‘United’ Jharkhand may ask CM Marandi to do a Laloo
US claycourt crown for Indian duo
CESC beat EB to title
Pillay inspires Anil Ekka
Julien Day win
Bagan in P. Sen Trophy final
Shute Banerjee CCC win
J. Thomas beat Berger Paints

Calcutta, May 7: 
Usually, sporting bodies split after getting the much-needed affiliation. It’s different where cricket in the six-month-old Jharkhand state is concerned.

There already are two ‘bodies’ — the Jharkhand Cricket Association (JCA) and the Cricket Association of Jharkhand (CAJ) — even before the Board has granted affiliation.

Till early January, the formation of a (unified) JCA was on track, and its HQ would have been Jamshedpur, the home base of the pre-Jharkhand state Bihar Cricket Association (BCA).

Major differences, though, arose when the districts (rightly) sought a greater voice in the proposed body, but the Jamshedpur-based members “resisted.”

The bifurcation of Bihar, last November, found 12 of the 42 BCA-affiliated districts going to Jharkhand. Yet, if the existing BCA constitution was to form the basis of the one to be adopted by the JCA, the districts would continue to be short-changed.

For example, Ranchi’s vote would remain equal to that of a Jamshedpur-resident individual member of the BCA — just one.

It was, clearly, only a matter of time before the districts raised their voice and in the Ranchi-based Debal Sahay, found an aggressive votary.

“I accept it’s a peculiar situation... Really, it’s the height ofwhat would constitute an anomaly, which is why it was proposed that the districts in the Jharkhand body would, under the new constitution, have more powers. Ranchi and Dhanbad, for instance, would have ten votes each,” informed Sanjay Singh, the current BCA president.

[Former Bihar chief minister Laloo Prasad Yadav will take over later this month, with the BCA being headquartered in Patna.]

Speaking to The Telegraph from Jamshedpur, Singh added: “Unfortunately, most of the districts haven’t accepted this and they have also been advised not to have any truck with the CAJ. Still, the CAJ elections will be held Sunday and it’s possible more districts will begin gravitating towards it.”

The CAJ almost exclusively comprises individual members and the Jamshedpur-based affiliates (clubs and schools) of the BCA, as it existed before Bihar’s bifurcation.

Without going into details, the influential Singh indicated a clash of egos has played a part in the on-going (JCA-CAJ) impasse. Intriguingly, nobody has filed for the CAJ president’s post and this should be awkward for CAJ backers.

The JCA, for now, is being run by an eight-member ad-hoc committee. Sahay is the convenor.

Traditionally, the Tatas have called the cricket-shots in Bihar but, for now, the House isn’t taking the lead in Jharkhand. The top reason being the present division. While the CAJ has Jamshedpur as its HQ, the districts-packed JCA has Ranchi as home base.

Should it actually come to pick-and-choose, the Jamshedpur-factor may, however, influence the Tatas’ stand.

Speaking exclusively from Ranchi, Sahay said: “Our (voting pattern related) grievances are genuine and while we are willing to compromise, each district should at least get 20 votes...”

Sahay, of course, is confident the districts will stay “united,” though Dhanbad and West Singhbhum have switched ‘allegience’ to the CAJ.

In a smart move, the JCA has itself granted affiliation to a clutch of districts which didn’t have the BCA’s blessings in undivided Bihar. If not anything else, it will give the JCA greater leverage in negotiations with the CAJ.

It’s significant that the JCA recently conducted the inter-district Jharkhand Cup, and even got state chief minister Babulal Marandi to grace the Ranchi final. In fact, the JCA also staged an U-16 districts’ tournament without hiccups.

“Just goes to show the districts are much more active than the CAJ,” Sahay pointed out.

Sahay went to the extent of saying the JCA would be “more than happy” if, in time to come, the state chief minister assumed the presidency.

Another name doing the rounds is that of Union finance minister Yashwant Sinha. Only, neither Marandi nor Sinha will be approached till the JCA-CAJ jhamela persists.

