Mohammedan Sporting powers into semis
CPT have it easy vs Aryan
Manipur boys in joint lead
Meerut firm to launch ‘Sourav’ bats
Vijay Singh notches up treble
Retired Army chief for top RCTC post

Calcutta, July 6 
Mohammedan Sporting rode a second-half hattrick by Abdul Khalique and reached the McDowell Cup semi-final with a 4-1 win over FCI at Salt Lake Stadium today. They will meet Mohun Bagan Saturday.

Needing a win to make the last-four stage, Mohammedan Sporting were unimpressive in the first half before Nazim-ul Haq cashed in on a defensive error to take them ahead minutes after resumption. A similar blunder by Soumen Sarkar allowed Amar Pyne restore parity in the 56th minute but there was no stopping Mohammed Habib’s wards once they got the second goal.

Alauddin Rehman controlled proceedings from the centre of midfield and Khalique struck a fine rapport with Kasif Jamal which took the sting out of FCI who had a decent first half.

Haq set up the second goal after a solo run in the 66th minute and found Khalique just inside the box after taking away two defenders towards the touchline along with him. Kahlique expertly shielded the ball from another and let go a right-footer into the far corner of the net.

Rehman masterminded the third goal with an accurate lob from the deep and Khalique evaded the off-side trap to finish with a chip over the advancing goalkeeper. The hattrick was completed in the dying minutes.

Mohammedan Sporting’s second-half performance was satisfactory and the Kasif-Khalique combinations looked dangerous. The sensible approach of Rehman also worked in their favour. But the performance of their defenders was not as convincing and they will be seriously tested by Mohun Bagan’s Brazilian pair of Jose Ramirez Barreto and Joao Dos Santos.

FCI, who needed just a draw to move up, started well and opened up the rival defence on at least three occasions within the opening 30 minutes. Supratik Aind was the one to be blamed for two of these chances while Pyne squandered the other. Aind’s poor first touch denied him a crack at the goal though he was favourably placed on both occasions.

Mohammedan Sporting forced a few chances towards the end of the first half but Khalique muffed up two of the easier ones. The one in the 34th minute was the easiest, when he failed to put it past a helpless goalkeeper from less than six yards. He regained poise after the interval and took his team through but he has to be more consistent to give Mohun Bagan a fright.

Chandan Das doubtful starter

Medio Chandan Das, who captained Tollygunge last season, is a doubtful starter in tomorrow’s semi-final against East Bengal following a heel injury suffered in the last match but the good news in the East Bengal camp is the arrival of Jackson Egygopong.

The Ghanaian defender says he is in good shape and eager to play tomorrow. Coach Syed Nayeemuddin, however, is yet to decide on this.

East Bengal will miss Tushar Rakshit. The veteran midfielder has aggravated an old leg injury and might be forced out of Monday’s final if East Bengal overcome Tollygunge tomorrow.

Tollygunge, who made the semis after two goalless draws against Mohun Bagan and Port Trust, are unlikely to alter their safety-first strategy. Coach Shankar Moitra, after yesterday’s match against Mohun Bagan, said he would rely once again on counter-attacks as that is his most sensible option considering the kind of resources at his disposal.    

Calcutta, July 6 
Calcutta Port Trust (CPT), relegated from Super Division last season, continued their good run in Calcutta Football League’s first division (group A) with an emphatic 3-0 win over Aryan Club at the latter’s ground today. Sanjit Saha, Pradip Indu and Sandip Ghosh scored.

Port suffered one setback when Arya Basu Roy was marched off after picking up his second yellow card of the match. Milan Bithee, Wari and Kidderpore were the other group A winners of the day. The match between City AC and CFC ended goalless.

Wari rode Abir Basu’s goal to a win over Kalighat, Milan Bithee tamed Eastern Coalfields thanks to a Sanjib Mishra strike and Kidderpore slipped in a couple past West Bengal Police, both goals coming from Mohammad Hafiz.

The Super Division league begins tomorrow. Two matches have been slated for the first day.

IFA transfers

Aryan defender Laltu Das today signed in favour of Tollygunge Agragami. Binoy Saha and Debdas Goswami stayed with Eastern Railways.    

Guwahati, July 6 
Manipur boys Lairengjem Mahesh Singh and Yambem Dhanavir Singh triumphed today to emerge joint leaders with an all-win record after the fifth round of The Telegraph Schools Chess Championship ABITA Centenary Indoor Hall here.

On board 1, Lairengjem of Adimjati Little English School (Imphal) outwitted Nirmal Jyoti Sarma of Disneyland School (Guwahati) in a Queen’s Gambit Declined. On board 2, Yambem Dhanavir Singh of De Regina High School (Imphal) defeated Meghnath Rabha of Phaguna Rabha High School (Guwahati) in the exchange variation of the Ruy Lopez opening.

Lairengjem will take on Yambem in a high-voltage sixth-round duel tomorrow to decide the sole leader. The trio of Raju Loukrakpam, Rajib Dhar and Moirangthem Shanta Singh are half-a-point behind the leading duo. Playing white pieces, Lairengjem won one pawn after another when Nirmal hopped his knight. The rest was a matter of technique for Lairengjem to convert the plus-plus position into a win.

Manoeuvring white pieces, Meghnath made a plausible knight sacrifice 27.Ng5 to storm black’s citadel, but his opponent Yambem warded off the premature onslaught. Reeling under the material loss Meghnath — who managed to collect only two pawns for the loss of his knight — couldn’t hold his pawns and pieces from falling like nine pins when his opponent turned on the heat.

