Perth, Oct 9 (IANS) Indias men’s junior team went down 1-5 to the New South Wales Waratahs in the Australian Hockey League (AHL) Bronze medal match on Sunday.
The game started off at a fast pace, and India, playing a bit defensively, were caught out early by Waratahs’ quick movement and sharp passing. Waratahs scored the opening goal in the sixth minute to take the vital lead.
As the game settled down, India discovered their rhythm and started rotating the ball more fluidly within their ranks. Despite that, the Waratahs’ defence held strong to take them into the first break with the lead.
In the second quarter, the Waratahs outplayed India with goals in the 16th minute (Tom Craig) and then in the 23rd minute (Landon Morley).
India also suffered with Varun Kumar getting a green card immediately after and conceding the numerical advantage.
Soon Gurjant Singh pegged back Waratahs’ dominance with a Penalty corner (PC) conversion in the 25th minute to bring the deficit down to two as they went into halftime.
India had already scripted a miraculous turnaround on Saturday in the semi-final clash, and came out of halftime raring to go.
Perhaps aware of this late surging ability, NSW Waratahs played cautiously, defending deep and holding the ball for long periods when they did effect turnovers.
India rushed hard and were constantly creating circle penetrations but were unable to find the final pass.
Right at the end of the quarter, the Waratahs’ Landon Morley converted from a penalty corner to take them into the final break leading 4-1.
India came out in the final quarter looking for the comeback but, Waratahs’s deep lying defensive structure denied them any width and opportunity to do so.
The Waratahs capitalised on India’s attacking intent to add another goal to their tally with a counter attack in the final minute of the game via Tom Craig.
Commenting on the game coach Harender Singh said: “We use the AHL as a preparatory tournament for the Junior World Cup later this year and its is quite heartening to see that the boys have held their own against the teams in the league.”
“At crucial times we have made some small mistakes, but we’d rather make them now and learn and correct them, than in Lucknow in December,” he added.