To get past a defending champion in a finale is not a cakewalk. Railways, however, came up with a scintillating performance to dethrone defenders Punjab 3-2 in the final of the 9th Senior National Men Hockey Championship 2019 on Sunday to claim the title. Both teams rallied cautiously in the first quarter as they kept the defences tight to prevent space in the striking circle.
With no potential circle penetrations made, the first quarter ended in a stalemate. But it was the defending champions who made the first breakthrough in the 23rd minute.
Rupinder Pal Singh gave that precious 1-0 lead with a perfect drag. Only minutes before that, striker Ramandeep Singh had come close to scoring what would have been a rollicking goal but he missed by inches.The setback did not deter the Railway Sports Promotion Board as they tightened their defence and upped their ante in attack.
The third quarter belonged to Harsahib Singh. His twin field goals in the 35th and 43rd minutes changed the complexion of the game. Nilakanta Sharma of the Junior World Cup fame was instrumental in the Railway Sports Promotion Board's attack. He tested Hockey Punjab's defence by making forays inside their striking circle and exposed them to a great extend.
Dilpreet Singh scored an important goal in the 57th minute to take Railway Sports Promotion Board lead to 3-1. Though Ramandeep finally converted a shot on goal after several attempts in the 60th minute, it was not enough to prevent Railways from claiming the title.
On the other hand, Petroleum Sports Promotion Board defeated Punjab and Sind Bank 4-1 in the clash for the bronze medal. Talwinder Singh (8th minute), Devinder Walmiki (13th), Harmanpreet Singh (49th) and Mandeep Singh (57th) scored for the winners whereas Gaganpreet Singh (51st) scored for Punjab and Sind Bank.
About the Author
Aditya Sahay, a former cricket reporter/writer and statistician, has shifted gears to other sports (primarily badminton, tennis, kabaddi, hockey, golf etc). While cricket remains his first love, he enjoys covering and writing on kabaddi, hockey and tennis. He dons Germanys jersey during FIFA and believes Dhoni Dhoni hai, isko (aur) mauka mila toh bahut aage jayega