By Noor Farhan/Red Sports. Photos by Marvin Lowe/Red Sports
Venuraam of VS gets challenged for the ball by a Teck Whye defender. (Photo 1 © Marvin Lowe/Red Sports)
Sengkang Sports and Recreation Centre, Thursday, April 7, 2011 — Victoria School (VS) clinched the 2011 B Division Hockey Finals in style, scoring a golden goal through Hamizan to win 3-2 over Teck Whye Secondary School. The game had ended 2-2 after overtime.
The win represents Victoria School’s second B Division hockey title, their first title coming way back in 1981.
The Teck Whye players, the majority of whom play in the Hockey Premier League with the Indian Association (IA), matched the Victorians in terms of pace and skill, but were unable to find a breakthrough against Frederic Martens’ well-organised side.
It was Teck Whye who notched the first goal of the game early in the first half through Jia Le from open play, after good work by his midfielders seized an opening in the VS defence.
Victoria’s Mahes scored the equalizer and again found the net through an excellent drag-flick from a short corner in the second half to take a 2-1 lead. He was assisted by his brother, Venuraam, who set up both goals for him with excellent push outs.
With five minutes to the final whistle, up popped Teck Whye’s Guan Zhi who scored a magnificent top-corner goal through a short corner set piece.
Teck Whye, sporting black armbands in memory of former player Amirul who passed away after an illness two years ago, were unfortunate to see their good play unravel in extra-time.
A lapse in the rearguard enabled Victoria’s Hamizan to ghost into space and slot the winning goal 30 seconds into extra-time after an assist from teammate Yusuf.
“It was a very good game, both sides were open and you could see a lot of positive intent and I think we were a bit luckier than the other team,” noted Victoria coach Frederic Martens, who has been in the hockey scene for about 40 years.
“We never intended to play defensively from the start. We wanted to attack and score (throughout the game),” he added.
Noting the strong teams they had to come up against en route to the final, such as Jurong West and Sengkang Secondary, he was pleased overall with how his team performed in the tournament.
“(Teck Whye) were good, very good in fact, and they possessed very disciplined players who played well in the game.
“We missed a lot of chances, I would say, especially in the first five to ten minutes where we missed one or two chances but at the end of the day, the boys stuck through and won the game and that is all you can ask for,” he said.
Team captain Gerald Goh credited sticking to the game plan as the main reason for his team’s victory over Teck Whye.
“We prevented a few of their key players from doing what they do best. It helped us a lot and it was smooth going from then on,” he added.
Teck Whye coach Manjit Singh pointed towards the fixtures congestion, with his IA-based players having a Premier League match just four days ago, as a factor that could have caused the defeat.
“I’ve got a very small squad, and I do not have many players for me to rotate. Fatigue was a fact, as you can see in the later part of the game, the boys got very tired,” he said.
“All they had to do was to stay focused throughout and they could have prevented the goal. But it’s alright, they will grow up and learn from games like these.”
“For (Teck Whye), being in the final is already a fantastic achievement for them,” he concluded.