Tamil Nadu thrashes M.P.

CHENNAI, NOV. 27. Precious little was there to commend about the quality of combative skills in the first set of matches of Group C in the National hockey championship, for the Rangaswamy Cup, at the Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium here on Monday.

However, from Tamil Nadu's point of view it was a profitable outing what with the Olympian, Dinesh Naik slotting a four-in-a- row in a 8-0 rout of Madhya Pradesh. Earlier, Food Corporation of India prevailed over Kerala 5-2 to take full points.

Tamil Nadu played well in patches to record a fairly big victory. With the Asian Games medallist L. Prabhakaran in good nick, the frontline worked some impressive sallies. In fact, the team started in a spectacular fashion with Prabhakaran piloting a lovely cross from Radhakrishnan to the roof of the net.

Within minutes, Dinesh produced an immaculate drive and followed with another strike for a comfortable lead. But suddenly, and for no palpable reason, the team lost the way. Apart from missing a few chances, there was poor constructive work in the mid-field notwithstanding the presence of the seasoned Thirumalvalavan in the role of the captain.

Sporadic were the sallies from Madhya Pradesh for whom skipper Richard James Lal was conspicuous. If the attack reached the rival circle now and then, he was instrumental for it. Bhushan Lal was another who flashed into the picture with a crafty scoop early in the second half but goal-keeper Natarajan was alert enough to effect a neat save.

Shortly after resumption, Dinesh completed the hat- trick and midway through enhanced his tally to four. A thrustful probe involving Prabhakar and Senthil ended with Cedric D'Cruz finding the target late in the evening even as the stadium was getting engulfed in darkness. Before the hooter, Prabhakaran and Cedric scored one more.

Scrappy for the major part, the earlier encounter offered little of constructive hockey at this level of competition. A noteworthy aspect, in a negative sense that is, was the threat of a walk out by the Kerala team after the fourth goal.

When Gajinder Singh deflected a free hit from near the 25 yard line, the umpire, Venugopal, awarded a goal but for a moment it looked as though he was signalling a penalty corner too. A protest by the Kerala players confused the scene more as he consulted the other umpire, Vasikaran, and confirmed the award. Dissatisfied with the ruling, the Kerala players staged a walk out, and delayed the proceedings by about five minutes before resuming the match.

The FCI attack however held the edge and led 3-1 at half time exposing in the process the vulnerability of the rival defence. Mandeep struck in the early minutes followed by Kuljinder Singh. A penalty stroke converted by K. Rajesh put the Kerala team back into the reckoning. Though not very constructive, the individual gusto of the attack kept the FCI defence on its toes.

Rajiv Panchal slotted the third for FCI before half- time. After the break Gajinder enhanced the lead followed by Kuljinder. In the final minutes, Kerala made valiant efforts to constrict the leeway and succeeded when Jayesh made capital of a penalty corner skirmish inside the circle.

Dr. R. Anbu Mani, President, Pasumai Thayagam, inaugurated the tournament in the presence of Mr. K. Jothikumaran, Secretary, IHF and Tamil Nadu Hockey Association. Mr. Walter I. Dawaram, President, Tamil Nadu State Amateur Athletics Association, presided. The participating teams were presented to the chief guest, Dr. Anbu Mani.

Tuesday's matches: Tamil Nadu v FCI (2-15 p.m.); Air India v Madhya Pradesh (4-15 p.m.).