EB look for consistency
Churchill, Mahindra in semis
The Lions to slip back into sleeves at World Cup
Doubts over Sourav availability
Amateur team title for South Africa
E. Zone meet from Thursday
City leg kicks off today
Calcutta Races/ Six events in Wednesday’s card
Track Trials/ Calculate impresses
Race Review/ Romantic Notes’ Acorn Stakes win opened up “Triple Tiara’’

New Delhi, Feb. 11: 
New coach Subhas Bhowmick has restored commitment, cohesion and mobility in East Bengal and his team’s first-half performance against Salgaocar yesterday has been the best display by any team in the Durand Cup so far.

His next hurdle is Churchill Brothers whom East Bengal face in the semi-final Thursday. Bhowmick said the problem with confidence has been solved but the team has to show consistency now. He said if his players maintained this form, they can recover and finish in the top three in the National League.

On a cold, wet and rainy day in the Capital, Bhowmick allowed full rest to those who played against Salgaocar but the reserve players underwent an extensive training session. There are injury worries over midfielder Dipankar Roy (ankle) and defender Jackson Egygpong (ribs). However, Bhowmick is confident that both will be fit for the semi-final.

Another problem is the yellow card against six players. One more for any of those in the semi-final would rule them out of the final. Goalkeeper Sangram Mukherjee, defender Suley Musah and forward Bijen Singh are among those under this threat and the coach said they would have play “judiciously.”

The good form of three players — Chandan Das, Jose Carlos da Silva and Bijen — has been the point of encouragement for East Bengal. P.K. Banerjee, technical advisor to the national junior teams, has even seen traces of Gautam Sarkar in Chandan’s mobility, work-rate and tackling.

Bijen, a late inclusion in the crucial tie against Salgaocar, has also impressed with his speed and tenacity. He fulfils coach Bhowmick’s demands of providing thrust to the flank and also falls back to help the midfield. Carlos has added variety to the attack. His quick movements, clever distribution and sharp dribbling have added bite to the attack. Bijen and Carlos are combining well.

Bhowmick’s problems now are goalkeeper Sangram Mukherjee, still not in the best of form and a scorer. The out-of-form Dipendu Biswas and the ageing I.M. Vijayan have not delivered so far.


New Delhi, Feb. 11: 
On a slushy, water-filled ground on which buffaloes would fear to tread, Churchill Brothers and runners-up Mahindra United progressed to the semi-finals of the 114th Allwyn Durand Cup football tournament. Churchill ousted the All India Football Federation (AIFF) under-19 squad 1-0 in a group D match while the group C game between Mahindra United and FC Kochin, played in fading light, ended in a goalless draw.

Churchill, winners of Group D are the only team to reach the last four with an all win record and six points from two matches. Mahindra United qualified with four points from two matches. FC Kochin, undergoing a severe financial crunch and with a foreign coach, Karel Stromsik of the Czech Republic, finished with two points after two draws and failed to progress. Mahindra play the first semi-final against ITI Bangalore on Wednesday and East Bengal take on Churchill on Valentine’s Day.

The deplorable condition of the Ambedkar stadium surface, after just one downpour, is a severe indictment of the organising committee of the Afro-Asian games and union sports minister Uma Bharati. They had claimed that the surface had been suitably re-turfed and drainage improved that there would be no waterlogging. However today’s experience showed that such claims were hollow.

Match commissioner Melwyn D’Souza (a former Fifa referee, based in Delhi), surprisingly, allowed play to continue claiming that only ten per cent of the playing area was unplayable. However the ball floated in several areas and near both the goalmouths, tended to get stuck in the slush.

Hence scoring opportunities were limited in both matches. Churchill scored the match winner in the 40th minute. Iranian recruit, Mousavi Syed Amin, who has joined from Peykan Club, Tehran sent a fine diagonal through from the left to Yusuf Yakubu. The burly Ghanaian scored with a firm shot past goalkeeper Milagro Madeira.

In the second half, AIFF U- 19 nearly equalised but midfielder Subhash Chakraborty’s goalbound flick got stuck in the mud, with goalkeeper Edward Ansah beaten.

