Terengganu Hockey Team retain TNBMHL title

Kuala Terengganu (4 September, 2015): Terengganu Hockey Team (THT) celebrated a 5-4 victory over Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) to clinch the TNBMHL 2015 Premier Division title at the Batu Buruk Hockey Stadium in Kuala Terengganu tonight.

It was a night to cherish for the 5,000 fans as they cheered on THT players – especially their two-goal hero Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin and coach Sarjit Singh who put the 6-2 Charity Shield humiliating defeat against KLHC behind  to receive the Premier Division Trophy from Terengganu Menteri Besar, Dato’ Seri Haji Ahmad Razif Abdul Rahman.

All Terengganu needed tonight was a draw to lift the title as little separated the two teams. THT had amassed 24 points after nine matches and KLHC pooled 23 points going into the finale – an advantage of a single goal difference.

And at the final whistle, it was THT who emerged champions and in the process picked the winners cheque of RM70,000 while KLHC went home with RM50,000 richer and a bruised pride.

“From the beginning we know that this game is going to be very difficult. We had expected this match to be very close. Our target was to get three points and win this match. Unfortunately we missed two penalty strokes and one open goal,” said Sarjit.

“Nevertheless we are excited with this win as mentally we came back strongly to put KLHC on the off side. We will now look towards the TNB Cup,” he added.

The hosts, double champions last year, were down by a fourth minute field goal by Nabil Fiqri Mohamed Noor who gave the four-time champions the lead with a superbly executed field goal.

Buoyed by the presence of Dato’ Haji Ahmad Razif Abdul Rahman, State Exco chairman for Youth and Sports, Dato’ Rozi Mamat, President of Terengganu HA Dato’ Wan Ahmad Nizam Abdul Hamid and an estimated 5,000 hockey-loving fans from all walks of life, THT were back on the groove and firing on all cylinders moments later.

They earned six penalty corners which showed their dominance in the first quarter over KLHC. The fans celebrated after Azlan Misron equalised in the fifth minute for THT but this was cancelled after KLHC had called for a referral to protest the goal.

But by the eighth minute, THT went into celebration mode when Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin nailed home the much needed equaliser from a penalty corner and Mohd Fitri Saari got the fans all excited once again by converting a penalty stroke in the 15th minute. THT led 2-1 for the first time and the fans loved it.

Sarjit Singh’s THT could have extended the lead in the second quarter but squandered two open chances. First it was Mohamed Firhan Ashari who failed to beat goalkeeper Roslan Jamaluddin in a one-to-one situation followed by Fitri Saari who blew away a 27th minute penalty stroke.

Firhan, however, made amends with his earlier blunder to put THT 3-1 on top with a 32nd minute field goal only to see KLHC bounce back to narrow the gap 3-2 through drag-flick specialist Razie Rahim two minutes later. The match turned into high tenacity after this but it was KLHC who punctuated the night with another of Razie’s penalty corner goal to level at 3-3 in the 47th minute.

Not to be outdone, THT went on the attack and were rewarded with a penalty corner in the 49th minute and Faizal Shaari knocked home to make it 4-3 – his 14th goal in the Premier Division but KLHC were up and running the very next moment to draw level at 4-4 as Muhammad Noor Faeez packed home from a penalty corner much to the cheers of KLHC.

However, the 2010-2013 champions could not find the winning goal after THT blew away another  penalty stroke, this time Firhan’s push from the spot was saved by Roslan in the 53rd minute.

But the night belonged to THT. With the minutes ticking away, THT were awarded a last minute penalty corner and Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin made it count with a simple push past Roslan to give the host the Premier Division title for the second consecutive year.

At the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil, Sapura downed Universiti Kuala Lumpur 3-2 to finish third in the Premier Division and a cheque of RM40, 000.

It was UniKL who took a 2-0 lead with goals from Muhammad Sufi Ismail (11th) and Muhammad Nazmi Farizal (33rd) but Sapura hit back with three goals – Dangerous Lee providing the early push in the 40th minute while Muhammad Marhan Jalil (58th) and Pakistan’s Muhamad Imran (59th) charged through with two late goals to salvage Sapura’s pride.

Tenaga Nasional Berhad defeated Maybank 2-1 to finish fourth.

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