IOCL, led by sparkling performances from Deepak Thakur and Prabhjot Singh, claimed the Gold Cup and MCC Challenge Trophy with a 6-4 win over Indian Overseas Bank in the MCC-Murugappa hockey tournament at the Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium here on Sunday.

The winner received a cash award of Rs. 2.5 lakh while IOB was richer by Rs. 1.5 lakh.

Incidentally, IOCL was the joint winner of the trophy with Air India last year.

With IOCL in complete command — the team led 4-0 at half-time — the final was turning into an insipid one, much to the disappointment of the huge crowd, when IOB scored two goals through Rupinderpal Singh.

The second half saw the bank side in full flow but that wasn’t enough to stop IOCL. Though beaten, the local outfit was definitely not disgraced as the final tally bears out.

The combination of Deepak Thakur and Prabhjot Singh proved too persistent and problematic for the IOB defenders.

Served brilliantly in the midfield by Dharamvir and Inderjeet, and with Roshan Minz contributing his mite, the IOCL frontline was confidence-personified.

Almost throughout, IOCL held the whiphand, thanks to the two goals — each as eye-catching as the other — by Deepak, and two by Prabhjot.

Unfazed by the huge deficit, IOB threw everything it had into the attack after resumption even as goalkeeper Sreejesh was replaced by Shan.

Now-or-never

It was a now-or-never situation for IOB. Mudappa and Shanmugam headed the sallies, throwing the IOCL defence into disarray.

Rupinderpal first converted a penalty corner to inject some life into the proceedings and narrowed the lead by making no mistake off a penalty stroke that was awarded when Vikesh Sharma came in the way of his penalty corner strike.

This was the phase during which IOB dominated the match, but Prabhjot checked the trend with a fine goal.

Though IOB picked up the thread again, with Rafeeq scoring off a scrimmage followed by a goal by Amandeep Ekka, it was IOCL which had the last laugh.

The result:

Final: IOCL 6 (Deepak Thakur 3, Prabhjot Singh 3) bt IOB 4 (Rupinderpal Singh 2, Rafeeq, Amandeep Ekka).

Special awards:

Player-of-the-tournament: V.R. Raghunath (IOCL).

Best forward: Deepak Thakur (IOCL).

Best midfielder: Dharamvir (IOCL).

Best defender: Birendra Lakra (BPCL).

Man-of-the-final: Prabhjot Singh (IOCL).

Recognition for service to hockey: P.V. Pandarinathan (women’s hockey, Rs. 60,000 cash award).

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