Orissa’s Das the dark horse
11-stroke lead for Meesawart
SAI tame E. Rly
One-sided bridge victory for Railways
Bardhaman, Barisha win

Calcutta, May 4 
Veteran Vinod Kambli is likely to be recalled, while Orissa’s Shiv Sundar Das and Tamil Nadu’s Hemang Badani, too, could figure among the 20 probables for the Asia Cup later this month.

The selectors meet in Mumbai tomorrow morning — first, to appoint the captain (it can only be Sourav Ganguly) and, then, to pick the probables.

Also in the running is Punjab’s gifted youngster Yuvraj Singh and the much-talked about quick, Baroda’s Zahir Khan.

However, it’s not clear as yet whether Jawagal Srinath is available for selection.

Though coach Kapil Dev jumped the gun immediately after the Sharjah tri-series, announcing Srinath wasn’t too keen on playing ODIs, the spearhead himself hasn’t made a formal announcement.

“As of now I haven’t been told anything. If Srinath has conveyed something to the Board, then my colleagues and I will be told about it at the meeting,” the Pune-based chief selector, Chandu Borde, told The Telegraph this evening.

Indications are that even if Srinath is available, the selectors may think hard about retaining him. Ditto where Venkatesh Prasad is concerned.

There could be some debate over the wicketkeeper’s slot, but it will be a surprise if Syed Saba Karim doesn’t again make the cut. He isn’t really being ‘pushed’ by anyone.

Incidentally, Delhi’s Amit Bhandari should get one more call-up, while Sadagopan Ramesh also could be fancying his chances.

V.V.S. Laxman, who had a phenomenal (domestic) run in the season just ended, probably won’t be considered as the selectors remain convinced he is suited only for the sport’s longer version.    

Calcutta, May 4 
If there were still simmering hopes of dislodging Prom Meesawart from his perch at the Asia-Pacific junior golf tournament, the 15-year-old from Thailand quashed them today with a sub-par round at the RCGC.

The one-under 71, which took his aggregate to 219, opened up an 11-stroke lead at the top, while those ‘shadowing’ him over the three days of the meet fell away with uninspiring rounds today.

With just one round to go, the defending champion looks home and dry in the boys’ A group.

In second-place, on 230, are Min Yu Liu of Chinese Taipei and Korea’s Hyo Hun Choi. The pair is followed by Ronancha Kamnong of Thailand (231) and India’s Ashok Kumar (232).

Gurbaaz Mann and local lad Ranjit Singh occupy seventh and eighth places, respectively.

Thailand looks headed for the boys’ team title. They have a score of 679 and are followed by Korea (692), India (724), Chinese Taipei (729), Singapore (776), Malaysia (782) and Hong Kong (796).

Meesawart came up with with birdies on the fifth, eighth and 15th today on a course that had taken a fair amount of drenching yesterday.

Hyo Jun, at one stage going three-under, ended the round with a three-over 75 even as Min Yu brought in a 74. Mann had a 76.

As far as the sideshows go, Sahil Dewan and Ye Myat Win of Myanmar are surely hogging a great deal of the limelight. As the two youngest players in the tournament — Sahil is six and Ye Myat eight — everyone is keen to know how they swing on the course.

Sahil, who plays most of his golf at the Noida course near Delhi, has been “a youngest” at several tournaments. He can take all that in his stride, what with his “professional objective” (as described in his CV) being “to win the Asian Games gold in 2008” and becoming the “world’s No. 1 golfer by 2013”.

By the way, Sahil started playing golf when he was two years and six months.

Now, that’s catching it young!

Also butting into the limelight today was Mohammad Wazir, a caddie from Delhi who has been the runner-up at the all-India junior championship at Chandigarh. Wazir had a hole-in-one at the second, with a nine iron.    

Calcutta, May 5 
SAI Training Centre tamed Eastern Railway SA 4-3 in a first division (group A) match of the BHA league today. Edmund Karketta struck twice while Joseph Ekka and Junas Bara scored the other goals for SAI. Petrus Ekka, Ashok Rajak and Sher Shah were the Railway scorers.

The other group A matches of the day ended in stalemates, BNR and CCFC playing out a 2-2 draw, CESC and Customs locked in a 1-1 score and Howrah Union-Mohammedan Sporting match failing to produce a goal.

Kishore Khalco scored both for BNR while the CCFC goals came from Gurmeet Singh and Harpreet Singh. Chistopher Thomas struck for CESC and the Customs goal came from Pradip Jena.

In group B, Khalsa Blues crushed Calcutta Rangers 3-1.

BSF, North Bengal moved into the third round of the Kaivan Cup with a 3-2 win over Behala SA.    

The 31st summer national bridge championship was held in Sanawar in Himachal Pradesh, from April 21 to 29. A total of twenty eight teams had lined up for the inter-association team championship for the T. P. Khosla trophy which replaced the 30-year old Guru Dutt trophy.

