Government Model bags title

NEW DELHI NOV. 13. The striking force led by Ranjodh Singh grabbed an early initiative when the opposition skipper was yellow-carded, and built upon it the Jalandhar school's course to the title, in the ONGC-Nehru sub-junior hockey tournament at the Shivaji Stadium here on Thursday.

The boys from Government Model Senior Secondary School, Jalandhar, put up a spirited show against Town High School, Sundergarh, and posted a 3-0 win, in a match between two well-balanced sides.

Ranjodh worked hard throughout the match and was aptly rewarded when his fellow-striker, Deepak Sharma, cleared a difficult ball for him to score from a close range, with seven minutes remaining in a match played over 60 minutes.

Earlier, striker Hardeep Singh gave the Jalandhar school the much-needed breakthrough, converting the third penalty corner his team earned, in the 20th minute of the match. Defender Bikramjeet Singh slotted home in the 41st minute, again after Ranjodh had worked towards earning the penalty corner.

The Orissa school, mainly made of the boys from the tribal belt, looked uncomfortable on the synthetic turf. As the ball moved fast, the boys from Sundergarh struggled to match the speed of their Punjab counterparts. With the game only in the nascent stage, the Orissa skipper, Banamali Xess, let his tempers flare up when he was tackled near the Jalandhar scoring area. A yellow card reduced the Orissa school to 10 men, and just then Jalandhar boys pressed for the initiative.

But for the good work done by both the goalkeepers, Pramod Xess of Sundergarh and Amandeep Singh of Jalandhar, the score-line would have been different. In the 44th minute of the match, an unmarked Sunil Kujur got a long pass from the centre and he reverse-flicked nicely at the centre of the post, only for Amandeep Singh to make a splendid save.

With a comfortable 2-0 lead on its back, the Jalandhar boys played freely with Ranjodh and Deepak Sharma probing the Sundergarh defence many a time. During one such move, Sharma raced up from the left flank and entered the scoring area before he was mobbed by at least five defenders. Sharma found a small opening and freed the ball from the melee for the waiting Ranjodh to score.

In the early afternoon, Birsa Munda Vidyapitha, Rourkela, defeated Baba Farid Public School, Faridkot, 5-0, to claim the third place. Libnus Kujur scored thrice (25th minute, 49th and 55th) while Paikash Lakra struck two (28th and 36th) goals in Birsa Munda's triumph.