Incidentally, the split in Jharkhand has ensured that no formula has been worked out over the division of the undivided BCA’s assets and earnings.

It is understood fixed deposits alone amount to around Rs 1.5 crore, a handsome figure by any yardstick. Last year’s staging of the India-South Africa ODI gave a whopping profit of over Rs 60 lakh.

According to sources, the JCA would like a “heavyweight” president to counter any possible Laloo move specific to the undivided BCA’s finances.

A pointer that a politician will be preferred, though Singh doesn’t foresee problems over the finances.

Once the internal hassles are sorted out, the Jharkhand body (as also Laloo’s BCA) will have to seek the Board’s blessings. And, viewing developments with much interest must surely be East Zone supremo Jagmohan Dalmiya.

The Board, by the way, will also have to decide (at its September AGM) about the affiliation demand from Chhattisgarh and Uttaranchal.


Calcutta, May 7: 
Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi completed back-to-back title-winning performances yesterday, capturing the US Men’s Claycourt doubles event in Houston.

According to information received here, the second-seeded Indians shut out unheralded American pair Kevin Kim and Jim Thomas 7-6 (7-4), 6-2 in the final to earn a cheque for $22,600. Last week’s Atlanta Challenge triumph was worth $ 26,500.

In winning their 18th career title together, Paes and Bhupathi moved up eight slots to No. 7 in the team rankings. In the individual doubles list, Paes is No. 56 and Bhupathi 25.

The Indians have now won 11 of their last 12 matches (all on clay) — easily their best streak since the memorable 1999 season when they figured in all four Grand Slam finals, conquering French Open and Wimbledon.

The Houston success also improved their record in tournament finals to an enviable 18-7. That is, Paes and Bhupathi have ended on the right side of the scoreline in 72 per cent of the finals they’ve played in.

For a pair which struggled to hit form after promising much in December-January (World Doubles in Bangalore and Gold Flake Open in Chennai), this has been quite a turnaround for the erstwhile No. 1 team. And it couldn’t have come at a better time what with the French Open round the corner and Wimbledon to follow.

Next destination for Paes-Bhupathi is Rome which hosts a Masters Series meet this week.

2nd for Roddick

In the midst of the best stretch of his short professional career, American teenager Andy Roddick won his second straight tournament, beating eighth-seeded South Korean Hyung-Taik Lee 7-5, 6-3 in the yesterday, adds AFP from Houston.

Roddick, who did not drop a set in five matches this week, thus extended his winning streak to 10. Last week, the 18-year-old Roddick won the Verizon Challenge title in Atlanta.

The 25-year-old Lee, who made a name for himself at last year’s US Open where he reached the fourth round before losing to Sampras, became the first South Korean to reach an ATP final.


Calcutta, May 7: 
They settled for second best to SAI on goal difference last year. This time around its a different story altogether. CESC needed a draw against East Bengal in their last match to win the BHA League — they won it 1-0 at the East Bengal ground today.

Sunil Soren, injured with two stitches on his forehead, broke the deadlock in the dying minutes of the game, but by then CESC looked destined to win the crown for the third time in its history. They won it last in 1993.

East Bengal’s job was cut out, they needed full points or else the league was out of their reach. Though the red-and-gold brigade did put up an inspired performance, CESC was the more aggressive, getting closer to their opponent’s D a lot more.

CESC created the first chance in the 16th minute when an accurate scoop from the right was heroically saved by East Bengal custodian Chandan Debnath. Within three minutes CESC were in the scoring position again — this time Debnath stood between Soren’s sitck and the goal. But for the inspirational performance from Debnath, the margin of defeat could have been even greater.

Christopher Thomas was in his elements, acting the midfield general and providing his able forwards, Soren and Anil Ekka, with useful passes. It was from one such move that Soren got the all-important goal, his eighth in the league.

Just after an East Bengal short corner had been wasted, the veteran Thomas counter attacked down the right. As Thomas provided with an accurate pass to the surging Soren down the middle, the goalkeeper came out of his line to collect the ball. He was comfortably beaten and Soren hit the target with precision.

