THE Project 2013 boys returned from their Bangalore Tour on a winning note, as they not only won seven of their 11 matches, but also beat Bombay Gold Cup champions Army XI twice.
The boys, being groomed for the 2013 Junior World Cup, were only supposed to play six matches, but after they defeated the Army XI of Bangalore 2-1 the day after they arrived, teams in the district started to line up for matches with the Malaysians.
"Considering that the Army XI won the Bombay Gold Cup hockey tournament in April, my boys held on well to beat them twice. After that, many teams requested for matches with my team, and my boys put up a good show against the senior sides," said Project 2013 coach K. Dharmaraj.
Army XI beat Air India 1-0 to retain the 47th Bombay Gold Cup, and the outfit have 13 former national junior players.
Project won the first match 2-1, lost the second 5-2, lost the third 4-2 before winning again 4-2.
"I brought along 22 players for this training Tour, so after we won the first match, I gave all my players a chance to play in the second and third match, as I was not looking at results at this stage, but exposure."
The Project boys then lost to Sports Authority of India 3-1, before winning 5-1 in the return match against the Under-21 side.
In the other matches, the Project team beat Karnataka Army 3-1, Karnataka Police 4-1, Sports Authority of India diploma coaches 4-1 and Karnataka State team 5-1 before losing 3-2 in their final match against Karnataka State.
"I made many changes during the matches as many of my players were fasting. However, they displayed good understanding and stamina and are making good progress," said Dharmaraj.
The Project team are showing promise, as they won silver medal in the Razak Cup before heading for Bangalore, and will play in the South East Asia hockey tournament in Bangkok on Sept 29-Oct 5.
The Under-18 boys will play against senior teams from Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore in the tournament as the Sea Games hosts Laos do not have facilities for hockey.