NEW DELHI: Last year's runner-up Indian Oil warmed up with a 7-1 victory over Central Reserve Police Force in a Pool D match of the qualifying round for associate members in the 62nd National hockey championship at the Dhyan Chand National Stadium here on Friday.
Right from the start when it spanked a goal through Sardara Singh, Indian Oil was authoritative and efficient in its display. The team raced to a 5-0 lead by half-time thanks to two penalty corner strikes by Bikramjit Singh, apart from goals by Roshan Minz and Sardara Singh (2).
On changing ends, Indian Oil did not press that hard, though it did find the target twice through the seasoned Prabhjot Singh and Deepak Thakur.
The police team did manage to pull one back in the 71st minute, as an unmarked Jolen Topno reacted swiftly with a smart hit.
With the Postal team having pulled out and no communication as yet from Steel Authority of India Limited, Indian Oil may have already booked its berth in the main event to be played at Jalandhar from Oct. 28.
Air-India tames BSF
In Pool D, Air-India overcame a feeble resistance from Border Security Force to virtually assure itself of a place in the main event. With skipper Len Aiyappa converting two penalty corners with his efficient low-trajectory drags, Air-India recorded a 3-1 victory.
Roshan Tete was the other scorer for Air-India, while Habil Topno reduced the margin for BSF five minutes into the second half. BSF could have made it a lot more lively but for missing a penalty stroke towards the end.
In Pool C, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation blanked Sports Authority of India 3-0. Amarjeet Pratap, Arshad Ahmad and Rajdeep Singh were the scorers. The SAI team, coached by Rajinder Singh, forced as many as 12 penalty corners but was unsuccessful in conversion.
In Pool A, Customs pulled out, and thus holder Punjab and Sind Bank will meet Central Industrial Security Force for a qualification berth.
Jugraj on song
At Jalandhar, host Punjab thrashed Chhattisgarh 8-0. The Pool `A' contest was a one-sided affair as drag-flicker Jugraj Singh converted three penalty corners in the 28th, 31st and 44th minutes. Ranjodh Singh also struck twice in the 15th and 57th minutes.
The other scorers for Punjab were Baljit Singh Dhillon (19th), Avtar Singh Sr (35th) and Kuljit Singh (51st).
Indian Universities and Maharashtra drew 3-3 in another match. Maharashtra's Santosh scored twice (11th and 21st), but in the 29th minute Sunder Singh pulled one back for Universities. In the 33rd minute, Mousam Doshi made it 3-1 for Maharashtra.
However, penalty corner conversions by Yadwinder Singh (34th and 62nd) earned Universities a draw.
In the day's other match, Mumbai drubbed Vidarbha 6-0. A. Yesur (fifth and 31st), T. Fernandez (14th), Manish Rahi (24th), J. Yadav (39th) and Rajiv Thatkar (66th) were the scorers.