Mahindra United dominated proceedings but could not score. Attacking midfielders Jules Alberto and Austin Okolo unleashed several powerful long range shots in the first half, but Kochin’s ‘keeper Ali Abubacker saved impressively. Their only attempt was by winger Sushanth Matthews but Virender Singh, the Mahindra custodian pulled off a smart save.

There will be no match tomorrow.


Calcutta, Feb. 11: 
The African Nations Cup victory was very much in keeping with Cameroon’s growing reputation as a soccer power. Their supremacy at the continental level is today beyond dispute, and not many eyebrows were raised when they successfully defended the title in Bamako, Mali, yesterday.

However, Cameroon surprised all by sporting sleeveless shirts. Jerseys have been known to change in size and shape and stain, even in texture. But this variation has been a remarkable shift from tradtion. Few recall the sight of a team sporting such jerseys in an international competiton.

However, come World Cup, and the Indomitable Lions will get back to what has been the tradition and wear outfits deemed proper by Fifa.

Following a query by The Telegraph, a top official of the Fifa Communications Department said World Cup norms would not change and Cameroon would have to get back to “conventional” ways.

Even the world governing body of the game was surprised by the sight of sleeveless shirts, he added. “The appearance of sleeveless shirts did raise a few eyebrows on our side. Cameroon, however, appear to have been perfectly within the norms set by CAF (the African confederation) for the African Nations Cup,” he said.

According to him, Fifa was quite clear about what is permitted in the World Cup and said there was no question of making an exception. “The sleeveless shirts are not in line with Fifa’s equipment regulations which will also apply to the World Cup. The Indomitable Lions will therefore play in shirts of a more conventional style,” the Fifa message said.


Calcutta, Feb. 11: 
Sourav Ganguly is unlikely to play for Bengal in the Ranji Trophy semi-final match against Railways, starting in Delhi from Wednesday.

Sourav, who did not go to the Eden the last two days during Bengal’s quarter final match versus Gujarat because to high temperature, has not reportedly recovered fully yet.

According to a close family member of the Indian captain, contacted late tonight by The Telegraph, Sourav will take a formal decision on his chances of playing the semi-final tie tomorrow morning. In case he gives the nod to play he will fly to Delhi in the evening tomorrow.

CAB joint secretary Bablu Kolay, however, was confident about his playing. “My understanding is that he is playing for Bengal,” Kolay said today.

Meanwhile, the Bengal team left for New Delhi this morning, but missed the afternoon practice there because of rains. According to information received by the CAB, owing to development of a depression in north India, rains are also expected tomorrow and during the match.

That means winning the toss will be crucial.


Calcutta, Feb. 11: 
South African pair of Charl Schwarizel and Louis Oosthuizen won the international team championship in the East India amateur golf championship at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club today with a total of 291.

Schwarizel and Oosthuizen effected scores of two under 70 and level par of 72, respectively, as they made a dramatic recovery from fourth place to claim the title after two rounds of stroke play.

Schwarizel scored birdies on the third, tenth and 17th holes while Oosthuizen eagled the par five hole.

India B of Gagan Verma and Manav Das, overnight leaders, were edged out to third place by a solitary stroke. Sri Lanka A, comprising Aruna Rohanna and Lalith Kumara, with a cumulative score of 295, strode into the second position.

India A comprising Keshav Mishra and Gurbaaz Mann were fourth at 299 and India C of Jaideep Patwardhan and Simarjeet Singh finished behind them.

Tim Rice and Michael McDermott of Ireland and Sri Lanka B formed the tail with 314 and 326, respectively.


Calcutta, Feb. 11: 
With an all-time East Zone high of ten states participating stiff competition is expected in the East Zone national kho-kho championships, starting at Serampore in Hooghly district from Thursday.

Bengal are the defending champions in both the men and women’s sections.

Bengal’s men are grouped with Bihar, Orissa, Tripura and Sikkim, while runners-up Manipur, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Assam and Nagaland are in another group.

In the women’s category, Bengal are clubbed with Bihar, Jharkhand, Tripura and Nagaland, while Manipur, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Assam and Sikkim will form the other group.

Two teams from each group will make to the last four stage.

