The women’s side wins back the crown after two years

Petroleum Sports Promotion Board won the men’s crown for the 12th successive time while its women’s team regained the title after a two-year gap as the team events of the 75th senior National and inter-State table tennis championships came to an end at the Patliputra Sports Complex here on Thursday.

While the PSPB men’s unit trounced West Bengal 3-0 to claim the Barna Bellack Cup, the women blanked North Bengal 3-0 (for the Jayalakshmi Cup) not before experiencing several anxious moments.

Nandita Saha and Madhurika Patkar (PSPB) were locked in an equal battle for the most part in the first rubber. Both attacking players, the contest had many quick and exciting rallies.

When the players changed sides for the fifth and deciding game, Patkar led 5-4.

However, it turned out to be one-sided thereafter, as Patkar sped to a 10-5 lead, and her backhand cross-court winner gave PSPB the start it needed.

K. Shamini, the reigning National champion, would not have expected such a fight from the 16-year-old Sagarika Mukherjee in the second rubber.

The North Bengal girl, once again, used her backhand push to great effect.

Shamini struggles

To add to that, Shamini was struggling to read the spin off Mukherjee’s long-pimpled paddle on the backhand side.  Shamini took a 2-1 lead and was leading 10-7 in the fourth game but Mukherjee fought back to level the scores.

As the match progressed, Shamini started attacking Mukherjee’s forehand, and that proved to be rewarding in the end.

Notwithstanding the defeat, Mukherjee could be termed the find of the team championship — she was unbeaten before playing Shamini — because of her consistent performance and her cool temperament.

Ankita Das completed the formalities for PSPB with a straight games victory over Sukanya Bose.

Of all the three men’s matches, it was the first contest between Soumyajit Ghosh and Soumyadeep Roy that had all the ingredients of a thriller.

Roy, who was part of the victorious PSPB team in Lucknow in 2012, gave it all he had.

Using his rich experience, he troubled Ghosh with his powerful strokes.

After winning the first game 16-14, Ghosh found the going difficult as the 29-year-old from West Bengal clinched the next game.

Ghosh shows his class

Ghosh, fresh from his stint with Falkenberg Club in Sweden, showed his class playing a wonderful attacking game to outwit Roy at will in the long rallies.

Sharath Kamal was in peak form as he breezed past Sourav Saha in the second tie while Amalraj looked equally fit in his drubbing of Sougata Sarkar in the third rubber.

The results: Finals: Men: PSPB bt West Bengal 3-0 (Soumyajit Ghosh bt Soumyadeep Roy 16-14, 7-11, 11-7, 11-4; A. Sharath Kamal bt Sourav Saha 11-8, 11-7, 11-2; A. Amalraj bt Sougata Sarkar 11-9, 11-8, 12-10).

Women: PSPB bt North Bengal 3-0 (Madhurika Patkar bt Nandita Saha 6-11, 11-6, 12-10, 9-11, 11-5, K. Shamini bt Sagarika Mukherjee 9-11, 11-5, 11-7, 10-12, 11-8, Ankita Das bt Sukanya Bose 11-9, 11-8, 11-7). 

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