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Hockey champs begin title defence in style

8th December, 2017


SANDAKAN: Keningau boys’ and girls’ teams kick started their campaign in style on the first day of the hockey event at the 8th Sabah Games that unofficially got underway at the Sandakan Sports Complex yesterday.

The defending champions registered convincing wins over their respective opponents, with their boys’ team registering a comfortable 4-2 win over Kota Kinabalu while their girls’ squad trounced Telupid 3-0.

If their first match performances are of any indication, Keningau boys are certainly looking good to retain the gold medal they won in Tawau two years ago.

They could have ended the match with a bigger scoreline, but unfortunately, they squandered numerous goal-scoring opportunities.

Maybe, they realised what mattered most was the three points, since the competition is being played based on a round robin format among the seven competing districts.

Christopher Sitha @ Stephen drew first blood for the interior side from his field effort in the 12th minute. But their joy was short-lived as Kota Kinabalu scored the leveller a minute later through Morris Ramilan, also a field goal effort.

Hazlan Marcus restored Keningau’s lead at about the half-hour mark as they went into the half-time break taking a slender 2-1 lead.

After the break, Haikal Ahmad Syam extended Keningau’s lead with a double after scoring twice in the space of three minutes.

He netted his first in the 42nd minute before slotting the second two minutes later. Kota Kinabalu reduced the deficit late on with second-half substitute Adam Iskandar Azhari putting his name on the scoresheet.

The other two matches saw Lahad Datu and Kota Belud play to a two-all draw while Papar thrashed Beaufort 4-0. In the girls’ category, Keningau trounced Telupid 3-0 with goals coming from Christine Olivia Goden (2nd min), Aina Ruzana Mohd Azlan (33rd min) and Inka Shafika (44th min).

The other matches saw Tawau defeat hosts Sandakan 3-1, Kota Kinabalu and Kota Belud drew two-all and Tuaran blanked Beaufort 2-0.

Today, another seven matches will be played at the same venue.

In the morning, which involves all the girls’ matches, will see Kota Belud playing Tawau (6am), Beaufort taking on Kota Kinabalu (7.15am), Tuaran pitted against Keningau (8.30am) and Sandakan will face Telupid (9.45am).

In the afternoon session, the boys’ teams will take to the field where Kota Belud face Keningau (2pm), Beaufort versus Lahad Datu (3.15pm) and Papar taking on Sandakan (4.30pm).

Sabah Hockey Association secretary Avtar Singh when met at the venue was delighted to see that the first day of competition went on smoothly.

“Everything went on smoothly, except that some of the matches were played under the scorching sun. Apart from that, we are happy with how things went, and we hope the second day (today) will be the same,” he said.

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