"We need to be able to turn up right from the starting whistle"
It was in total domination right from the very start as SCC sprung off into attack. All hopes for an early goal, the team in yellow showed no mercy in giving the Hollandse a break. It was as if it was a show of attack against defence. However, to everyone’s disbelief, SCC was unable to break the deadlock early into the first quarter.
“We were finding our rhythm. I was not really concerned as it always looked like we would get there eventually. Our forwards were getting into the right positions and balls were going to where we wanted as we discussed in our game plan. Perhaps a good lesson for the team that we need to be able to turn up right from the starting whistle. Tougher opponents may not be as forgiving,” as SCC coach Jeremiah mentioned in an interview with Vavel.
The second quarter commenced, and it looked no different from the first quarter. Attacks after attacks from SCC and still no chances were converted early into the second quarter. The team did not lose hope and finally broke the deadlock when Angus took hold of his opportunity, skilfully slithered with the ball into the D from the attacking third and took his shot, placing it right at the bottom left corner. 1-0 to SCC.
Not long after SCC found their break, they picked up the rhythm to finally slot another past the goalkeeper. This was made possible when Dineshraj Naidu picked up a loose ball in the attacking third, confidently shielded his way along the outer sides of the D before releasing a lifted line ball towards an open Tristan at the far post, who then saw his opportunity to secure his first goal of the game, with just a simple tap in.
Being 2-0 down, frustration kicked in for the players in orange, as they started pushing higher into the pitch and getting more attacks which was not evident in the minutes before. Their first goal scoring chance was almost converted from a powerful injection right outside the D which was deflected off towards the top corner of the goal and was beautifully denied by SCC’s curator Gugan right before the half-time whistle blew.
The third quarter started, and SCC looked hungrier than they did in the first half. Nothing seems to break down SCC’s Fariz in any way as he effortlessly skidded his way through the midfield with the ball. With a few twists and turns, the midfield maestro found Dinesh, who was making an open run towards the right side of the pitch and delivered the ball to him. Dinesh returned the ball back to Fariz and ran towards an open space inside the D. On the other hand, the captain of SCC understood the assignment and injected the ball right into the path of Dinesh’s run, which Dinesh then collected the loose ball and gave a powerful reverse hit into the back of the net. 3-0 to SCC.
There was no doubt Fariz was one of the players that stood out during the game, and an agreeable Jeremiah commended his performance as well, “we were missing a few of our more vocal leaders on the pitch and it was a concern for me. But we challenged Fariz, who was our captain for the game, that this was his time to step up as one of the senior players in the group. Fariz may be one of the younger lads in the team at 24 but he has been an integral part of our trophy laden squad from 2017. And boy did he step up, he let his hockey do the talking and led by example”.
He continued, “of course the occasional dishing of commands to the team during our pressing of opponents, something I am sure he [Fariz] will develop and be more confident in with more experience”.
Hollandse were not giving up, despite being 3-0 down. Right after conceding the third goal, for several attempts they went on the attack which finally paid off when Gugan’s late tackle resulted in a penalty stroke as an outcome. The shot was calmly executed, and it was the first in the evening for Hollandse. “I thought it was harsh that a stroke was awarded instead of a penalty corner, considering that the reverse happened for us in the first half,” as Jeremiah mentioned.
Without thinking much of the unfortunate luck, SCC redeemed themselves once again not long after the goal conceded. A tricky penalty corner which was too much for Hollandse to expect, saw Captain Fariz injected a hard and powerful drag pass towards Tristan, as Tristan got to that deflection and secured his brace for the evening.
That was not all for the evening, as Dinesh had to ensure he secured a brace, second to Tristan. As frustrated as Dinesh was having a couple of chances not being converted earlier in the game, redemption was given to Dinesh when he received a clear through ball on goal, leaving him one on one with the keeper. Calmness and composure got to him as he slotted his second for the evening into the bottom corner of the goal. The game ended with a score of 5-1.
“No different from any other games, to focus on ourselves and be ready right from the get go,” as Jeremiah mentioned ahead of their upcoming fixture.