Y.B. Sarangi

GWALIOR: Punjab put up a strong performance to beat defending champion Railways 25-17, 25-20, 25-16 and register its second consecutive win in the 58th National volleyball championship here on Wednesday.

In the Group ‘A’ match between two titans, Punjab benefited from Gurinder Singh’s fiery smashes and captain Gurchand Singh’s all-round display to bag the first set.

Blocker Sukhdeep and setter Balwinder Singh contributed well to foil Railways’ bid for a comeback in the next. Punjab had it easy in the third set as Railways committed some unwanted errors.

“Most of our players have played together for Punjab Police and India at the junior level. So, there is good coordination among us though ours is an evolving side,” said Gurchand.

TN wards off Kerala

Tamil Nadu got the better of Kerala 25-18, 25-17, 19-25, 33-31 in an exciting Group ‘B’ tie. The fourth set went down to the wire as Kerala played out of its skin to try to survive.

Tamil Nadu Chief Coach G.E. Sridharan heaved a sigh of relief as an unforced error brought an end to Kerala’s resistance. “Kerala is a good team, so it had to be a good contest,” said a relieved Sridharan.

The outdoor courts could not be used on Wednesday because of overnight rains and a shower in the morning. The morning session matches were shifted to the indoor courts, while five of the afternoon session matches were postponed for a day.

The results: Men: Group ‘A’: Punjab bt Railways 25-17, 25-20, 25-16; Services bt Karnataka 17-25, 25-19, 25-15, 25-21. Group ‘B’: Tamil Nadu bt Kerala 25-18, 25-17, 19-25, 33-31; Haryana bt Uttarakhand 22-25, 31-33, 25-19, 25-17, 17-15.

Group ‘C’: Chhattisgarh bt West Bengal 27-25, 25-22, 25-19; Jharkhand bt Andaman 25-17, 25-12, 25-11. Group ‘F’: Maharashtra bt Bihar 25-14, 19-25, 25-13, 25-15; Rajasthan w/o Puducherry.

Women: Group ‘A’: Andhra Pradesh bt Karnataka 20-25, 25-19, 25-22, 25-22; Railways bt Maharashtra 25-9, 25-15, 25-10. Group ‘B’: Kerala bt Chandigarh 25-12, 25-12, 25-14; West Bengal bt Tamil Nadu 25-20, 25-13, 25-19. Group ‘C’: Punjab bt Mizoram 30-28, 25-21, 25-9; Himachal Pradesh w/o Goa. Group ‘D’: Haryana bt Orissa 25-17, 25-8, 25-17; Jharkhand bt Rajasthan 25-13, 25-16, 25-20.

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