The Indian women’s hockey team finished their Valencia tour on Monday with a closely-contested 2-1 victory over a team of German women. It was a fitting end to the 10-day long trip of the women’s hockey team to Valencia, where all practice matches were played. The historic city is the third largest in Spain after Madrid and Barcelona. The city’s unique geographic environment offers more than 300 days of sunshine every year and it is therefore ideal for scheduling practice sessions. Indian women made use of the Field Hockey Training Camp, which is permanent structure designed to house hockey players wanting extensive practice. The blue-colored hockey pitch is an FIH approved surface conforming to the Astroturf System 5. On non-playing days the women could use of the multi-purpose rooms and a well-equipped gym. The training camp suited the needs of India’s hockey contingent, which included players, coach and members of the support staff. In an earlier article by this author on these pages, it has already been mentioned that Hockey India planned this tour for team preparations ahead of the FIH World League Round 2, to be held in New Delhi during March 07-15, 2015.
After two matches with Spain on arrival and two more against two separate Dutch Hockey Clubs last week, Indian women played their last game against Germany on Sunday. The Indians came out creditably against Spain, drawing one game and winning the next. Against the Dutchmen’s clubs, India’s women lost but still found something to cheer about. Their last tour fixture ended as fruitful as the women played with aplomb and though the Germans gave them a tough fight, Indians were relentless in the field for 60 minutes before emerging as the winning side.
The start of the match was cautious as no team wanted to yield the ground to the other. There were raids from both teams in each other’s territory but such forays would not result in any goals in the first half. Regardless, the pace of the match was quick and intent clear from both ends despite the first half ending goalless.
In the second half, India’s Deepika opened the account for India through a superb personal effort that culminated into a field goal in the 40th minute. The goal brought the game alive as the German women made attacks on India’s goal in an attempt to find an equalizer. Having drawn the first blood, India displayed tenacity through brilliant stick work and kept the ball in their possession for long. In another example of spectacular hockey, Amandeep Kaur doubled India’s lead by successfully converting a penalty corner in the 55th minute. Germany raised the level of their game and entered the Indian circle several time after conceding 2 goals. Such effort from the Germans put extensive pressure on the Indian goal in the last five minutes of the match. Finally, in the 59th minute, Marie Mavers ran hard and breaking through the Indian defense, scored a field goal for her side. With not much time left afterwards, the game ended with India winning 2-1.
India’s tour to Valencia thus ended on a successful note. To cheer the contingent, India’s Ambassador to Spain, Mr. Vikram Misri and Secretary Mr. Chander Parkash Gandhi were present on the occasion.