Thursday, Aug 21, 2003
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By Kirti Patil
Haryana's Sarvajeet Jr. scores past a stranded Andhra Pradesh goalkeeper Swarnalatha during the 52nd senior women's National hockey championship at the Dhyan Chand Stadium in Lucknow on Wednesday. Photo: V. Sudershan
Deftly executing her role of a playmaker, Kiran scored four times, and had definite part in at least 14 other goals in the binge that Haryana laid out for itself.
Andhra Pradesh, which had been developing its team for last two years though the bubble had already burst in the Hyderabad National Games was virtually walloped by the National Games champion.
If Haryana made such a start, it surely was provoked by the result of the first match of the day, between Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. The 52nd edition of the Nationals opened with host showering 22 goals against Rajasthan in one of the most lop-sided match seen in the recent times.
At least AP made some close attempts at the Haryana goal, while Rajasthan was so pedestrian that the umpire overseeing its half had hardly anything to do!
The U.P. captain Annu Chaudhary completed a double hat-trick in her nine-goal spree. After having scored two field goals, Annu slotted home six in a row to give her team some hope of picking up one quarterfinal berth from Pool `B', which is headed by Air India.
While Annu kept the scoreboard ticking, strikers Archana and Poonam joined in the bash by scoring seven and five goals respectively. Archana, who had opened the account for U.P. in the fifth minute, became the first player of the tournament to make a hat-trick.
The host led 6-0 at the half-time, but on changing the ends, the profile of the match changed totally. The hapless Rajasthan goal-keeper Pratima was the most busy player, apart from Annu and Archana.
After goals rained in the first two matches, there was some semblance of the fight in the late afternoon.
Making its re-entry into the Nationals after 1996, Indian Universities dished out an upset that no one expected, underlining the importance of tapping the talent at this level.
The former champion Mumbai, which had been a regular feature of the semifinal line-up for last many years, may well get stuck in the league phase itself. An inspiring performance by Indian Universities team helped it edge past Mumbai 1-0, in a Pool `E' match. Vidarbha and Tamil Nadu are the other teams in this pool.
Striker Sandeep chanced on an opportunity, on the rebound, in the only penalty corner Indian Universities earned in 70 minutes. On the other side, Mumbai wasted as many as nine penalty corners in a poor statement of its calibre.
A much better show was expected from Mumbai, which is practically the Western Railway outfit to the last player. But its forward line left much to be desired.
Susani Surin, Poonam Surin, Manorama and Fatima Kujur looked totally out of touch. Though the second half belonged to Mumbai, but Indian Universities proved better in the defence too as Manjula, Rajneesh and Sheela Vathy acted their part nicely.
The results (league):
Pool B: Uttar Pradesh 22 (Annu Chaudhary 9, Archana 7, Poonam 5, Anita) bt Rajasthan 0.
Pool D: Haryana 20 (Balwinder 6, Sarvajeet Jr. 5, Kiran Saini and Harjinder 4 each, Rekha Rani) bt Andhra Pradesh 0.
Pool E: Indian Universities 1 (Sandeep) bt Mumbai 0
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