Services Sports Control Board clinches National Championship title

Defeats Air India 3-1 in the final; Petroleum Sports Promotion Board wins the third-place playoff.

All three goals of Services’ goals in the final were scored in the third quarter.   -  P. V. Sivakumar (Representative)

A quarter is a long time in modern hockey. It took just one period of 15 minutes for Services Sports Control Board (SSCB) to turn an evenly matched game into a one-sided competition, winning 3-1 against Air India to clinch its maiden National Championship title here on Sunday.

With both teams testing waters early on, there were little scoring chances for either through the first 30 minutes of play. Both teams wasted a penalty corner and with occasional forays into the opposition circle resulting in shooting wide or over, the game was largely restricted to the midfield.

With almost half of its team made up of junior India campers, Air India managed to keep pace with the young Services side. This resulted in a fast game but also numerous turnovers from either side.

Defensive lapse

Tied goalless at half time, it finally took a defensive lapse from Air India for Rahul Rajbhar to wrong-foot goalkeeper Adrian D’Souza and break the deadlock.

Services had been desperately trying till then, Ashis Topno being the fulcrum and feeding well from the middle but unable to find a gap in the tight Air India defence. The goal opened up space and the attack from either side. In an attempt to find the equaliser, Air India kept moving ahead but the defence left much to be desired.

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D’Souza had a bad day on the field, saving a few but repeatedly finding himself out of place. Two quick goals towards the end of the quarter saw Services take the upper hand. Air India tried its best to fight back, creating three penalty corners in the final quarter and getting half chances and managing to reduce the margin when Vishnu Singh finally tapped in a rebound, but it was too little, too late.

PSPB beats PSB

Earlier in the playoff for the third place, Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB) finally played up to potential, registering an easy 3-1 win against Punjab & Sind Bank (PSB).

It was a vastly improved performance from the side that dominated the game. It created more chances and did not allow space to PSB, hustling the opposition and showing a lot more urgency than it did in the semifinal. Despite missing a handful of penalty corners, each of its three goals were opportunistic, taking full advantage of defensive lapses from PSB.

Individual awards

Best Goalkeeper: Adrian D'Souza (Air India)

Best Defender: Jugraj Singh (SSCB)

Best midfielder: Gurmail Singh (PSB)

Best forward: Mohd. Raheel (Air India)

Player of the tournament : Jugraj Singh (SSCB).


The results
  • Final: SSCB 3 (Ajinkya Jadhav, Rahul Rajbhar, Jobanpreet Singh) bt Air India 1 (Vishnu Singh);
  • Third-place playoff: PSPB 3 (Roshan Minz, Armaan Qureshi, Tushar Khandker) bt PSB 1 (Parvinder Singh).

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