The annual National’s Sports festival Hockey started off successfully for the 43rd time at the Astro turf. In this year’s competition there are nine Men’s teams seven Women’s teams participating in this tournament representing different provinces. In 2016 both Men’s and Women’s championships was won by Central Province and Western province were awarded the 1st runners-up in both Men’s and Women’s categories.
First match in the Men’s category for today was between Sabaragamuwa and North Western Provinces and this was one of the deciding matches in the Men’s category. As the match began both teams played a very balanced game but the unfavorable weather conditions disturbed the match at several times. However, Sabaragamuwa was able to obtain the first goal of the match by making a penalty corner within the goal area. North Western team was unable to make use of their offensive strategies as the first half ended. Therefore, Sabaragamuwa was leading by one goal.
As the second half began North Western Province started playing a man to man defensive game while implementing fast offensive tactics. This time, they were successful in it and North Western Province was also able to obtain one goal and the match ended 1-1. Both teams were awarded five penalty strokes to decide the team qualifying for the next round. North Western was able to win the strokes round by 5-3 and qualify for the next round.
The women’s category first semi-finals match was between Western and Southern Province. Every year, both these teams meet each other at the semi-finals and this match is the most deciding match in the tournament. As the match started Southern Province scored their first goal of the match and Western team seemed to be a little unsettled but as it moved forward, Western province scored goal after goal in the first half. The forwards in the Western Province team played very aggressively in the final half and they added another 3 more goals. Unfortunately, Southern could not overcome the opponent’s defence to add more goals. Therefore, Western province won the match by 5-1 and qualified for the final match in the tournament.
In the following girl’s semi-final match Central province was able to make an easy win against North province by scoring 12 goals. Unfortunately, North province could not get any goal. From the beginning of the match Central province was leading by scoring goal after goal and it seems that North players were comfortable with the ground conditions.
The Men’s category match which was supposed to be held in the evening was postponed due to unfavorable weather conditions.