Matches will be played at three courts in Mahesh Bhratri Sangha club. Serampore Municipality is the chief organ-iser of the Thursday-Saturday meet.

Announcing this at a press meet, Kho-Kho Federation of India president, Asoke Ghosh said that chances of the game’s inclusion in the Asian Games in near future have brightened following Japan and Thailand’s growing interest in it.

Dhrub, Vinod win easy

Third seed Dhrub Kumar and fourth seed Vinod Sewa scripted easy wins in the men’s singles first round of the Ordnance Club tennis tournament today.

Dhrub thrashed Sukanta Roy 6-1, 6-2 while Vinod brushed aside Kirit Parekh 6-2, 6-0.


Bhagirath Kumar bt Somnath Manna 6-0, 6-1; Manoj Kumar Sewa bt Sourav Boral 6-0, 6-0; Ajay Singh bt Md. Younis 6-1, 6-2; Arif Hasan bt Sudipta Laha 6-0, 6-0; Snehashish Mukherjee bt Saikat Sen 6-1, 6-1; Pratik Saria bt Sudarshan Kajaria 6-0, 6-1.

Archery meet

The national-level archery meet for women was inaugurated at SAI Eastern Centre today. Proper action begins tomorrow. The first day of competitions will witness action in the Indian category. It includes two events — 50m and 30m. About 144 are taking part in the meet.


Calcutta, Feb. 11: 
The Calcutta phase of the Britannia-Anandabazar Cup will kick off tomorrow with 46 teams vying for top honours. The ten-day meet will be played at five grounds in the city — SAI-I and SAI-II, Dum Dum Park, Belgachia, Rabindra Sarobar Stadium and Park Circus.

In tomorrow’s inaugural matches, Bawali Pally Mongal High School will take on Naktala High School and Tollygunge Ashoke Nagar Vidyapith will face Kalidham Institute at Rabindra Sarobar Stadium, while at Park Circus Maidan, Tiljala Brojonath Vidyapith will meet Islamia High School.

Four semi-finalists from the city leg will join twelve qualifiers from the districts in the Anandabazar Patrika Super Cup, to be held in May.

IFA joint secretary Ranjit Gupta told reporters that a proposal has been made to allow the finalists of the Super Cup to get a direct entry into the Subroto Cup. The Super Cup champions will also go on a week-long tour of India, under the tutelage of veteran coach Amal Dutta, in June.


Calcutta, Feb. 11: 
A packed racing programme in the last fortnight has weighed heavily upon fields that are very moderate in the mid-week race-card on Wednesday. Nevertheless, there are two trophy events in the frame of six — the Esquire Cup for horses in Class III and the Gurkirpal Cup for the class lower. First race starts ar 1.15 pm.


1. Vibrant Handicap 1,200m (Cl V, Rt. 00-28) 1.15 pm: Castle Moon 60; Scenic Song 56.5; Kyalami 55; Wild Is The Wind 55; Blessed Spirit 51.5.

2. Port Desire Handicap 1,100m (Cl IV, Rt. 22-50) 1.55 pm: Lively Project 61; Wakamba Warrior 61; Secret Adversary 59.5; Simply Monarch 59.5; Zuhaak 58.5; Fly By Alibi 55.5; Rheinheart 55; Sencai 53.5; April Ace 51.5.

3. Gurkirpal Cup 1,200m (Cl IV, Rt. 22-50) 2.25 pm: Brave Venture 60; Magnifico 58.5; Software 57; Constantine 52.

4. Right Ahead Handicap 1,100m (Cl III, 5-y-o & over Rt. 44-72) 3 pm: Altiama 61; Mystic Hill 57.5; Affliction 53.5; Best In Show 52.5; Sovereign Bullet 52.5; Schumacher 51.5; Carbon Copy 49.5; At My Command 48.5.

5. Esquire Cup 1,400m (Cl III, Rt. 44-72) 3.35 pm: Winning Glory 61; Aflicker 59; Raring To Go 54; Charlene 53.5; Grand Lodge 53.5; Tajik 53.5; Cool Quest 53; Calabash 51.5; Calculate 50.5; Rescue Act 50.5.