After the initial two days of play in the group league, eight teams qualified for the quarter final. These eight were Uttar Pradesh who led their group from the start, the two Maharashtra teams, Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka, Ordnance Factories and Railways.

In the absence of the Indian team, the only upset was the failure of Bengal to qualify. In fact, the team put up a pathetic show and lost ignominiously to several weak opponents.

In the quarter final, Railways won all their seven matches to head the league table and qualify for the semi-finals with a round to go. Both Maharashtra teams were also comfortably placed with a match left and easily made the cut. The fourth berth was a tussle between UP and Karnataka, on 99 and 91 VPs, respectively, when the last match started. The UP-Railway match ended first and it gave the UP players some anxious moments as they lost 14-16 to finish on 113 with Karnataka facing a mediocre Ordnance Factories squad. However, Karnataka lost 8-22 to pave the way for UP’s entry into the semis.

As per regulations, the quarter-final league topper Railways had a choice of opponents and they opted to face UP, leaving the two Maharashtra teams to battle it out in the other semi-final. Both matches were close. With one set to go in the 4-quarter 64-board match, UP led Railways by 13 IMPs while Maharashtra ‘A’ led the ‘B’ team by a solitary IMP. This last board had a startling effect on the outcome of both matches:

Maharashtra ‘B’ were up by three IMPs with this board to go. At one table Maharashtra ‘A’ reached six hearts on the North-South cards and easily scored it. At the other table, Maharashtra ‘B’ bid up to seven hearts, a highly anti-percentage grand requiring a 2-2 heart break plus a 3-3 diamond break, an overall probability of about 14.5% or about one in seven. The grand duly failed to give the ‘A’ team 14 IMPs and a ticket to the final.

In the other match, UP had lost its lead and was trailing by seven IMPs when this last board arrived. They got a heaven-sent opportunity when Railways stopped in game on the North-South cards. All they needed to do was to bid six hearts in the other room for an 11-IMP gain and the match, but they not only doubled their opponents in three spades but also allowed them the make.

The final between Railways, comprising Vinod Sharma, Saroj Bhattacharjee, Manas Mukherjee, Rana Roy, Amar Nath Banerjee and Hasibul Hasan, and Maharashtra ‘A’, comprising Deepak Poddar, Suhas Vaidya, Milind Athavale, Anal Shah, B. G. Ogle and C. P. Deshpande, turned out to be a damp squib. Railways won all four quarters of the 64-board match to win by 174 IMPs to 110.

The Selected Pairs event for the Agarwala trophy attracted a field of 74 pairs, of which 34 qualified for the one-day semi-final after the initial 2-day qualifying round. At the end of the semi-final, the top 16 pairs qualified for the 2-day final in which each pair played a 8-board match against every other pair, with Butler IMPs scoring and then each match result converted to Vps.

The two best pairs on paper in the final field, Sushas Vaidya-Milind Athavale and R. Sridharan-Anand Samant, both of Maharashtra, never got going and it was left to Prakash Paranjpe-Vivek Bhand to salvage Maharashtra’s honour by successfully defending the title they had first won last year. Their score of 481 VPs out of a maximum possible 750 was 34 VPs clear of second-placed Keyzad Anklesaria-Sunit Choksi of Ahmedabad.

The third place went to A. Vijayvargiya-J. Agarwal of Madhya Pradesh while Bengal got a consolation in the form of a fourth place earned by the non-regular partnership of Sovan Mitra and Sukomal Das.    

Calcutta, May 4 
Bardhaman district retained their title as they beat Rakhi Sangha 27-21 in the girls’ final of the 10th state youth basketball championship today.

In the boys’ section, Barisha Athletic Club defeated Chhatra Samity 52-46 in a keenly fought final. Earlier, Chhatra Samity pipped Rakhi Sangha 35-34 in the semi-final that couldn’t be played yesterday due to the nor’wester that hit the city in the evening.

Sarika Sharma and Pampa Ghosh were the top scorers for Bardhaman with nine points each. Priyanka Kumari scored the same number of points for Rakhi Sangha. Twelve-year-old Poushali Dutta of Rakhi Sangha impressed with her speed and skill. But, in the end, she too like most of her teammates, lacked accuracy.

The half-time scores read 16-10 in favour of Bardhaman and even though Rakhi Sangha made a late surge, they could never catch up with their rivals.

In the boys’ final, Ravi Kant Pandey, who was declared the Most Valuable Player, opened the scoring with a brilliant three pointer. In a closely fought battle, the teams were locked 20-20 at halftime. Chhatra Samity started off well in the second half but Barisha were left not far behind.

At the end of the scheduled time, the teams were tied at 43 each, forcing five minutes of extra time. There was no catching Barisha this time as they came up trumps.

Souvik Bhattacharya top scored with 26 points for Barisha while Pandey scored 19 for their opponents. The latter also got the maximum three pointers in the final.    


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