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Competent and consistent ONGC triumphs

S. Thyagarajan

Win over IOC achieved with a touch of flair and finesse

— Photo: M. Vedhan

JUBILANT BUNCH:The ONGC team which won the MCC-Murugappa Gold Cup hockey tournament in Chennai on Sunday. A. Vellayan, (standing third from left) Chairman, Murugappa Group, gave away the prizes.

Chennai: With a display that conveyed to the huge holiday audience the twin component of competence and consistency, ONGC claimed its maiden triumph when it annexed the Gold Cup in the MCC-Murugappa hockey tournament on Sunday.

The 2-1 verdict over the more fancied IOC was well deserved and was accomplished with a touch of flair and finesse. ONGC picked a prize money of Rs. 2,50,000, with IOC taking Rs. 1,50,000.

The analysis of the final cannot fall within the ambit of picking the heroes for ONGC. But if such an option is emphasized then the tag of the star performer goes without any fear of contradiction to the leader, Harpal Singh. Not only in the final but almost throughout the competition, he held his post with great equanimity and with palpable efficiency.

If the IOC attack boasting stars such as Deepak Thakur, Prabhjot Singh, Roshan Minz, and Inderjit Chada, was kept under check, a good measure of credit for this should go to Harpal Singh, and his ally Tryon Pereira.

Preetinder shines

No praise is too high for the zeal and professional proficiency of the mid-fielder Preetinder Singh. His distribution and interceptions were conspicuous.

Circumspection governed ONGC's approach in the early minutes. Slowly picking up pace, thanks to splendid work in the attack by Pramod Kumar with assistance from Dharmender, Gurvinder Singh, and Bikas Toppo, ONGC earned its first penalty corner — and interestingly the only one for it in the match.

Diwakar Ram produced an impeccable drive that left Devesh Chauhan blinking.

Buoyed by the triumph in the early minutes, ONGC became more consistent in the creation of moves. Apart from Harpal Singh, the mid-fielder, Preetinder, put across a number of accurate passes.

There were quite a few misses too, Roshan Minz flunking in the early minutes and Hamza hitting away from target twice in the second half.

On more than one occasion Prabhjot was off the mark, although he produced the equaliser late in the second half after Harpal had baulked a penalty corner effort by Raghunath.

ONGC's defining moment came 10 minutes before the final hooter. Tryon Pereira sent a powerful cross, Dharmender Singh picked it and darted towards goal.

And the finishing touches to the move came from Bikas Toppo, whose blinder of a backhander beat Devesh Chauhan for the second time. The match winner was greeted with spontaneous cheers by the crowd.

Mr. A. Vellayan, Chairman, Murugappa Group, presided and gave away the prizes, in the presence of M.M. Murugappan, Vice-Chairman, Murugappa Group, Mr. T.G. Thyagarajan and Ajit Kumbhat, President and Secretary respectively of MCC.

Mr. Sanjay Gulvady, Organising Secretary, proposed a vote of thanks.

The result: Final: ONGC 2 (Diwakar Ram, Bikas Toppo) beat IOC 1 (Prabhjot Singh).

Man of the final: Bikas Toppo (ONGC); Player of the tournament: Deepak Thakur (IOC); Best Mid-fielder: Preetinder (ONGC); Best Goal-keeper: Jasbir Singh (PNB) .

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