Punjab wins the Under – 17 Nationals, with a narrow defeat of Mumbai (2-1) — Press Release (8th June, 2011) (Source: stick2hockey.com)
A seemingly innocuous error in judgement by Mumbai goalkeeper Karan Thakur paved the way for Punjab to annex the title in the Junior National Hockey Championships for boys under-17 with a 2-1 victory over the hosts. Ramandeep Singh of Punjab failed to trap cleanly a through pass from his colleague Harsahib Singh in the circle and Karan thinking that the ball was last played by one of his defenders allowed the ball to enter the goal much to the surprise of his team mates and the sizable crowd which had gathered at the MHA Mahindra Stadium expecting a good match.
Barring that incident, the hockey lovers had their monies worth as both the teams displayed a fast and exciting brand of hockey with end-to-end action. Punjab were expected to sail smoothly but Mumbai made them fight till the very end. Mumbai should blame themselves and not the goalkeeper failing to convert as many as ten penalty corners and a host of field opportunities. The tendency of central link man Anup Walmiki to hang on to the ball; especially in the second half hit Mumbai badly. The hosts started well taking the lead in the 6th minute as Ganendrajit Ranjit controlled the a raise ball in the circle and slammed it past a bewildered Punjab defence and the keeper Harmanpreet Singh. Mumbai got five penalty corners in the first fifteen minute and failure to convert any afforded Punjab the opportunity to level terms. It was a fine move which originated from the stick of captain Gurjant Singh who laid a long through for Gurpreet Singh (Sr) on the right. The latter beat a defender drew the goalkeeper out and laid a perfect square for Davinder to connect on the run.
Buoyed by the success Punjab attacked forcing Mumbai to defend in numbers. They we lucky when Davinder capitalizing on a defensive lapse reverse – hit the ball inches wide off the far post . Punjab too had their moments of anxiety as Ashutosh Lingesh who had broken through was foiled in the nick of time by Karan Kumar and keeper Harmanpreet Singh. Mumbai had the ball in the net off their in the 33rd minute but to their relief the umpire disallowed the goal for dangerous play. Mumbai had another opportunity immediately after resumption but Rajat Sharma after going through the rival defence was unable to beat Harmanpreet. A melee ensued but Punjab wriggle out of the situation.
The accidental goal did not dampen Mumbai’s spirits and they came close scoring on a quite of number of occasions. Nikhir Pujari , Ganendrajit missed the goal narrowly a couple of times while Rajat ballooned the ball over trying the reverse hit. There was a bit of drama when umpire Shridharan Thamba awarded the goal to Mumbai from their 8th penalty corner but rectified the error after consulting co-umpire A.S.Negi. Mumbai kept on trying but the title finally slipped away.
In the hardlines match Karnataka expectedly mauled Rajasthan 10-1 with Basawaraj top scoring with four goals
The captain of Punjab Gurjant Singh was adjudged the man of the match as well as man of the tournament and was awarded a cash prize of rupees fifteen thousand. A similar prize was given to Basawaraj of Karnataka being the highest scorer in the tournament. S
Hardlines: Karnataka 10 (Basavaraj.S.A 4, Shreyas K.R 2, Somanna P.A, Seshe Gowda B.M, Nirmal Chinnappa A.D, Milan K.G) beat Rajasthan 1 (Sanjay Khan)
Finals: Punjab 2 (Davinder Kumar, Ramandeep Singh) beat Mumbai 1 (Ganendrajit Ranjit )