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Tuesday, April 10, 2001

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CISF clinches maiden Beighton Cup

By Our Special Correspondent

KOLKATA, APRIL 9. Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Chandigarh, gained its maiden title of the season beating Border Security Force, Jalandhar, by a solitary second half goal in the final of the Indian Oil Servo 106th Beighton Cup hockey tournament at the Mohun Bagan ground here on Monday.

Youth and enthusiasm combined to make this CISF side win its first Beighton Cup. And it deserved the victory over an experienced BSF side. Four-time winner BSF, playing in its sixth final here, lacked that extra bit of motivation needed to excel today.

CISF set a scorching pace, controlled the midfield, used the flanks well and most importantly combined excellently to stress the importance of team work. Despite the team's highest scorer of the tournament, left winger G.V. Xaxa, not performing at his best owing to marking, CISF found a hardworking player in right winger Pratik Singh. This lanky lad made so many inroads down the flank that the BSF left wing play was totally disappeared.

BSF, after failing to match CISF for speed in the first half, switched strategy to slow down the game in the latter half so much that CISF's rhythm was badly disturbed. Yet, the winner used the individual flair to keep the momentum going and to harass the rival defence.

BSF, which began as the favourite after ousting the defending champion Punjab & Sind Bank in the semifinals, used its only international and captain Harbhajan Singh as the play maker. His promptings kept the BSF attack going only upto the striking circle before the CISF defenders cleared. Shinu Herenz had lost speed considerably and Sushil Kujur lacked the experience to do well at this level. Marinus Lakra failed to do much and Peter Tirkey's best was not good enough.

Goalkeeper Jasjeet Singh stood out in the BSF rank with some stunning saves off penalty corner hits. But for him BSF would have conceded more goals.

BSF escaped narrowly in the fifth and sixth minute after Pratik and Xaxa hit out. Four minutes later luck denied BSF the lead when a Christopher Ekka hit off a penalty corner slammed into the left post with the CISF defence beaten totally. Two minutes later local boy Cyril Ekka cut through the BSF defence like a knife off a Pratik prompting and his flick was palmed away by Jasjeet.

BSF reacted sharply to this with a series of raids. At the beginning of the last quarter of the earlier half, Sushil Kujur set up Harbhajan with a nice pass but the latter's aim went awry. Another fine solo on the right by Sushil Kujur was stopped bodily and the resultant penalty corner was wasted by the BSF. With a minute to go for halftime, A. Barla found himself well placed off a right wing centre but he delayed to hit and was dispossessed.

After the breather, CISF's combination failed to click owing to slow pace. Yet, it earned all its five penalty corner awards in this half. Two fine hits in the 41st and 46th minutes saw Jasjeet making neat saves and again two quick penalty corner decisions in the 60th and 61st minutes could not be capitalised by CISF.

After BSF failed to convert its fourth penalty corner, CISF struck the match-winner through defender Irfan Ahmad in the 68th minute. A clean drive hit the chest of Jasjeet and flew hip high losing much of its pace, into the goal. BSF had just two minutes to take the game into extratime to reverse the result but it could not recover from the shock of conceding a goal so close to the final whistle.

The CISF team which won the Beighton Cup hockey tournament in Kolkata on Monday.

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