) bt Uttar Pradesh Wizards 1 (Gonzalo Peillat (PC)).