Namdharis ground Indian Airlines in sudden death

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Chandigarh, Nov 12 (UNI) Star-studded Indian Airlines (IA) were grounded by spirited and enthusiastic Namdhari XI in the sudden death tie-breaker session in the final of the 37th SN Vohra's All India Gurmit Memorial Hockey Tournament at the Sector 42 Hockey Stadium here today.

Tied one-all in the regulation period, the two sides failed to break the deadlock as even after five strokes that each side took in the tie-breaker session the score remained 4-all.

The issue was finally resolved in the sudden death tie-breaker.

Namdhari XI converted all three strokes while IA scored two goals, experienced Arjun Halappa's push was saved by Namdharis goalkeeper Harinder Singh. Namdharis immediately raised their sticks in celebrations as they recorded victory with an aggregate margin of 8-7.

Namdharis' scorers in the tie-breaker session were Anmolak Singh (2), Gurcharan Singh (2), Sher Singh (2) and Ajmer Singh (1). Gurvinder shot pushed his stroke wide. Kulbhushan Singh (2), Sandeep Singh (2), Arjun Halappa (1) and Usaf-ru-Rehman (1).

Harinder Singh (goalkeeper), Sandeep Singh (fullback), Sabu Varkey (half) and Viren Rasqhinhas (forward) were adjudged the best players of the tournament.

Showing aggression in their attack, Namdharis forged ahead in the 36th minute when Joga Singh scored a field goal to fox the IA, which included stars like Dhanraj Pillay, Sandeep Singh, Sandeep Michael, Samir Dad and Arjun Halappa, Vikram Pillay in their ranks.

Indian Airlines launched a counter-attack in the next moment and forced their first penalty corner in the 37th minute. Indian Airlines fullback and drag flicker Sandeep Singh, who had sustained a bullet injury in a stray incident while travelling in a train, reminded the Indian Hockey Federation selectors that he had fully recovered and is also in good form by converting the penalty corner with a precision drag flick.

IA could have scored another goal in the 60th minute. However, two hot tries could not pierce the Namdhari goalkeeper Harinder Singh's defence. First Sameer Dad had a mighty shot at the Namdharis goal. Harinder Singh saved it in a smooth action.

The rebound went to Sandeep Michael whose shot was again padded by Harinder.

With few minutes remaining, Ajay of IA was shown red card by international umpire Satinder Sharma for deliberately breaking the rule. As IA got a penalty corner and the ball could not be properly stoppped and umpire Sharma blew the whistle. However, Ajay pushed the ball towards the goal which invited him trouble.

As he had earlier received a yellow card already, Ajay got the red card.

Punjab Revenue Minister Ajay Singh Kohar distributed the prizes. Also present on the occasion was three-time Olympian Padamshree Pargat Singh.


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