Monday, April 3, 2017
JHL: Outside ranked teams shine...
Pictures: MISCF-UFL (in blue) playing against Terengganu Juniors in the JHL. Terengganu scraped a 2-1 win. Pic By Shah Bekson.
OUTSIDE ranked teams showed great form over the weekend in the curtain raiser of the Junior Hockey League.
While the top teams in Division One rested as their players were involved in the Asian Schools tournament in India, the minnows made their mark.
In Division One, Johor Juniors were the revelation while Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) showed composure to win.
In Division Two Malaysian Indian Sports and Cultural Foundation-Universal Fitness & Leisure (MISCF-UFL) showed a form which shocked the gallery.
The Girls' JHL saw the last season's champions SSTMI Thunderbolts edge silver medallists KL Wipers 1-0 -- to set up a start of another close season.
Johor Juniors were down twice, but came back to draw 2-2 and then beat seasoned JHL side Old La Sallians Association of Klang (Olak) Nur-Insafi 3-2 on shootout.
Olak have been playing in the JHL since its debut in 1995 and even joined hands with NurInsafi this season to strengthen their side, but underdogs Johor Juniors sealed two crucial points.
Five of Olak-NurInsafi players recently played in Division One of the Malaysia Hockey League and after a 3-3 draw lost the gold medal to Police 3-1 in shootout.
Determination saw experience thrown out of the window.
In Division two MISCF-UFL trained for two months, only on weekends, and had a one week camp in Kuala Selangor but almost claimed the scalp of Terengganu Juniors.
MISCF-UFL took the lead, which shocked the gallery, but caved in during the last 15 minutes due to inexperience. It was their first tournament match as an outfit, but showed promise of a better season.
UniKL were far below previous season's strength, but still, coach Arul Selvaraj managed to rally his men to beat a full-time team in BJSS Juniors 2-0.
But Arul acknowledges that his side needs to win both matches this weekend to stay in the hunt for a top-four finish.
"We play PJCC Tigers and then Johor Juniors this weekend and need to win both matches. However, I predict SSTMI Thunderbolts and BJSS Thunderbolts to be in the drivers seat again, as they have a strong set-up," said Arul.