KUCHING: The indoor rules tournament organised by Hockey Association of Sarawak ended at the Sarawak Hockey Stadium last Sunday with Excalibur and Hot Girls coming on top.
The event drew a good response from various school clubs with a total of 20 teams in the fray.
The boy’s draw saw seven teams in the Under-14 and five in the U16 categories.
There were four teams each in the U14 and U16 girls draw.
After a tiring first round under the hot blue sky on Saturday, Paku A, Paku B, Excalibur and Tebakang advanced to the U14 boy’s play-off round on Sunday.
Paku A beat their ‘B’ team 3-0 while Excalibur overcame Tebakang 2-0 in the semi-finals.
In the final, Paku A did just enough to deny Excalibur the title with a 1-0 win.
The U16 Excalibur boys, however, showed their class with an easy victory over Tanjung Batu in their final.
They opened scoring quickly and forced the use of the mercy rule when they sounded the board thrice with no reply.
In the girl’s draw, Bintulu’s Fighters HC beat Paku A 2-0 to take the U14 crown while Hot Girls emerged as U16 champion after handily defeating Cargo 3-0 with the mercy rule implemented.
Former international Catherine Lambor coached both Hot Girls and Paku.
“I am happy with how we did achieve our target to win the U14 title,” said Julian Lau, Fighters HC coach.
His team, which took the third spot in the girl’s U16, won the Kuching Hockey Fest title recently.
“I am disappointed we lose the final as we beat Paku in the first round. I guess the boys were tired,” said Celestine Michael, Excalibur U14 coach.
As the tournament was basically designed to make the players use just the basic skills, he was pleased to note that it showed which of his players had the skills.
“I am really grateful to secretary Kangot Awan and the HAS for staging this competition,” he said.
“We need more competitions like these, especially for the younger players, if we are to improve our standard.”
Tanjung Batu coach Ali Rahman was left to rue his boys losing in the U16 final.
“We were undefeated in the first round so it is disappointing to lose in the final,” said Ali, who is also SMK Bako hockey coach.
Despite that, he had a fruitful outing as the teams he coached also finished third in the U14 and second in the U16 for girls.
“I knew we could win this tournament and the boys lived up to our expectations,” said Norden Tikot, Excalibur U16 coach.
The team is the club team from SMK Penrissen, the powerhouse in school hockey.
Like the other coaches he approached the tournament as a learning experience for his charges.
“The individual skills are there but they are lacking in teamwork. We also seem to lack focus, especially in the first match of a tournament,” he observed.