Chandigarh: Champions of Hockey India League 2016 had a dismal performance in the Hockey India League season 2017. The previous year champions finished at the bottom of point table in the recently concluded season.
The champions to boast their defence and to optimise the penalty corner opportunities had roped in the Dutch drag flicker, Van Der Weerden Mink. The penalty corner expert lived up to the expectations as his conversion proved the difference in two matches.
The Sardara Singh and Mark Knowles led team could muster only four wins out of their10 encounter. To add to the wretched outing season the Warriors were not able to draw a single game this season. Even though Ranchi Rays and Delhi Waveriders (who eventually made to finals) had less wins than the Chandigarh-based team but still riding on the points achieved by the drawn game they took the lead in the points table. Also, but went horribly wrong for the Warriors was the goal difference. The Sardara Singh led team had the worst goal difference of minus 14. Only, they were followed by Kalinga Lancers with minus 8.
The Barry Dancer mentored team throughout season stuck to their same known defensive strategy. The team match after match came under pressure in the dying minutes. The team in their first encounter lost to the point table leaders Dabang Mumbai 10-4. In the next, match the put up a impressive performance against two time winners Ranchi Rays. But the defensive tactics brought them to close game in the third and fourth affair against Kalinga Lancers (6-5) and Delhi Waveriders (3-2).
The strategy of Dancer was decoded in the next match as they lost to Ranchi Rays in a slow match at their own turf at Chandigarh (1-0). The latter part of the tournament saw them with no win.
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