Hunters Wallop the North Eastern Warriors 5-0

A brand New Year and the Hunters strode out with a renewed sense of purpose and confidence to wallop over the North Eastern Warriors 5-0 and storm to the top of the league on the first day of 2019. A healthy 3-point advantage suggests that they will stay in the top half of the league for a considerable time. However, the tie wasn’t as straightforward nor were it as one-sided as the score-line suggests.

After a confident start to the league, the Hunters hit a bit of a roadblock in their last game as the Awadh Warriors came up on top 4-1. So as they approached their first match of the New Year, a little bit of apprehension was to be expected. And it did show up in the opening exchanges as the other warriors of the league – the North Eastern Warriors – put one past the Hunters with a win in the mixed doubles match.

Kim Sa Rang and EomHye Won tried to make it an equal fight but the Warriors’ team of LM Chuen and Kim Na Ha clearly had a measure of them right from the start. A confident start gave them the opening game at 15-8, while the Hunters made a fight of the second game to force a golden point. But it were the Warriors who took the opening matching.

Lee Hyun Il had the responsibility of the trump match for the Hunters and a shaky first game left him on the ropes, and had he not held his nerve it could well have been a very different look to the result of the tie. But then, he did and that’s why he’s such a champion player. After losing the first game, he roared back to take the second one and romped home comfortably in the third.

This put the Hunters ahead, but just ahead.

Third tie of the evening was the Vodafone Super match between PV Sindhu and SainaNehwal – a clash much awaited and anticipated. And Sindhu was quick out of the blocks to establish a healthy lead. However, SainaNehwal is nothing, if not a fighter. She came thundering back to first equalize and then to take the game 11-15.

This clearly had the Hunters skipper rattled, and despite the Winter cold – she was clearly feeling the heat. But then she channelized her disappointment of losing the first game to absolutely romp home 15-9 and 15-6 to script a comprehensive win. If not for the first set resurgence, SainaNehwal was a bit too flat and Sindhu totally cantered to a win in the second and third games.

Two wins out of the three, and with the Hunters confident of a win, it was Mark Calouw’s turn to take the court for the Hunters. And going by the evidence, its been akin to a duck taking to water. He put on an absolute show for the fans – he roared, smashed, and enthralled the capacity crowd to go home victorious in straight games – 15-11 15-14.

And thus, the Warriors hadn’t just lost the trump but also the tie. A 4-0  lead on the night meant that the Hunters couldn’t be beaten. And the wounded Warriors just hadto be playing for a bit of pride.

With the result of the tie settled, the final match of the evening was an absolute humdinger, with wildly swinging request and equally wildly swinging fortunes for both teams. The Hunters eventually trumped 15-10 12-15 15-14 in a thrilling contest. The victory completed a 5-0 win for the Hunters, sending them to the top of the table with 17 points.

The Hunters will now head to Ahmedabad to take on the home team in their penultimate encounter, and then finish their league phase in Bangalore. On the evidence of things so far, they should surely look to extend their stay in Bangalore with a semi-finals spots definitely in the reckoning for the team from Hyderabad.

A mini break between this match and the next, should give the Hunters a good chance to rejuvenate some tired legs and come out all guns blazing as the league hits the business end of the season!