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Bharat Petroleum corners glory in Maharaja Ranjit Singh hockey

New Delhi, Thu, 28 Feb 2008 Mukesh Thapliyal

Riding on experienced Amar Aiyamma's spectacular three goals Bharat Petroleum edged past formidable opponents Indian Oil 5-4 to win the fourth Oriental bank Maharaja Ranjit Singh hockey title in an exciting final played at the Shivaji Stadium here on Wednesday.

It was Aiyamma that made the difference between both the teams as he remained truly a livewire and a threat to opponents throughout the match. Petroleum team instantly got off the blocks as they denied a goal in the very first minute.

Aiyamma fed a perfect pass inside the box to Hari Prasad, who beat the rival custodian on the run but agile defender Viren Rasquinha cleared the ball in time. BP team shot ahead (1-0) through Ravi Pal Singh in the 11th minute of play by an orchestrated penalty corner movement.

However, Indian Oil players could not be able to enter rival's arena for the first ten minutes but they slowly got into their grooves. Skipper Deepak Thakur restored parity (1-1) in the 17th minute lunging on a rebound ball after Petroleum’s custodian S. Singh couldn't be able to clear Roshan Minz’s PC shot.

Star of the day Aiyamma opened his account putting his team again ahead (2-1) in the 20th minute after receiving a long aerial pass from S.S. Gill. Aiyamma dodged past the rival defender on the turn with a deft tap on the ball before unleashing a stinging shot that sounded the board. BP team led 2-1 at the stroke of lemon-break.

After changing ends, Indian Oil players got their act together as they didn't give up at all yet. Roshan Minz surged ahead in the rival citadel dodging past two defenders on the run and shot the ball inside the goal from a narrow angle to make it to 2-2 in the 39th minute.

Aiyamma was in the thick the action again as he got a ball from the right flank to crack another wasting no time to earn a 3-2 lead for his team seven minutes later.

Deedar Singh finally amended his previous three mistakes and sounded the board off the fifth penalty corner to draw level at 3-3. Deedar’s drag-flick landed straight into the net beating past rival custodian Kukreti who was successful to block his attempt on previous occasions.

Jarnail Singh slotted Petroleum team's fourth goal after getting a fine pass from Hari Prasad. Jarnail moved towards the left to dodge past the defenders before guiding the ball in. Aiyamma belted the final blow in Indian Oil's camp adding one more in the 56th minute advancing the gap by 5-3.

Tyron Pereira pulled one back one in the 61st minute to reduce the margin (5-4) but the Oilmen couldn't be able to find the fifth one as the Petroleum players were successful to hold on to their lead for the next ten minutes sealing the issue in their favour.

The Chief Guest, Vice-President of India, Mohammad Hamid Ansari presented cash awards and the trophies to the winners, runners up and losing semi-finalists. The winners pocketed a sum of Rs. 1, 25, 000 while runners-up received Rs. 75, 000.

Losing semi-finalists Army XI, who also awarded with fair play trophy, and Air India (North) received Rs. 20, 000 each. Sardar Gian Singh cash award of Rs. 5,000 for the best umpire went to Jaspreet Singh.

Following individual awards carrying a cash prize of Rs. 5000 each were also presented in the presentation ceremony, Shankar Laxman best goalkeeper award was bagged by Kuttappa (BPCL), Prithipal Singh best full back award went to Sandeep Singh A.I. (North), Mohinder Lal best half back award went to Gurpreet Singh (BPCL), Udham Singh best forward award picked up by Sabu Varkey (BPCL) and the best player of the tournament for Major Dhyan Chand award went to Indian Oil's Hamza Mujtaba.

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