Anil Aldrin finds Sandeep Somesh with a through ball, the centre-half pounces on it, beats his marker and hoodwinks the goalkeeper to slot home another goal for his side. Sounds familiar?
Well, that was the case years ago in Bengaluru, and then later at the international stage for a while. In fact, cricket legend Rahul Dravid, their school-mate at the St Joseph’s Boys High School, once famously said, “Watching Sandeep and Anil play hockey made me realise that taking up another sport was probably better.”
The hockey fire was once again ignited when the Old Boys Association (OBA) of the school organised a 5-a-side rink hockey tournament at its grounds on Sunday.
The teams represented the batches which passed out of the school at various years. Aldrin and Somesh represented the class of 1988 while the team of 2016 was the youngest batch . Golfer Trishul Chinnappa of the 2009 batch too was in action as he led his side in the group stage games, before heading out early afternoon.
“It was great fun,” said Somesh, the brain behind the event. “We started working on this some three weeks back and the ball got rolling; got in touch with the batch co-ordinators to spread the word. With me being involved with Hockey Karnataka, things became a little easy on the organising front. Last week I heard the guys were training for this. That was really encouraging.”
While there was no dearth in competition on the pitch, the event meant something more for Aldrin. “I have been in Mumbai for long. First playing and now working. It’s events like these that give me an opportunity to meet the guys I spent some wonderful years of my life with. I would love it if this happens every year,” said the former India captain.
The yesteryear stars didn’t shy away from letting the juniors know their pedigree on the pitch. Somesh troubled the opposition with his smart stick-work while Aldrin held a tight line at the back.
Their fighting spirit and the never-give-up attitude was on display as the batch of 1988 rallied from a two-goal deficit to beat the batch of 2010 in the final. They won the final 8-7. “We at least came close to beating India. That’s a big thing,” quipped a player in the rival camp.