As per the schedule in Valencia, Indian women team played their last match against a men’s club from the Netherlands on February 19, 2015. It provided a variation for India women’s hockey team and they gained invaluable practice from playing against an unusual combination. Though the visiting Indian women lost the match 1-4, they derived several positives from the match, which was played on a serious note for a full regulation time. The men’s team of the Dutch Club, Groningsche Cricket en Hockey Club (GCHC) took their task seriously against India’s national women’s hockey team. The Indian hockey team has been in Valencia for the last few days they have already played creditably against Spain in their two matches with Spain. The Hockey management in India has planned this preparatory tour ahead of FIH World League Round 2 to be played in New Delhi during March 07-21, 2015.
Led by captain Ritu Rani, Indian women’s team made a bright start against the men’s team and raided the Club’s goal area in the early minutes. The women ignored the fact that their opponents were strongly built men and devised ways to create goal scoring opportunities. The women also ensured that their defense was not found wanting in the face of attack by men from time to time. Despite the Indians’ best tactics, it was GCHC, who opened the scoring in the 8th minute. In a strong move, the men’s team combined well and scored from a field goal to go ahead 1-0. The goal came suddenly, when a GCHC forward entered the D and swung powerfully past the Indian goalkeeper. But the Indian women were not bothered as they continued with their game plan to create goal-scoring chances, whenever possible. In the 21st minute, the men’s team doubled their lead through another field goal.
Rather than getting dispirited, Indian women continued to find their passage in the Dutch territory and finally succeeded in their efforts. In the 28th minute, India’s forward Yendala Soundarya was in a great position, when Navjot Kaur sent her a promising cross. Soundarya took her time, collected herself and crashed a hard shot into the goal to reduce the deficit to 2-1. The goal served as an inspiration to Indian women, who did their best to come back into the game. But the Dutchmen kept raiding the India goal and took many close shots, which were saved by Indian defenders and the goalkeeper.
In the 36th minute, the Dutch men scored another field goal to take an unassailable 3-1 lead, which became 4-1 in the 64th minute. Despite attempts from either side to change the score, the match ended at 4-1 in favor of GCHC as the final buzzer went off.
India’s coach CR Kumar was extremely pleased with his team’s performance despite the defeat. Kumar felt that Indians turned out a reasonably good performance playing against a strongly-built men’s team. Even after the first two goals, the women were able to find a goal for themselves and missed several close chances during the course of the match. India’s team plays the next game against another Dutch Club, HDM, which is constituted of men and women players.
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