Avinash Nair

SULLIA: Western Railway, Mumbai made short work of its City rival, Central Railway for an all-win record in the four team women’s section in the 13th National volleyball league championship (second leg) at the Gandhinagar stadium, here on Sunday. Western won 25-21, 25-19, 25-20.

If there was some semblance of a fight from Central it came with the entry of veteran Hemalatha Urusal, who took painkillers for an aching back and despite a withering knee showed a lot of commitment.

Priyanka Bora on her part flourished with a few telling smashes but otherwise got little support from her teammates.

Better on paper

Western, easily the better team on paper with a good sprinkling of young players from SAI (Thallassery), did rely a great deal on captain Shibi K.J. who produced winners time and again.

With Anusha Mukesh and Reshma too pitching in with a couple of winners each, Eastern was up and running after early deficit in the first set.

Down 8-11 in the first set, a period when Priyanka and even Josme Paul came up with steep smashes for Central, it was Western Railway all the way and once it took a firm grip there was nothing much Central girls could do to inch their way back into the match.

“In the inter-Railway in December we got the better of them, but then I was playing,” was the candid admission by Central coach Vaishali Phadtare, a former international.

Western was richer by Rs 20,000 while Central walked away with Rs 10,000, while S.E Railway and Dr. Sivanthi Club, Chennai were presented with Rs. 8,000 and Rs. 7,000 each.

Chance for a double

Meanwhile, Western Railway men brushed aside the challenge from Cochin Port Trust for a 25-14, 25-20, 26-24 verdict and improved its chances of making it a double.

With this win the Railwaymen considerably increased their set quotient and are in with a title chance if Southern Railway defeats HSIIDC (Haryana) in straight sets and by big margins.

Western’s Manikandan and Maharaja were unstoppable, while captain Jaiganesh and Abdul Salam picked the gaps with precision. All this was largely due to the brilliance of libero Surender Kumar.

Special awards: Best attacker: Shibi K.J. (Western). Best blocker: Priyanka Bora (Central). Best setter: Princy Joseph (Western). Best server: Anusha Mukesh (Western). Best libero: Doli Parui (S.E. Railway).

The results:

Women (final league match): Western Railway (Mumbai) bt Central Railway, Mumbai 25-21, 25-19, 25-20.

Men (super league): Western Railway, Mumbai bt Cochin Port Trust, Kochi 25-14, 25-20, 26-24.

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