Principal Correspondent

PAYYANNUR: SAI (Thalassery) went down fighting to Central Railway in a Group II National Volleyball League women's match at the GVHS Ground here on Wednesday night.

In probably the best game of the tournament so far, Central Railway, runner-up in last year's National Super League, won 25-15, 21-25, 22-25, 25-20, 15-10 in an hour and 24 minutes.

SAI, after its disappointing show on the opening day against Western Railway, came up with a spirited effort to take its opposition as well as the goodly crowd by surprise.

The Railway team went 4-0 up, on Hemlata Ursal's serve, and had little trouble in wrapping up the opening set, despite skipper Priyanka Bora not being her usual self when it came to spiking.

The second set saw a remarkable transformation in the approach of the SAI girls. Suddenly, they began to show confidence in their own abilities and put up an improved display at the net, where skipper P.J. Jomol, Josme Paul, Minimol Abraham and Mephy Thomas blocked just about everything. They smashed with precision and power too.

The SAI girls carried their form to the third set. A deft placing by Josme at 24-22 gave them a 2-1 lead in the match and Central Railway began to look worried.

But, the Railway team regrouped well in time to win the fourth and fifth sets with the captain smashing winners time and again.

Priyanka was well supported by J. Shareena, setter Vaishali, Jibi Abraham, Priyanka Ketkar, Yogita and Hemlata.

Other results: Men: Cochin Port Trust bt South Central Railway 23-25, 25-22, 25-19, 25-22; Indian Bank bt ICF 28-26, 25-14, 25-15.

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