Title chase on hold for four teams as league takes a break

KUALA LUMPUR: Four teams had the chance to go clear at the top of the MHF-Milo-NSC-Admiral Junior Hockey League Division One table in last weekend's action but they are now tied on points as the competition takes a three-week break. 

The frontrunners for the title are Tenaga Nasional, Telekom Pahang, Malaysia Sports School and Anderson-XYBase. They all have 13 points after six matches and are separated by goal difference. 

Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (MPPJ) are one point adrift but they have played one match more and unlikely to win the title. One of their two remaining matches is against Telekom Pahang. The other is against MSS Terengganu. 

The four leading teams were up against each other last week and the matches ended in 1-1 draws. Anderson played against Malaysia Sports School in Ipoh while Telekom took on Tenaga in Kuantan. With each team having another three matches to play, the title is expected to be decided only in the last weekend of action. 

Tenaga coach K. Rajan said that the three-week break was a welcome relief. 

“We have a good chance to win the title but it will be close. We have time to work on our game during the break. The other teams will also be using the break to reorganise themselves,” he said. 

The competition is taking a break for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup tournament, which will be played in Ipoh from March 22-30. The Tenaga team will also be in Ipoh to watch the action. 

“It will be a learning mission for us too. We will train in the morning in Ipoh and watch the matches in the evening. The team will benefit form the trip,” said Rajan. 

Tenaga are happy that they came away from Kuantan with a draw against Telekom. They have relatively easier opponents than the other contenders in the remaining matches – against Anderson, MPK-Olak and Srii Aroma. 

Telekom will be up against tough opponents – MPPJ, Anderson and Yayasan NS. 

Telekom coach Izwan Suhardy said: “We have a chance to win the title but it will not be easy. We have to go all out to win all three matches.” 

Of the four frontrunners, Anderson have the most difficult task. Besides Tenaga and Telekom, they have to play against MSS Terengganu. 

MSS Terengganu, MPK-Olak and MPPJ are in a battle of their own to qualify for the last eight. The top four teams need just a point to advance – leaving two more places in the quarter-finals for Division One teams. 

In Division Two, Malacca MC and Sports School Juniors have virtually claimed the two berths to the quarter-finals. They have 24 points each from eight straight wins. They will play against each other on April 6 and the match is expected to decide the Division Two winners. 

Competition resumes on April 4. 

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