The outcome of some of the games on day 4 of the Sultan of Johor Cup had the possibility of locking in some teams for the key games on the final day.
Australia had won all three of their matches and if they could beat India would be assured a place in the gold medal match on Saturday. History shows that fortunes fluctuate between these two teams in this event, and both teams knew how important a match it would be. A win to India and they would still have a chance of playing in that match
A remarkable first quarter saw India take the lead through Boby Singh in the 2nd minute Australia equalize a minute later through Liam Hart and then take the lead through Jack Holland after good build up play by Trent Symms. Then Sharda converted a penalty corner to pull India level.
India took the lead again two minutes after the first break when Hundal deflected past Snowden. However, a minute later India’s keeper Mohith was shown a yellow card and conceded a penalty stroke that Josh Brooks converted. We were tied up at 3-3 at half time.
India took the lead again in the second half When Sharda flicked home his second from a penalty corner, but once again Australia came back, and Brooks scored from a penalty corner.
In the 49th minute Jake Lambeth put Australia ahead when he slotted home a rebound on a penalty corner. It looked as if Australia had stolen the match. In the last-minute India started an attack from inside their own half which involved five players and was rounded off by Amandeep who slotted home the equalizer with 45 seconds left.
The second match would see Great Britain take on hosts Malaysia who were yet to register a win. This was again a must win game for both sides. Great Britain needed to win and hope Australia beat India, that would mean that they could still defend their title, as destiny would be in their own hands with their last pool game being against India.
Malaysia on the other hand wanted a win to try and climb out of last place and try and avoid playing for the wooden spoon.
Great Britain set their stall early when Tom Moorehouse smashed a rasping shot home in just the second minute. From that point on in the first half it was one way traffic as Newbold added a second after he deflected home a direct pass into the circle.
The start of the second half and Great Britain converted a penalty corner to make it 3-0 before good work along the baseline by Alex Pendle resulted in a tap in to make it 4-0 to Great Britain.
With the game all but over Malaysia suddenly started to play in the last quarter and a Danish Aiman filed goal after good bui8lod up play seemed to lift the players. Two minutes later they had a second from a Shahmie penalty corner, but it was too little too late for the hosts as they fell to another defeat.
Great Britain will live to fight another day and their final match against India will be a must win game for both teams.
The final game saw Japan and South Africa meet. Both teams have very different styles, and both have shown that they will never give up. A South African win would see them vying for a place in the gold medal match, while a win to Japan would make the last round interesting and would ensure that the final round of games will all have meaning.
Both teams were extremely cautious throughout the match and few opportunities were created as defences dominated.
The deadlock was finally broken when Yamato Kawahara, broke up a South African attack inside his own circle. He carried the ball out and played a quick one-two before advancing into the South African half. He played a pass to his captain Ikumi Saeki, continued his run into the circle top receive a return pass and then fired an unstoppable shot past Govender in goal to give Japan the lead and score what proved to be the winner.
After today the only things that are confirmed are that Australia will contest the gold medal match and Malaysia will play off for the wooden spoon. All other league positions will be decided on Friday.