Though East Bengal provided with flashes of brilliance with Pramod Kumar and Gregory Minz in good form upfront, their first positive move came as late as in the 38th minute. A Vikram Kant run down the right was foiled by a CESC defender.

CESC coach Bir Bahadur Chhetri said after the win: “We were always sure that the League will be ours, but I had some doubts regarding the number of injuries we had. But then everything turned out well,” he said after the win.

CESC finished with 24 points from 13 matches and East Bengal with 22 from their 13.

Calcutta Customs and SAI Training Centre have 20 points each, but Customs gained third spot with a better goal difference. Eastern Railway SA are fifth (17 points).

Port Trust beat CLW

Port Trust beat Chittaranjan Locomotive Works (CLW) 2-1 in the other first division group A match at the Mohun Bagan ground today. N. Toppo scored a brace as Suman Toppo got one back for CLW.    

Calcutta, May 7: 
He did not score against East Bengal today, but emerged the highest scorer in his first year in the BHA first division league. Anil Ekka of CESC provided the magic touch which has given his team the best year in hockey.

This Jharkhandi from Gumla forms his hockey dreams on the games his idol, Dhanraj Pillay, plays. Today, with his 13-goal tally, he is on way to realising one of his dreams: playing for the country.

CESC won the all-India electricity board tournament in Thirunelveli, reached the semi-final of the Beighton Cup — where they lost to CISF, Jalandhar — and now have annexed the BHA League title.

Ekka, the only new recruit in the CESC team this year, is playing for the first time in Calcutta. The diminutive man has been a livewire in the champion team’s forward line.

Partnering Sunil Soren up front, Ekka has produced some of the most important goals this season. The two together have spelt danger to every defence, and have managed to create inroads at all crucial moments. Together the duo has accounted for 21 of the 32 goals that CESC have scored this season.

A sports assistant in CESC, Ekka also boasts of a hattrick against Howrah Union. “I scored three goals against BNR as well and I rate the first there as the best goal I have scored this season,” Ekka informs.

The 22-year-old has been playing at the Sports Hostel, Panpost in Rourkela and this move to the high-profile Calcutta side has provided him with the break that the talented player required. He left his native Jharkhand some time back and feels that hockey is on the rise there.

“Though I have not been part of the St Iganatious School, I think most of the talent in hockey comes from there,” he added.

The amazing dribbler doesn’t remember when he started playing the sport, “it was when I was very young,” he says. Ask him about who his favourite hockey player is, or the person who has inspired him the most, and there is the one obvious answer — Pillay.


Calcutta, May 7: 
Julien Day School, Ganganagar, thrashed Assembly of God Church School 3-0 in the inter-school Anglo-Indian Association hockey tournament at the St James’ School ground today.

Ariful Kayal, Gurpreet Singh and Mohammed Hasinur scored for the winners.

In the another round-robin league match, a Tejinder Singh brace was enough to give Julien Day School (Elgin Road) to a 2-0 win over a combined St James’ and St Thomas’ School team.

Junior tennis meet

The Shyambazar Tennis Club will host the AITA junior zonal meet for boys and girls this month.    

Calcutta, May 7: 
An unbroken 112-run partnership off 76 balls for the fourth wicket between Safi Ahmed and Sanjiv Goel helped Mohun Bagan enter the P. Sen Trophy final at the Eden Gardens today. They beat Tapan Memorial by seven wickets in the semi-final.

The match was delayed because of rain and further intermittent showers during the first session reduced the total number of overs for each side to 43.

Batting first, Tapan Memorial never found the going easy. Debopam Sarkar top scored with 34 (40 balls, 3x4) and the innings was built around some steady countributions from all the top and middle-order batsmen.

Set a target of 209 at an asking rate of 4.8 runs per over, Mohun Bagan were on the offensive from the outset. Openers Laxmi Ratan Shukla and Nikhil Haldipur were severe on the medium-pacers but once the spinners were introduced the run flow was controlled.

