THT players and fans celebrate their Overall title last season
KLHC's Ali Shan (middle) on crock list...
DOUBLE champions Terengganu Hockey Team (THT) hold home-ground advantage as they go head-on against Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) to decide the Premier Division League champions Friday.
The Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) cruncher will be played at the Batu Buruk Stadium in Kuala Terengganu, and the winner will receive RM70,000 while the fallen RM50,000.
Very little separates both the teams, as THT lead by 24 points after nine matches, while KLHC have 23 points. THT only hold the advantage of having to draw the match to defend their title.
In Round One, KLHC whipped THT 6-2 for the Charity Shield, but THT went on to win the remaining eight matches, while KLHC were held to two draws -- both times by Sapura (3-3 and 4-4).
KLHC are happy with the new flood-lights, but keeping their fingers crossed that their Pakistan play-maker Ali Shan will be ready for today's match.
"Ali Shan has been among our key players this season but he picked up an ankle injury last weekend. It is still painful, and everything is being done to get him match-ready. Hopefully he will be able to play in this title-decider," said KLHC coach K. Dharmaraj.
Dharmaraj is also happy that the flood-lights have been repaired: "Last season when we played at Batu Buruk, the lighting was bad but it has been repaired and now even if there is a rain-delay, the match can be completed and the title presented to the winner."
The coach and his players have placed the 6-2 victory on the back-burner.
"That is history, tomorrow (today) I expect a very tough match, as THT will also have the crowd support to back their quest. if my players can minimise mistakes, I believe the title will tilt our way," said Dharmaraj.
THT coach Sarjit Singh believed his side will be the under dogs, after being whipped in the Charity Shield.
"The target in Round Two is to win all our home matches and we have achieved that. So, my players will treat this match as just another home fixture to win, and with less pressure on them, we will try and defend our title.
The Batu Buruk Stadium has a capacity of 2,000 but Sarjit believes 1,000 more will occupy the standing space to cheer on the home side.
FRIDAY: Premier Division (Round Two): UniKL v Sapura (6pm, Pitch II), Terengganu Hockey Team v Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (Batu Buruk, 8pm), Maybank v Tenaga (8pm, Pitch II).
Division One: Group A -- MBI v TNB Thunderbolts (Azlan Shah, 7pm), Masum-USM v MSN-THT (KLHA, 5pm).
Group B: SSTMI v UniKL Young Guns (SSTMI, 5pm), Nur Insafi v PKS-KPM (Sungai Petani, 5pm), Politeknik v UiTM (Taman Daya, 5pm).
Women: Group A -- The Cops v Politeknik (5pm, Pitch I); Group B: Manjung v KL Sukma (Azlan Shah, 5pm).
SATURDAY: Division One: Group A -- MBI v BJSS (Azlan Shah, 5pm); Women's Group B: MSN Kedah v KL Sukma (Padang Serai, 5pm).
SUNDAY: Division One Group A: TNB Thunderbolts v MSN-THT (SSTMI, 5pm), MSSP-YP-SSP v Masum-USM (Kuantan, 5pm).
Group B: Politeknik v UniKL Young Guns (Taman Daya, 5pm), SSTMI v UiTM (SSTMI, 7pm), Nur Insafi v ATM Airod (Sungai Petani, 5pm).
Women's Group A: The Cops v ATM Pernama (Pitch I, 7pm).
NOTE: National Hockey Stadium Bukit Jalil, unless stated.