6. Fair Haven Handicap 1,100m (Cl V, 3-y-o only Rt. 00-28) 4.10 pm: Assailer 60; Annotate 59.5; Arian 58.5; Amarelle 58; Dancing Rhythm 58; Primaticcio 58; River Melody 58; Social Girl 57.5; Gryffindor 56.5; Moon Quest 56.5; Software Classic 56.5; Mahika’s Pet 55.5.

Jackpot: 2; 3; 4; 5 & 6.

Treble: (i) 1; 2 & 3; (ii) 4; 5 & 6.

Calcutta, Feb. 11: 
Calculate was impressive from among the following horses worked yesterday morning.

Sand track

1,600m: Arterial (Upadhya) in 1-50s: (400m) 27s. Moved well. Touch of Elegance (Yasin) and Crowned Prince (Asghar) in 1-54s; (400m) 25s. They were level.

1,400m: Mack The Knife (K. Kumar) and Saladin (Rutherford) in 1-30s; (400m) 25s. They were level.

1,000m: Affliction (C. Alford) and Automatic (Surender) in 1-5s; (400m) 27s. Former 4 ls better.

800m: Calculate (Surender) in 50s; (400m) 24s. Moved well. Winning Glory (A. P. Singh) in 52s; (400m) 23s. Note. Social Girl (Asghar) in 58s; (400m) 25s. Assailer (C. Alford) and Altigraph (Surender) in 50s; (400m) 24s. Former was 3 ls better.

On Saturday, outer sand track

1,400m: Saladin (Rutherford) and Carbon Steel (K. Kumar) in 1-44s; (400m) 28s. Former a length better. Keep The Faith (V. Jaiswal) in 1-52s; (400m) 31s. No Regrets (Engineer) and Among Men (Som S.) in 1-43s; (400m) 28s. Former 4 ls better.

1,200m: Cupid’s Arrow (Brij) in 1-31s; (400m) 31s. Abridge (Gajender) and Attune (Amil) in 1-32s; (400m) 30s. They were level. On The Bit (K. Kumar) in 1-24s; (400m) 31s. Good. Comedy of Errors (C. Alford) in 1-23s; (400m) 28s. Impressed. Arrayal (C. Alford) and Looked Away/ Star Story (Amil) in 1-28s; (400m) 29s. Former far better. Zuhaak (Saran) in 1-33s; (400m) 28s.

1,000m: Sovereign Bullet (Shanker) in 1-11s; (400m) 30s. Pushed. Calabash (C. Alford) and Approval (Amil) in 1-10s; (400m) 28. Former was 4 ls better. Touch of Elegance (Dalpat) in 1-12s; (400m) 29s. Easy.

800m: Cup of Life (C. Alford) 54s; (400m) 27s. Good. Kargil Soldier (Rutherford) in 55s; (400m) 27s. Moved well. Dancing Rhythm (Shanker) in 56s; (400m) 28s. Easy. Glass Slipper (K. Kumar) in 54s; (400m) 27s. Moved well. Tiger Talk (Som S.) in 57s; (400m) 29s. Easy. Fencai (Engineer) in 58s; (400m) 30s. Magnifico (C. Alford) in 57s; (400m) 26s. Handy. Raaz (Som S.) in 58s; (400m) 29s. Constantine (Yacoob) in 57s; (400m) 29s. Val Rouge (Yacoob) in 1-1s; (400m) 28s. Easy. Procida/ Her Royal Highness (Rb) and Adducer (Rb) in 58s; (400m) 29s. They were level. Castle Moon (Saran) in 55s; (400m) 29s. Good. Alborada (Yasin) and Ay My Command (R. Ahmed) in 56s; (400m) 28s. They were level and they moved well.

600m: Black Mane (Yacoob) in 47s; (400m) 31s; Actress (Surender) in 39s; (400m) 26s. Moved well. Joypore (Shanker) in 43s; (400m) 28s. Pushed.

Sand track

1,400m: Arterial (Rb) in 1-46s; (400m) 30s. Fit. Smart Ruler (Asghar) and Royal City (Connorton) in 1-38s; (400m) 26s. Former was a length better. Both are fit. Adeline (Rb) in 1-44s; (400m) 32s. Eased up in last part. Flinders (Rb) in 1-38s; (400m) 29s. Easy.

