Hockey 5s – the new hockey phenomenon that is taking the rest of Europe by storm – made its highly anticipated debut in Malta, when a one-day friendly tournament was organized by HAM, in what would end up being a great advert for hockey on the Island. Despite Floriana Young Stars not participating, no fewer than seven teams battled it out on a beautiful Sunday morning, which eventually saw Qormi Yellows crowned as winners of the tournament. They defeated one of White Hart’s teams in the final by a score of 2-0.
Before the tournament commenced, players and coaches were briefed about the rules of the new game, appropriately nicknamed ‘Rush Hockey’ in the UK. Matches of 15 minutes were played and this allowed for bursts of quick and highly entertaining hockey.
After their Challenge Cup victory last week, Qormi continued to show why they are the team to beat at the moment. They won all of their matches and conceded only one goal in the process. Credit was also due to White Hart, whose first team pushed Qormi the furthest. However, they came up short after a great run to the final which saw them top their group by beating Qormi Blacks in an exhilarating 3-2 win.
The tournament was played in a friendly atmosphere where all teams did their part to make the day a pleasant and memorable one. When the third match of the day ended in a 1-1 draw, each team had a player withdrawn for a two-minute period and this continued until both teams were left with 2 players (one goalkeeper and one outfield player) standing. This made for a great moment with laughs and banter all over the complex as Simon Baldacchino Barthet scored the winning goal after rounding the White Hart goalkeeper. Thus, Sliema Hotsticks beat White Hart in a thrilling 22 minute overtime match.
Staring from the 2014/2015 season, the new Hockey 5s will be implemented to replace the old 9-a-side format. Whilst the National League remains the highlight of the hockey season, today’s successful tournament will surely have hockey enthusiast’s keeping a close eye on the Hockey 5s league as it unfolds.
Want to see the rest of the photos from the Hockey 5s One-Day Tournament? Check out the gallery here!