England international and skipper, Ashley Jackson led from the front and scored a brace for the Ranchi Rays in their opening fixture of the Hockey India League at the Kalinga Stadium, Bhubneshwar against Kalinga Lancers.
The result, however, didn’t go as per the visiting team’s likings as they went down 6-3 in an exciting opening fixture of the HIL’s third season. Ranchi were in the hunt until the final three minutes when goals from Mohammad Amir Khan and Devindar Walmiki sealed the match for the hosts.
Barry Middleton scored the first goal for the Rays in the first quarter and levelled the match, after the Lancers took the lead through a touch of luck. The Lancers increased their lead to two goals in the second quarter but Ranchi didn’t lose hope and kept fighting.
They were soon rewarded in the third quarter when Jackson’s dragflick whistled into the goal and he reduced the margin to just one goal. But, moments later the home side restored their two goals advantage.
Jackson was again on the scoresheet when he converted yet another penalty corner in the final quarter. The match could have swung in Ranchi’s way but some individual brilliance saved the day for the Lancers.