Shukla — who got engaged in a verbal duel with Somdeb Saha after dismissing him in the seventh over of the day — was the more attacking of the two. His 34 came off 41 balls and had four boundaries.

Haldipur (45 off 60 balls, 4x4) concentrated on the singles and was content with rotating the strike. But the consecutive dismissals of Shukla and Haldipur halted the run flow. Devang Gandhi (13) tried to step up the run-rate but once he drove back a bit too early at left-arm spinner Rajib Dutta, the pressure seemed to tell on the Bagan batsmen.

However, Safi (35 not out off 46 balls, 1x4) and Goel (76 not out off 70 balls, 7x4, 2x6) showed superb determination and application in carving out the victory.

BRIEF SCORES: Tapan Memorial 208 in 43 ovs (Debopam Sarkar 34, Sounak Das 30, Somdeb Saha 27; Soumen Singh 3/29). Mohun Bagan 209/3 in 38.3 (Laxmi Ratan Shukla 34, Nikhil Haldipur 45, Safi Ahmed 35 n.o., Sanjiv Goel 76 n.o.). Bagan won by 7 wkts.

Naktala HS in CAB under-19 meet semis

National High School entered the semi-finals of the Pepsi CAB under-19 inter-school meet. In the quarter final at Deshbandhu Park today, they beat Kalighat High School by 145 runs. National HS’ Abhirup Banerjee hit an unbeaten 121. Chasing 243, Kalighat HS were bundled out for 97.

In another quarter final, Scottish Church ‘tossed out’ Md Jaan after the outfield at Rajdanga ground was ruled unfit for play.

In the semis tomorrow, National HS meet Shyambazar AV, while Scottish Church face South Point.

BRIEF SCORES: National HS 242/3 in 20 ovs (Abhirup Banerjee 121 n.o., Vikas Singh 52, Subhojit Pal 39). Kalighat HS 97 in 19.5 (Amit Biswas 29; Soumya Pal 2/15, Dibyendu Sarkar 2/15, Indranil Sengupta 2/17). NHS won by 145 runs.


Calcutta, May 7: 
Shute Banerjee CCC and P. Sen Memorial CCC won their matches in the all-Bengal Shyamaprasad Mukherjee junior meet organised by Aikya.


Garia Milan Sangha 91 in 21.3 (Subrata Das 33; Jogiroj Chatterjee 3/10). S. Banerjee CCC 94/0 in 10.4 (S. Bhowmick 47 n.o., Rakesh Krishnan 29 n.o.). Shute Banerjee CCC won by 10 wkts.

P. Sen Memorial CCC 189/5 in 22 (Arup Banerjee 65). Deshbandhu Park CC 140 in 19.1 (S. Banik 34; Subhra Mukherjee 4/27, Tarun Das 3/2). P. Sen Memorial CCC won by 49 runs.

Pradip Ghosh champion

Pradip Ghosh, with eight points, emerged champion after the ninth round in the Howrah district chess championship. Punit Jaiswal and Sanjoy Das finished second and third, respectively.

OTHER WINNERS: BOYS: U-6: Swarup Dey Sarkar; U-8: Abhratanu Dutta; U-10: Siddhartha Das; U-12: Arpan Sarkar; U-14: Suddhastha Das. GIRLS: U-10: Sriya Bhattacharya.


Calcutta, May 7: 
J. Thomas & Co. defeated Berger Paints 4-1 in The Telegraph Merchants’ Cup invitational five-a-side football meet today.

RESULTS —TCG Software bt Paes en Sport 3-2; Williamson Magor bt ITC Infotech 3-0; BDA bt The Telegraph 1-0; HSBC bt The Assam Co. Ltd 2-1; Blue Star bt ITC Ltd A 8-0; Madhya Bharat Papers bt Deutsche Bank 6-0; Bata bt ICICI Yellow 7-0; Goodricke bt Infar India 2-0; Selvel A bt Seagrams 9-0; Contreight/Hanjin Shipping bt Price Waterhouse Coopers 2-0; The Park bt Bates India 4-0; J. Thomas bt Berger Paints 4-1.


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