Sunday, March 4, 2012

Firhan the Thunderbolts saviour

FILE PIC: Firhan Ashaari (looking up) celebrates scoring the third goal in Malaysia's 3-2 win against Japan in the Ordos Asia Cup bronze battle. Yesterday, he virtually handed Thunderbolts their first JHL double.

TENGKU Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI) Thunderbolts finally landed their Junior Hockey League double with help from national drop-out Firhan Ashaari at the Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh yesterday.
UniKL Young Guns fell 2-1 as Firhan scored the equalsier and then manufactured a penalty corner, which he duly pushed in from the sideline, for Aminudin Zain to drag home the winner.
The Milo Cup final was a cracker, as both teams shared the JHL silverware since 2010 and failed to land the double, but Thunderbolts were the better side while UniKL bungled seven penalty corners to finally finish empty handed.
“This is a real monumental moment for the sports school as we finally lifted the league and Milo Cup titles. I must credit the timely inclusion of Firhan in the knock-out stages which gave us the extra boost today (yesterday), said SSTMI coach Wan Roslan.
The gold medal came with a purse of RM25,000 for Thunderbolts, while UniKL pocketed RM15,000.
UniKL Young Guns shocked the gallery as early as the sixth minute, when they salvaged a complicated penalty corner set-piece to surge ahead.
Thunderbolts did well to defend the first penalty corner of the match, but the ball fell awkwardly towards Fahed Saifullah at the top of the semi-circle and he sent home a cracker to stanch an early lead.
The score remained until the half-time, as both sides muffed chances, with UniKL looking the more determined side.
And after the breather, the 1,000 odd fans did not have to wait long as in the 41st minute national senior drop-out Firhan Ashaari weaved himself past three defenders and then the goalkeeper to slot in the equaliser from close range.
Firhan’s attachment with the national team and the tours he played with them turned out to be a blessing for Thun derbolts, as he then won a penalty corner in the 62nd minute and the Johor side took the lead.
This time, Thunderbolts normal flicker Shahril Saabah moved aside, and instead, Aminudin Zain flicked in the crucial goal.
UniKL then were given a golden opportunity to take the match into extra-time as with four minutes on the clock, Thunderbolts’ Hafiz Seleman was shown the yellow, while Shahril Saabah the green and they only had nine players on the pitch.
However, clever defending and overhead throws killed the clock and Thunderbolts were finally crowned as double champions.
RESULTS -- Final: UniKL 1 SSTMI Thunderbolts 2; Third- Fourth: Bukit Jalil Sports School 3 MBI Anderson 1.


Best Player Overall: Syafiq Zulzairin (UniKL) RM1,500
Man-of-the-match Final: Firhan Asharri (Thunderbolts) RM1,500
Best Goalkeeper: Adi Fazri Abdul Rahim (MSSPP-USM) – RM1,500
Top-scorer: Shahril Saabah (SSTMI-Thunderbolt - 18 goals) – RM1,500
Fairplay: Kedah HA Juniors - RM4,000

BJSS salvage pride with bronze

BUKIT Jalil Sports School (BJSS) salvaged some pride when they beat MBI Anderson 3-1 in a six minute blitz at the Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh yesterday.
incidentally, BJSS also beat the Ipoh side with the same margin in their League encounter in Division One.
However, the premier sports school in the country were shocked in the 37th minute when Akmal Tajuddin scored off a reverse stick effort.
But they kept their composure, and scored three goals in six minutes when Shahiram Zali equalised in the 54th off a field goal and three minutes later they wrestled the lead off a penalty corner attempt from Nik Aiman Nik Rozemi.
Then, Zizi Azwan scored from top of the semi-circle i the 60th minute to hand his school the bronze medal. BJSS collected RM12,000 for finishing third while MBI-Anderson received RM10,000.
The match was played on a blue artificial pitch which was laid recently. Blue will also be the colour of the London Olympics pitch, where a yellow coloured ball will also be use for the first time Olympics.

Ireland 9 Czech 0

IRELAND comfortably overcame the Czech Republic 9 - 0 in the second of a three match series at the National Hockey Stadium in UCD tonight.
Irelands intent was clear from the start with Mitch Darling opening the scoring within the first minute from open play. Michael Watt made it 2-0, 4 minutes later with some excellent interplay into the circle.
Ireland continued to dominate the Czechs and were rewarded on 18 minutes with a superb reverse stick for Darlings second of the night.
With the Irish team camped in the Czech half Timmy Cockram compounded the Czechs first half misery with a superb reverse stick from the edge of the circle to the make it 4- 0 at half time buzzer.
The second half started in much the same vein as the first with Ireland attacking the Czechs fragile defence and it was Darling who made it 5-0 and secured his hat trick on the 44th minute from open play.
Another piece of fine interplay in the 49th minute takes Darlings tally to 4 for the night. Geoff McCabe celebrating his 100th cap made it 7 -0 as again the Czech defence was opened up by Irish quick passing.
Jermyn and Conor Harte rounded off a forgettable night for the Czechs with two penalty corners on 60 minutes and 68 minutes respectively to end the match 9-0 in Irelands favour.
Ireland will take to the pitch once again tomorrow at 8pm in UCD as they continue preparations for the Electric Ireland FIH Road To London which begins on Saturday March 10th in UCD.
Ireland 9 (4) Darling(4 op) 1min, 18min 44min, 49 min Watt 5 min (op), Cockram 28 min (op) McCabe 54 min (op) Jermyn 60 mins (PC) C. Harte 68 min (pc)
Czech Rep 0 (0)

Irish Hockey Association media release