1,000m: Rheinheart (Shanker) in 1-6s; (400m) 26s. Moved well. Peppy Mistress (Som S.) in 1-7s; (400m) 27s. Easy. Russian Czar (Rutherford) in 1-5s; (400m) 23s. Note.

800m: Spanish Drum’s (R. Ahmed) in 57s; (400m) 29s. Regency Times (K. Kumar) in 58s; (400m) 26s. Mahika’s Pet (Brij S.) and Arian (P. Alford) in 52s; (400m) 25s. Former was a length better. Both moved well. Ballet Master (Connorton) in 50s; (400m) 24s. Good. Fly By Alibi (P. Alford) in 50s; (400m) 24s. Note. Kyalami (Brij S.) in 52s; (400m) 27s. Easy. Wakamba Warrior (Shanker) in 47s; (400m) 25s. Note. Auctioneer (Amil) in 50s; (400m) 26s. Moved well. Tajik (P. Alford) in 50s; (400m) 24s. Fir

600m: Scenic Song (Yacoob) in 38s; (400m) 24s. Easy. Schumacher (K. Kumar) in 38s; (400m) 23s.Fit.


Calcutta, Feb. 11: 
Romantic Notes’ short-head victory in the Acorn Stakes, last Saturday, not only robbed Star Selection of Rs 1.4 lakh in stakes but the Vijay Singh-trainee also deprived the Green Forest-Classic Story filly from a possible Rs 4 lakh bonus.

Acorn Stakes was the second leg of the fillies’ championship series, the Triple Tiara, and the Daniel David ward had already picked up the opening leg, the Alokananda Stakes. The two fillies apart and Anatolia are the major contenders for the lesser bonus of Rs 1 lakh after their performance in the Fillies Trial Stakes during the monsoon.

Perhaps, it was their over-confidence in the ability of the firm favourite that cost Daniel’s connections so dearly. Yes, Star Selection was quite fluent in her Alokananda win but conceding 4 kg to a contemporary who had gone down fighting to another good filly like Anatolia was always going to be tough.

Not that Nick Connorton made any mistake or rode an ill-judged race, it was basically a case of a young jockey outwitting an ageing professional and Cristopher on the winner deserved kudos. Star Selection had established a commanding two-length lead in the home-stretch only to lose the advantage in her last stride.

The afternoon’s fare, on the whole, was equally thrilling following minor hiccups early in the card. The fact that the camera had to be consulted in four of the seven events on the cards and verdicts favoured the fancied horses, the Saturday crowd could not have asked for more.

Trainer Richard Alford had planned a big day but his aspirations met a setback following son, Rutherford Alford, deciding to ride sparingly upon his selection to represent the country in the apprentices’ invitation meet in Macau on May 12. As the completion of 40 winners will debar his participation in the meet, he may only honour commitments made to his retainer H. H. Sookias. In fact he would like to keep a buffer of two wins thus putting a stop when he reaches the figure of 38.

Presently credited with 36 wins following his stylish start-to-finish victory on Earl Grey in the Madras Race Club Cup, Rutherford sacrificed rides on father’s wards Dancing Dream, Odyssey and Red Trident. Rutherford’s loss was Aadesh Kumar’s gain. The Mumbai jockey carved a smart win on Dancing Dream but failed narrowly on the rest thus opening a debate that Rutherford possibly missed a treble. However, the fact remains that both Odyssey and Red Trident were no match against their respective winners — Brave Show and Excellent Striker — whatever the official close verdicts going in their favour.

The 2,000m Baqlava Cup was an easy picking for a quietly fancied Argolis while the favourite stable-mate Ace of Spades finished in the dumps, thanks to his burst blood vessels. The expanding odds of the favourite clearly indicated that all was not well with him and those in the know reaped a rich harvest at the 5-1 on the winner.

Jayaashva, however, was an advertised gamble. Backed from 4’s down to 2’s, the T. N. Jaiswal-trainee won with a degree of comfort.


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