It was a sweet victory for the Malaysian Bar hockey team who managed to beat the Law Society of Singapore (LSS) 2-1 at the recently concluded annual Bench and Bar Games.
Since last year’s 2-2 draw in Singapore, where they met last, the Malaysian Bar lads were eager to come away with a win as host of the games.
In their commitment as host and for their preparations to meet the LSS team at the Indera Mahkota hockey stadium in Kuantan, the team were able to squeeze in eight friendly matches in April.
On match day, the first quarter ended scoreless despite both sides launching numerous attacks during the 15 minutes of play.
Singapore scored first in the more aggressive second quarter, converting a short corner in the 23rd minute to go ahead.
Just six minutes later though, the hosts were able to cancel out the deficit courtesy of Harvinder Singh’s goal which was supplied by Sarmeet Singh after he skilfully dribbled past seven Singaporean players.
With all to play for in the last two quarters, the Malaysian Bar team took control of the game and reeled in their opponents to tire them out before a final assault.
Despite a goalless third quarter, their waiting paid off in the fourth and final quarter when the host were awarded a short corner after an onslaught on the Singapore goal managed to draw a foul.
A shot that rebounded off the Singapore team’s goalkeeper saw the ball land in front of Imam Abu Said Nahrawi who made no mistake to give the Malaysians the lead in the 55th minute – five minutes before the umpire’s final whistle.
Malaysian Bar hockey team skipper Vijayaraj R. Kanniah said the match was a close one with Singapore fielding more young players than the Malaysian Bar team.
The former national junior player added that the victory against their traditional rivals LSS was a satisfying one after the 2-2 draw last year.
“The biggest mistake the Singapore players made was to rub the Malaysian players the wrong way by calling them ‘old fellows’ after scoring their first goal,” joked Malaysian Bar hockey team convenor Amritpal Singh.
Amritpal added that they aimed to repeat the same result in next year’s games which will be hosted in Singapore.
The Bench and Bar Games between Malaysia and Singapore is an annual sports event between the Malaysian Bar and LSS, which began in 1969 with just golf and cricket being played. Since then, the number of games have grown to include hockey, netball, basketball, bowling, cross country running, football, pool, table tennis, tennis, badminton, squash, volleyball, darts and even boat racing.
Including this year’s overall victory, the Malaysian Bar has won the games 27 times while both sides were declared joint winners in 2009 as a result of a tie in points.