SPORT

Services has Karnataka on the mat

Indian Railways' P.S. Srikanth (right) smashing past Tamil Nadu's D. Manjunath (left) and P. Sivabalan in a quarterfinal league match of the senior National volleyball championship at Davangere on Thursday. — Photo: Sampath Kumar

Indian Railways' P.S. Srikanth (right) smashing past Tamil Nadu's D. Manjunath (left) and P. Sivabalan in a quarterfinal league match of the senior National volleyball championship at Davangere on Thursday. — Photo: Sampath Kumar  

DAVANGERE Dec. 4. Services' guns boomed taking the stuffing out of host Karnataka even as Tamil Nadu teams had mixed fortunes in the quarterfinal league of the 52nd senior National volleyball championship at the District Stadium here today.

Services virtually knocked out Karnataka from the championship with an emphatic 25-20, 25-21, 25-21 win in just 55 minutes.

Having taken Tamil Nadu in its stride late last night, in a match that ended well past midnight, Services, playing the first match of the day, was expected to be jaded. But the fighting fit Armymen showed no signs of fatigue and fired from the start brooking no resistance.

If Shijas Mohammed was unstoppable in attack with Siju Joseph setting up well, B.P. Aman and Manoj Kumar alongwith Shankar Rao chipped in effectively with some intelligent play that often caught the Karnataka defence unawares.

Railways men emerged as the front runners for the championship with yet another sterling display. Led by Arjuna awardee Ravikanth Reddy and with inspiring work by Kapil Dev and libero Vinod Kumar Singh, Railways inflicted yet another five-sets defeat on Tamil Nadu. Railways won 25-20, 17-25, 19-25, 25-21, 15-10.

Tamil Nadu showed signs of recovery after losing the first set. But the revival was cut short by another resurgent fare dished out by Railways.

Suraj Singh coming for Pradeep in the fourth set did an excellent job at the net, blocking out the TN strike force of Sivabalan and Karthikeyen.

After losing the first set TN coached by G.E. Sridharan did comeback strongly to take the next two in quick time and looked like wrapping up the match itself. But Kapil Dev and Ravikanth Reddy rallied around their new set of players admirably to take the match into the decider.

The fifth, however, was a turn around for TN as its defence fell apart and Haroon Khan and Manjunath fumbled at crucial junctures. Railways on the other hand took an early grip and after changing over at 8-4 faced some resistance before cruising along for a 15-10 victory.

Both Railway and Services thus have two wins each in group Y and look set to make the semifinals, while TN and Karnataka will play for positions.

Tamil Nadu women, however, lived to fight another day. Having lost to Kerala last evening in four sets, Tamil Nadu women shut out the winning streak of qualifiers Haryana with a comfortable 25-18, 25-23, 25-17 win.

Latha, Rejani and Simlal Singh played well for TN, both in attack and in blunting the spikes from Haryana's Suhma and Reena, both of whom carried the team admirably.

In another Group Y clash, last year's runner-up Kerala women used its match against Chandigarh as a practice outing and inflicted a crushing 25-21, 25-15, 25-18 defeat.

Sunny Samuel, the Kerala and KSCB coach, tried out his bench strength and came up trumps. Though Gisha Thomas looked a bit lethargic Salitha Prasad and Prajisha capitalised well on Minimol's fine boosting.

The results (quarterfinal league):

Men: Group Y: Services bt Karnataka 25-20, 25-21, 25-21; Railways bt TN 25-20, 17-25, 19-25, 25-21, 15-10.

Women: Group Y: Kerala bt Chandigarh 25-21, 25-15, 25-18; TN bt Haryana 25-18, 25-23, 25-17.

Recommended for you