Sunday January 6, 2013
MJHL to start a day earlier due to glitch in fixtures
By S. RAMAGURU
KUALA LUMPUR: The MHC-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League (MJHL) will now start on Thursday – a day earlier than planned.
This is due to a glitch in the fixtures, which was released at the team managers’ meeting yesterday.
The original fixtures had last year’s double champions SSTMI-Thunderbolt taking on Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) in the opening game on Friday.
But it was found that Thunderbolt would be facing their juniors, SSTMI Juniors, in the third week of the competition.
As this could lead to accusations of match-fixing, the organisers have decided to make the Thunderbolt versus SSTMI Juniors as the opening match on Thursday.
This means Thunderbolt will have to play three matches in as many days – against BJSS on Friday and Malacca High School on Saturday.
But Thunderbolt are not the only team affected as most of the teams in both divisions will also have to play two or three matches in a row.
The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) have agreed to review the fixtures from the second week onwards to see if they can rearrange some of the matches, especially for teams who have to travel far.
“The fixtures for the first week stay ... we’ll take another look at those after that. If can, we will adjust them and inform the teams. A number of teams have raised the issue of playing too many matches in a short space of time. We’ll look into it,” MHC competitions committee chairman M. Gobinathan said yesterday.
Twenty-eight teams have signed up for the MJHL this year – a record since the league was inaugurated in 1995.
Eight teams will play in Division One and the other 20 will be divided into two groups in Division Two.
The top six teams from Division One and top two from Division Two will then qualify for the knockout stage.
The MHC were also asked to explain why only two teams from the lower division would qualify for the knockout stage.
Gobinathan replied that this was to ensure “that there are only quality teams in the knockout stage”.
“This is the same format we used last year. We’d like to see good quality matches in the knockout stage. This format will remain. There is also no change to the prize money structure, which was increased last year,” he said.
“Teams will continue to get a grant of RM3,000 paid in two installments.”
The MJHL is slated to end on March 3.