PSPB claim double crown

Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB) men extended their reign over the Barna Ballack Cup, while their women regained the Jayalakshmi Cup in the team finals of the 75th Senior National table tennis Championships here on Thursday.

While the men’s side trounced West Bengal 3-0, their women counterparts defeated North Bengal with similar scoreline at the Patliputra Sports Complex.

PSPB women had very badly lost to Maharashtra A at Lucknow in 2009 and at Raipur to Delhi last year, and there was doubts over their temperament.

In fact, there were a few occasions in Thursday’s final that gave rise to a similar situation, particularly when national champion K Shamini took on the challenge of North Bengal’s Sagarika Mukherjee.

The 16-year-old gave enough scare to spoil Shamini’s reputation before the latter could overcome that phase with a fine forehand winner in the decider of the second rubber.

Shamini was somewhat slow to start off and was pushed to the corner by the young North Bengal paddler. The PSPB player brought in variety and put on display an array of brilliant strokes on both the flanks.

Yet, while leading 2-1, Shamini was given a jolt when Sagarika, blocking and serving well, restored parity after the fourth game. In the decider, the lead kept changing hands quickly but Shamini held on to her nerves to romp home.

What followed was a simple annihilation by Ankita Das who disposed of Sukanya Bose, the weak link in North Bengal’s ranks, in straight games of 11-9, 11-8, 11-7 in less than 15 minutes.

Results (team event finals): Men: Petroleum Sports Promotion Board bt West Bengal 3-0 (Soum­yajit Ghosh bt Soumyadeep Roy 16-14, 7-11, 11-7, 11-4; Achanta Sharath Kamal bt Sourav Saha 11-8, 11-7, 11-2; Amal Raj bt Sougata Sarkar 11-9, 11-8, 12-10). Women: Petroleum Sports Promotion Board bt North Bengal 3-0 (Madhurika Patkar bt Nandita Saha 6-11, 11-6, 12-10, 9-11, 11-5; K Shamini bt Sagarika Mukherjee 9-11, 11-5, 11-7, 10-12, 11-8; Ankita Das bt Sukanya Bose 11-9, 11-8, 11-7).

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