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AHL 2016: Indian juniors finish fourth (10/9/2016)
--s2h team
India juniors go down to NSW Waratahs in Bronze medal play-off

Perth, Australia, 9 October 2016: India’s Junior Men’s team went down 1-5 to the NSW Waratahs in the Australian Hockey League Bronze medal match today.

The game started off at a fast pace, and India, playing a bit defensively were caught out early by NSW’s quick movement and sharp passing, going to a Lachlan Sharp goal in the 6th minute.The Waratahs’ defence held strong to take them into the first break with the lead.

In the second quarter, the Waratah's Tom Craig hit India with goal in the 16th minute and then Landon Morley in the 23rd minute. India also suffered with Varun Kumar getting a green card immediately after and conceding the numerical advantage. It wouldn’t matter though as Gurjant Singh pegged back NSW’s dominance with a PC conversion in the 25th minute to bring the deficit down to two as they went into halftime.

India had made a turnaround in the semi final against Victoria Vikings, and came out of halftime raring to go. In the semifinal match, juniors had stormed back from a 3-0 deficit courtesy of a Varun Kumar hat trick to take the game to a shootout after regulation time. Perhaps aware of this late surging ability, NSW played cautiously, defending deep and holding the ball for long periods when they did effect turnovers. India rushed hard and were constantly creating circle penetrations but were unable to find the final pass. Right at the end of the quarter NSW’s Landon Morley converted from a PC to take them into the final break leading 4-1.

India came out in the final quarter looking for the comeback but, NSW’s deep lying defensive structure denied them any width and opportunity to do so. The Waratahs capitalised on India’s attacking intent to add another goal to their tally with a counter attack in the final minute of the game via Tom Craig.

Speaking after the game Coach Harender Singh said, “We use the AHL as a preparatory tournament for the Junior World Cup later this year and its is quite heartening to see that the boys have held their own against the teams in the league. At crucial times we have made some small mistakes, but we’d rather make them now and learn and correct them, than in Lucknow in December.”

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