Haryana crowned champs

Ramneek-led squad registers facile win over Bombay in summit tie

Champions: Victorious Haryana women’s team celebrates after clinching the title in the 56th Senior national hockey championship at the KSHA stadium on Thursday. DH PHOTO

Narinder and Navneet laid the finishing touches to wonderful pieces of attack while a crafty Harpreet converted a penalty corner as the favourites outplayed a fighting Bombay 3-1, adding another National crown to the Hockey India title they won in January this year.

Tipped to go all the way without much of a problem following the pull out of rivals Railways, youthful Haryana showed why they are one of the most feared sides in the country, putting Bombay under pressure right from the onset. Sticking with their usual short-passing game, they rotated the ball beautifully, hardly allowing Bombay to get a foothold of the final.

Captain Ramneek, player of the final Harpreet and player of the tournament Navneet called the shots as Bombay searched desperately for answers in trying to stop the trio, which hardly let the ball slip from its possession. Haryana then gained a well-deseved lead in the eighth minute, thanks to fine piece of work from their skipper.

Ramneek, who set up the opening two goals and created three more scoring opportunities with her dazzling stick work, dribbled past three defenders on the right before whipping a pin-point cross into the circle, an alert Narinder calmly tapping it in.
With the goal in their kitty, Haryana grew in confidence and it needed Nishi Chowdhury’s moment of sheer brilliance to break their vice-like grip. The Bombay medio, impressive throughout the tournament, muscled her way past four defenders before smashing it past a stunned Haryana goalkeeper Nancy in the 14th minute.

Following the equaliser, the game opened up with both teams pushing hard for the lead. While Bombay was able to break the midfield dominance of Haryana, they simply found no way past their brick-like defence. Haryana then took  a 2-1 lead, Navneet completing a stunning counter-attack in the 38th minute before Harpreet put the match way beyond Bombay in the 59th minute.

“I am really delighted the young girls have lived upto the favourite status,” said coach Amarjit. “We lost most of players from the ‘A’ team due to the National camp in Delhi while a few more are appearing for the degree exams. However, these girls did a good job and it just shows the vast talent pool in Haryana.”

Results, final: Haryana: 3 (Narinder 8th, Navneet 38th, Harpreet 59th) bt Bombay: 1 (Nishi Chowdhury 14th).

Third-place play-off: Bhopal: 1 (xxx) bt Karnataka: 0.

Individual awards: Best goalkeeper: Shweta Shahi (Uttar Pradesh); Best half-back: Sushila Pukhrambam (Bombay); Best fullback: Balvinder K Mehra (Bhopal).

Best forward: Chaitra (Karnataka); Player of the final: Harpreet; Player of the tournament: Navneet.

Karbonn Mobile winners: Player of first semifinal: Sarita Hanuman (Bombay); Player of second semifinal: Pooja Singh (Bhopal); Player of final: Bharati (Haryana); Upcoming player: Muthamma (Karnataka); Player of the tournament: Ramneek (Haryana).

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