HIL: Sloppy JPW in trouble after big defeat against Kalinga Lancers

Jaypee Punjab Warriors went down 7-0 to Kalinga Lancers on Saturday to languish at the bottom of the Hockey India League points table. It is all but out of contention for semifinals.


Kalinga Lancers’ Dharamvir Singh celebrates after scoring a goal against Jaypee Punjab Warriors in Chandigarh on Saturday.   -  Akhilesh Kumar

Jaypee Punjab Warriors ended its home engagements of the Hockey India League (HIL) on a losing note, going down 7-0 to Kalinga Lancers on Saturday to languish at the bottom of the table. It is now in real danger of missing out on a play-off spot.

It was only a continuation of the dismal season for the defending champion, which boasted of three national captains and a slew of big names in its ranks. The campaign began with a 10-4 humiliation against Dabang Mumbai and never picked up pace since. Even in the three wins it registered, two were close contests won because of the opposition's mistakes than JPW's excellence.

On Saturday, the host seemed to be going through the motions, with little or no co-ordination among its players and hardly a couple of shots at the goal that went wide. The defence was in shambles and the offence non-existent. When names like Mark Knowles and Robert van der Horst make elementary trapping mistakes and Sardar Singh loses possession to a youngster like Lalit Upadhyay, it's clear that the team has big problems to solve. Only, JPW coach Barry Dancer seemed to have no solutions.

It also lost its third player this season with youngster Armaan Qureshi, who was hit on the shin against Delhi, and thereby was ruled out of the remaining games to join Simon Orchard and Chris Ciriello in the injured list. JPW earned eight penalty corners but failed to convert none, including three back-to-back in the dying seconds of second quarter.

Well-oiled Kalinga Lancers

In contrast, Kalinga Lancers, which finished runner-up last season, was a team with a plan and the personnel to execute it. Upadhyay, Dharamvir and Adam Dixon were sharp in the attack, assisted by captain Moritz Fuerste playing far upfront. In the defence, Dipsan Tirkey and Amit Rohidas were stubborn as a wall, hardly letting any balls through. The few times they missed, goalkeeper Andrew Charter was up to the task.

Dixon failed to stop a push in his team's first penalty corner but made up for it by chasing the ball and slotting it past two defenders and the goalkeeper to put Kalinga ahead in the ninth minute. A second PC in the 24th minute found its mark to extend the lead and an unmarked Lalit Upadhyay was put through by Billy Bakker in the 34th minute as he calmly slot the ball in - with eight Punjab players defending inside the circle - in the 34th minute to make it 5-0. Dharamvir rounded up the tally five minutes later.

JPW did enjoy some dominance in the midfield but it meant nothing as Sardar and Co. failed to make its presence count. While Kalinga ended its league stage with 28 points and all set to finish in the top-four, JPW may find even a victory in its last match - to be played in Delhi - inadequate to make the cut. Dancer admitting as much after the game.

The result: Kalinga Lancers 7 (Adam Dixon 2 FG, Lalit Upadhyay 2 FG, Dharamvir Singh 2 FG, Moritz Fuerste 1 PC) bt Jaypee Punjab Warriors 0.

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