SEREMBAN: Kelantan's Hamzah, Machang played their first game yesterday and in winning the match led four other teams, including defending champions Anderson of Perak, into the quarter-finals of the Champions Schools hockey tournament at the Seremban II Hockey Stadium.
The other three through to the last eight are St David of Malacca, Datuk Taha of Negri Sembilan and SAB College of Johor. In favourable positions to make the grade are Armed Forces Apprentice Training School (Afats) and Padang Midin of Terengganu.
Playing in Group C, Hamzah defeated Sultan Badlishah of Kedah 6-0. St David did not play yesterday but confirmed their place in the quarter-finals too because they defeated Sultan Badlishah 4-0 on Tuesday.
In Group A, Anderson confirmed their berth after Padang Midin defeated Penang Free School 3-2. Now Free School face the unenviable task of having the beat the champions to advance. If the Penang team fails to beat Anderson, Padang Midin, who were beaten 0-4 by the Ipoh side, will make the cut.
Afats 2-1 win over Kuala Perlis in Group B confirmed Datuk Taha's place in the quarter-finals while in Group D, SAB College booked their berth with a 2-0 win over Seberang Temerloh.
The other three berths will be decided today.
The highlight of yesterday's action was the match between Padang Midin and Free School. And the Penang side have only themselves to blame. Two of the goals they conceded were results of defensive errors.
Padang Midin scored their goals through Mohamed Najib, Shahrin Mohamed and Mohamed Fazril Razak in the 13th, 20th and 60th minute respectively. The scorers for Free School were Azrul Azrin Oman (15th) and Mohamed Amir Asraf (33rd).
Free School manager Yap Gark Soo said: My players allowed their minds to wander despite having the upper hand. We face a tough task ahead. Nothing short of a win over Anderson can help us.
Sultan Badlishah became the first team to pack their bags and go home after the rout by Hamzah who will play against St David today in a match to decide who top the group and avoid Anderson in the quarter-finals.
Mohamed Firdaus and Mohamed Aswan Che Min scored a brace for Hamzah. The other scorers were Zulkarnain Che Azis and Shahrul Annuar Ibrahim.
Afats kept alive their hopes to qualify for the quarter-finals with the slim win over Kuala Perlis. Having lost 1-8 to Datuk Taha in their opening match, a draw would have sent them home.
They took two-goal lead and then had to ward off a fightback from the Perlis side to stay in the fight. Edwar Zulkifli scored from the penalty corner in the 31st minute and Razali Hazemi made a penalty stroke conversion in the 59th minute.
Kuala Perlis scored a field goal in the 60th minute through Tarmizi Harun. They had six penalty corners after that but drew blanks. The result left them with the task to beat Datuk Taha today to pip Afats to a place in the quarter-finals.