Nikkin and Turner seize on two-goal rule concept
A SUCCESSFUL penalty corner-turned-field goal attempt in the last minute was not enough for Dabang Mumbai in the opening fixture of the Hockey India League’s fifth season.
Trailing former champions Ranchi Rays 1-3 in the last minute of their contest on Saturday, Dabang Mumbai decided to convert their penalty corner drill into a field goal attempt.
Robbert Kemperman initiated the move as he trapped from injector Sander de Wijn and passed the ball five yards backwards to activate the play.
Harmanpreet Singh’s shot went straight into the custodian’s pads, but Indian international Nikkin Thimmaiah capitalised on the rebound to set up a dramatic end.
Awarded two goals for the strike – as per the league’s regulations providing a bonus for field goals – Dabang Mumbai made the most of the premium to earn a 3-3 draw.
Young Indian Harmanpreet’s penalty corner flick had earlier opened the scoring for Dabang Mumbai while Ranchi Rays responded through their Junior World Cup representative Simranjeet Singh, whose field goal counted for two.
Ranchi Rays’ German hire Christopher Ruhr converted a penalty stroke to make the score 3-1 until the last minute.
Set into motion by Thimmaiah, who was injured last year, the field goal bonus was well utilised two days later by Australian veteran Glenn Turner, who twice shot on target to lead last year’s silver medalists Kalinga Lancers to a 4-2 victory over Ranchi Rays.
Continuing his exploits of last season when he scored nine goals, Turner was in the spotlight as Kalinga Lancers launched the campaign with two victories at home on successive days.
The Lancers fired through Gurjinder Singh’s penalty corner goal to prevail 1-0 over Delhi Waveriders on Sunday and the irrepressible Turner switched on his magic on Monday.
A sloppy tackle on Turner by a Ranchi Rays defender earned him a penalty stroke which he duly converted.
Since the stroke stemmed from a deliberate foul on an open-play attempt, the strike earned Kalinga Lancers two goals.
Turner struck again soon after, picking up a rebound in open play to make the score 4-0.
Indian junior striker Sarvanjit Singh scored a field goal in the last quarter but could only reduce the margin as Lancers took an early lead in the HIL standings.
Two pointer: Glenn Turner is firing the Lancers