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VR Raghunath, Devinder Walmiki help PSPB reach national hockey semis

Olympians VR Raghunath and Devinder Walmiki fired a goal each to help Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB) brush aside Hockey Unity of Tamil Nadu 2-0 to make it to the semi-finals of the National Hockey Championships.

other sports Updated: Jun 14, 2017 19:24 IST
VR Raghunath,Devinder Walmiki,National Hockey Championships
Action from the quarterfinal between Central Industrial Security Force (in orange) and Hockey Madhya Pradesh (in blue) in the Hockey India National Championships in Lucknow on Wednesday.(Hockey India)

Despite being ignored for the India squad for the men’s Hockey World League (HWL) Semi-Final, starting Thursday at London, both VR Raghunath and Devinder Walmiki haven’t lost their focus for the game.

On Wednesday, the two Olympians fired a goal each to help Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB) brush aside Hockey Unity of Tamil Nadu 2-0 to make it to the semi-finals of the 7th Senior National Men’s B Division Championship here.

Now on Friday in the first semi-final, PSPB take on Central Secretariat, who notched up a 4-2 win against Hockey Himachal in the second quarterfinal, while in the second semi-final, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) meet Central Industrial Security Force (CISF). The final is slated for Saturday.

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Though a star-studded PSPB dominated the proceedings with former Olympian Devesh Chauhan manning the goal post, Tamil Nadu men too came up with some stunning display of defence at the Padamshree Mohd Shahid Astro Turf Stadium.

After a goalless first quarter, midfielder Walmiki raided Tamil Nadu’s goalpost from the left-side and darted the ball with an angular shot in the 20th minute (1-0).

The goal, however, alerted the Tamil Nadu men, who pressed hard to restore parity, launching a foray of attacks, but in vain. And minutes before the end of the third quarter, Raghunath converted a penalty corner into goal to round off the tally (2-0) in the 39th minute.

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Despite conceding a goal in the first quarter, Central Secretariat bounced back superbly to score three consecutive goals before striking the fourth one in the last quarter.

Ajitesh Roy (15th), Felix Baa (24th), Jayesh Jadhav (31st) and Vinayak Bijwad (53rd) struck for the winners whereas Sumeet Pal Singh (13th) and Naurvi Ram (45th) shared two goals between them for Himachal.

In the third quarterfinal of the day, it turned out to be an easy one for the CRPF who knocked out Hockey Puducherry 3-1 while dominating the first two quarters.

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Ignacius Toppo struck in the ninth and 28th minutes to give 2-0 lead to the side early in the game whereas Wasiullah Khan scoring the third one a minute before the end of the third quarter. However, V Veerathamizhan netted the consolation goal for the losers in the 53rd minute.

In the last quarterfinal, CISF, after facing tough resistance from Hockey Madhya Pradesh, scored a thrilling solitary goal win. Adnan Wasim struck the all-important goal in the 34th minute after dodging a bunch of rival defenders.

The A division matches, comprising 20 teams, start from Thursday.

First Published: Jun 14, 2017 19:24 IST