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Hockey eves raise 11 cheers

First day, fantabulous show.

Jharkhand’s sure-footed maidens opened their maiden account at the 3rd Hockey India Junior Women National Championship 2013 with a blitzkrieg of 11 goals against league rival Rajasthan in Ranchi on Friday, which also saw a one-sided shower of 41 later in the evening.

This is the first time that the capital has bagged the tourney, which will see 29 teams in eight pools vie for the champion’s title till May 1.

The first tie on Day One at the astroturf stadium in Morabadi saw the host seal a definite win, not allowing Rajasthan to score any goal and sprinting to the top of the Pool C chart.

Altogether five league matches were played.

In Pool A, Manipur defeated Uttarakhand 2-1. The match between Assam and Tripura in Pool G was again a one-sided affair at 13-1. In Pool E, Odisha defeated Chhattisgarh 15-0. But, the day’s most spectacular show was performed by Sports Authority of India (SAI) players who pounded rival J&K 41-0 in Pool E.

As soon as Jharkhand’s match began at 11.30am, skipper Poonam Madhuri Tete sneaked through the Rajasthan defence to net the first goal in the second minute. Close on Tete’s heels, midfielder Rukmani had her luck in the 10th minute, hitting the ball straight from the D-box and giving the rival goalie no chance to pull off an upset.

Rajasthan had not recovered from the two early damages, when a third goal by Jharkhand’s Anima Minz five minutes later pushed the visiting team into a tizzy. The multi-pronged attack became too tough for Rajasthan to counter and their poor defence kept worsening with every goal.

Tete was the star with six goals in her kitty, the last five coming at the 25th, 29th, 50th, 59th and 70th minutes.

The home team will play two other ties, the next on Sunday against Mumbai, considered one of the strongest teams in the tournament.

Captain Tete sounded confident though. “The team is good. Some of us have played national and international matches, while some are fresh. This composition helped in today’s win,” she said.

Earlier in the day, the championship was inaugurated by Assembly Speaker C.P. Singh. “This is a moment the state and its hockey association should use to the fullest and exhibit a good show,” he said.

Hockey Jharkhand president Sudesh Mahto, its general secretary Savitry Purty, Jharkhand Olympic Association secretary S.M. Hashmi, sports secretary A.K. Singh were present on the occasion.

Do you think Jharkhand will top its pool table?

Tell ttkhand@abpmail.com