Thursday, May 19, 2011

Too close to call..

BANDAR Penawar Sports School (BPSS) and UniKL will square off in a classic Junior Hockey League (JHL) final, which will be too close to call, at the Tun Razak Stadium tomorrow.
BPSS and UniKL drew 1-1 in the League match, and the university side went on to lift the League title only on a four- goal average.
For the record, UniKL won the Overall title and finished second in the League last year behind BPSS, and this season won the League title and are chasing a double in only their second JHL season.
“We have two strong reasons to wrest the Overall title from UniKL because they dethroned us as League champions, and now we would like to return the favour in the Overall final.
“The second reason is that the final will be the last time we will be playing under the BPSS banner, as next year the school’s name will be changed to Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School,” said BPSS coach Wan Roslan.
As for UniKL, they want to claim a double, and also prove to the hockey fraternity that their players have been groomed for the senior league.
“Of course we will be playing for the double on Saturday as it will be a feather in our cap as we are only two seasons-old in the JHL.
“However, the our bigger aim is to show that fielding players in the JHL has made them matured enough to play and make an impact in the Malaysia Hockey League next season, as that is the bigger picture that we have been planning for,” said UniKL manager Amir Azhar.
UniKL have fifteen Project 2013 players, while BPSS have 11 Project players -- making it really difficult for the coaches to plan for a surprise.
“Both the teams are basically made up of Project 2013 players and they know each others strengths and weak nesses.
“That is why I believe the team which comes up with a jolt, a surprise set-piece in the penalty corners, could land the title,” said UniKL coach S. Velappan.
UniKL have yet to be beaten since they started playing in the JHL, and they want to keep the proud record.
“We have some draws, but we never lost a match since making our debut in the JHL. And we would play to keep that record and hopefully achieve the double in style,” said Amir.
BPSS have scored a total of 59 goals, with 44 coming from field, 13 from penalty corners and two from penalty strokes. Their top scorer is Shahril Saabah who six field and eight penalty corner goals.
As for UniKL, they also scored a total of 59 goals with 30 coming from field, 27 from penalty corners and two from penalty strokes.
The university side’s top scorer is Zulhairi Hashim who tucke in a massive 17 penalty corners into the net.
SATURDAY -- Third-Fourth: Bandar Penawar Sports School Juniors v Bukit Jalil Sports School Juniors (Tun Razak Stadium, 6pm).
Final: Bandar Penawar Sports School v UniKL (Tun Razak Stadium, 8pm).

Achtung! in semis..

DEFENDING champions UniKL and Bandar Penawar Sports School (BPSS)-Thunderbolts are expected to treat their in-form opponents with respect and caution in the Junior Hockey League semi-finals today.
UniKL, led by 12 players from the Project 2013 squad, face Bukit Jalil Sports School Juniors (BJSS Jnrs) while BPSS Thunderbolts play BPSS Jnrs, both at the Tun Razak Stadium.
UniKL team manager Amir Azhar Ibrahim warned his players not to be complacent.
"Our key players failed to perform in our 9-0 quarter-final victory over MSSP-USM (Friday). The two-week lay-off after the last league game affected our play as our core players were with the Project 2013 squad," said Amir Azhar yesterday.
"We, however, have a good idea of our opponents' strengths and weaknesses, having beaten them 6-0 in the league stage."
Amir Azhar also hopes his side will kill-off their opponents with early goals.
"We must also score early to open up the game. We have to play quick and score goals as soon as possible," he added.
BJSS Jnrs, marshaled by six players from the national Under-16 squad, are out to uphold their school's proud track record in the tournament.
"We will neither hold back nor play cautiously. I want my players to maintain their discipline and focus on a good result," said BJSS Jnrs coach Lokman Yahaya.
He said his players must play without fear against UniKL.
"We need to play in such a way that will limit our opponents from scoring many goals. It will be tough but my players are also in a confident mood," added Lokman.
The other semi-final between BPSS-Thunderbolts and BPSS is also expected to be a fiery affair.
BPSS Jnrs coach Mohd Fakhrulnizam Baharuddin said his team will go all out to scalp the senior team.
"We must not show them too much respect. If we can upset BJSS then doing it again against our senior team is not impossible," he said.
Semi-finals -- Today: UniKl v BJSS Jnrs (4pm), BPSS Jnrs v BPSS-Thunderbolts (6pm) -- matches at Tun Razak Stadium -- AJITPAL SINGH