Jackson and Middleton the toast of Ranchi

Ashley Jackson rounds off a successful Hockey India League 2015

Great Britain and England’s Ashley Jackson was the star of the show yesterday when he lifted the 2015 Hockey India League trophy for Ranchi Rays. The skipper also scooped the most valuable player and top goal scorer awards for the competition; he was the only player to record two hat-tricks in the tournament, hitting the target 12 times.

It was a closely contested final between Ranchi and the Jaypee Punjab Warriors in which Jackson’s national teammate Barry Middleton scored the equaliser in the 57th minute to tie the scores at 2-2 and take the game to a shoot-out. Full of confidence, Jackson made his effort look easy as he beat Jaap Stockmann in the Warriors’ goal. With Australia’s Tyler Lovell in the Rays'goal saving three times in the shootout, the stage was set for Jackson to step up and net the winner, which he duly did to give Ranchi a 3-2 win and the title.

Speaking at the end of the game, the Rays head coach Harendra Singh was full of praise for his skipper who he believes is a true leader. "Ashley is very calm, composed and competitive. That makes him a very good team man. He never shies away from responsibilities."

Singh also praised Great Britain Skipper Middleton, saying “Middleton played a big role in forming the spirit and structure of the team."

The title brings to a close an excellent tournament for the Great Britain duo who are now on their way back to England to resume training at Bisham Abbey ahead of a busy summer of action for their country. You can see both Jackson and Middleton at Lee Valley as they line up with their Great Britain team mates to take on Germany in the Nations Cup in April. All the details, including how to buy tickets are here.  

For all the details of the competition, visit the Hockey India League website. Or if you would like to watch highlights, click here.