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SCR registers second victory

By M.C. Raman

HASSAN, DEC. 23. South Central Railway, Secunderabad beat Kochi Refineries 30-28, 18-25, 25-19, 25-17 to record its second successive victory in the National super volleyball league at the District stadium here on Thursday.

Kochi Refineries' Tom Joseph ripped the Railway squad apart in the early part of the match. The high ball and the smash of Tom shook the rival. It was a battle for the top spot, as both the teams remained the frontrunners along with Haryana Small Industries Development Corporation (HSIDC). SCR has earned the reputation of being the most balanced side in the country today. Srikanth, Sudarshan Varma and blocker Pradeep and Suraj Singh provide the real strength to the team and when seasoned Ravikanth Reddy, an Arjuna awardee, joined the team today there was no doubt that the team had the firepower to challenge Tom Joseph.

Refineries got a big boost from Tom's spiking, but its second line attack was suspect. Experienced Rajiv, the centre blocker, went for short balls, but Azeez, Sayooj and Vibin were not steady. It was this weakness that finally crippled Refineries' game when SCR came back into the game. Refineries had five set points in the first set but lost 30-28.

It was a superb fight and the crowed enjoyed every moment when Tom let go his booming smashes. Refineries bounced back and Tom was in superb form, hitting winner after winner from both front and backcourts. In the second set, Refineries' net defence was also solid as Rajiv and Tom combined quickly for double block. Even Vibin, Sayooj and setter Anil did well in defence. That put SCR on the defensive.

But the match took a dramatic turn when Ravikanth Reddy was brought in second line attack and he combined well with Sudarshan Varma, Suraj and blocker Pradeep.

And in the fourth set, the Pradeep-Suraj combination in defence completely wrecked Refineries' chances of coming back into the game. SCR surged to an 11-7 lead and the Refineries team found the going tough. Finally, it was Ravikanth's clever setting that took away Tom's initiative and SCR consolidated its position.

Earlier, the organisers shuffled the fixtures midway and conducted two men's matches first. In the first match, HSIDC defeated Indian Navy 25-21, 25-21, 25-17 for its second win. The Haryana squad has come here with an array of internationals. Jitender, Sanjay Kumar and Dinesh Kumar, along with experienced pro Amir Singh. Navy crashed to its third defeat and bowed out of the race.

SCR posts win

In the four-team women's league, it was a tough fight between South Central Railway and Central Railway, Mumbai. SCR registered its second victory 25-22, 20-25, 25-14, 25-17. Shajia Sheikh was the main spiker for SCR.

On Wednesday Kochi Refineries recorded its second win defeating Southern Railway 25-13, 26-24, 25-18 in a men's match.

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