On table 5, Moirangthem of Chingdompok High School (Imphal) pulled off a surprise win against overnight leader Nabajyoti Boro of A-New-High School in just 35 moves of the Queen’s Gambit Declined. Handling black pieces, Nabajyoti first put his king to safety, but his opponent chose an aggressive course.

Keeping his monarch in the centre, Moirangthem directed a pawn steamroller towards the kingside. A well-connected queen and rook on the half-open king knight file helped white bombard the black king.

As Moirangthem regrouped his pieces for the second and final round of foray into black’s territory, Nabajyoti made passive moves to put up a semblance of defence with whatever materials he had at his disposal. His rook move 32.Rf6 cut off the supplies from his queen and other minor pieces. Nabajyoti resigned three moves later as he didn’t want to see his exposed king being mauled.

Abhinov Baruahov of Carmel School, Jorhat, had it easy in another significant encounter on table 7. Playing white, Abhinov not only won a pawn on the half-open queen rook file 16.Rxa7 in a position arising out of Guico Piano opening, but also picked up a whole rook when his opponent Manash Sarma of City Montessori High School (Guwahati) put his rook on 17.Rd2 Bxd2. The Jorhat lad has four points.    

Calcutta, July 6 
Even as Sourav Ganguly continued to wield the willow on the County circuit as only he can, a leading sports goods manufacturer is set to launch an exclusive range of bats named after the elegant left-hander.

Bats branded after star batsmen are nothing new in this country — Sunil Gavaskar started it all with SG make’s Sunny TSonny, while MRF has honoured Sachin Tendulkar with Genius — but where Sourav scores over everyone else is that he will have as many as five bats named after him. Two more are on the way.

The bats, named Prince, Tiger, King, Six Hitter and Skipper, will all have his autograph and are expected to be sold in the price range of Rs 2,000 to Rs 5,000.

Sources close to the cricketer told The Telegraph today that the India skipper is not claiming any money for the use of his name so that the price could be kept reasonable. They are being manufactured by the Meerut-based Sareen Sports Industries under SS brand.

The Prince, Tiger and King brands are English willow bats, while the remaining two are of Kashmir willow.

Sourav’s father, Mr Chandi Ganguly, will formally launch the bats on Saturday at a function at B. Dasgupta & Company, the sports goods seller where the ‘Prince of Calcutta’ picks up his bats. Incidentally, he too uses an SS bat — though sponsors’ stickers are what we get to see.

Inter-college TT

The Munish Chatterjee memorial inter-college table tennis meet will be held at Khudiram Anushilan Kendra from July 14 to 16. Entries will be received at the Bengal Table Tennis Association office till July 10.    

Calcutta, July 6 
Those who came in late today to the raceground paid the price. The first-half of the six-event card returned three favourites — Alvarada, Dizzy Diver and Alyssum — to the winners’ enclosure. While apprentice Amarpreet Singh partnered Dizzy Diver, Cristopher Alford guided the other two — both from Vijay Singh’s yard — to victory that changed the equation in favoure of the punters who had taken some beating on the opening day.

Things were, however, back to square one in the later-half, though Cristopher could hardly be blamed for it.

Trying his utmost, Cristopher failed to inspire Vijay’s Acquest to overtake the friendless stablemate Mystic Hill in the feature, the Commuter Cup, and again his debutant charge Alesund let him down when she meekly went down to Software. RESULTS

1. Kilcloon Handicap 1,400m: (2-3-1-4) Alvarada (C. Alford) 1; Tribal Warlord (Upadhya) 2; Double Dancer (Islam) 3; Armila (Surender) 4. Won by: Dist; 3-1/2; 4; (1-30.9). Tote: Win Rs 12; Place: 10; 50; Quinella; 56; Tanala: 116. Fav: Alvarada (2). Winner trained by Vijay S.

2. Vasto Handicap 1,100m: (8-2-5-1) Dizzy Diver (A. P. Singh) 1; Noble Canonire (Rutherford) 2; Atacada (Rabani) 3; Arizona Star (Sher) 4. Won by: 4; 2-1/4; 1-3/4; (1-12.6). Tote: Win Rs 25; Place: 12; 14; 17; Quinella; 26; Tanala: 104. Fav: Dizzy Diver (8). Winner trained by Mujeeb R.

3. Fire Flash Cup 1,400m: (6-4-3-1) Alyssum (C. Alford) 1; High Life (Islam) 2; Too Soon To Tell (Manohar) 3; Sky Command (Yacoob) 4. Won by: 8; 5-1/2; 1-1/4; (1-30.2). Tote: Win Rs 20; Place: 12; 16; 14; Quinella; 35; Tanala: 143. Fav: Alyssum (6). Winner trained by Vijay S.

4. Commuter Cup 1,200m: (2-4-6-5) Mystic Hill (Amil) 1; Acquest (C. Alford) 2; No Surrender (M. Reuben) 3; Adventure (Rabani) 4. Won by: 1/2; 2-3/4; 1/2; (1-17). Tote: Win Rs 87; Place: 36; 21; Quinella: 126; Tanala: 777. Fav: No Surrender (6). Winner trained by Vijay S.

5. Mr Mauritius Cup 1,400m: (1-4-11-8) Cup Of Life (M. Reuben) 1; Rheinheart (Shanker) 2; Avionic (Amil) 3; Aflicker (Islam) 4. Won by: 3/4; 7; 2-3/4; (1-30.6). Tote: Win Rs 67; Place: 23; 29; 17; Quinella: 356; Tanala: 1,586. Fav: Hurricane Star (2). Winner trained by D. David.

6. Balchand Handicap 1,000m: (8-4-3-5) Software (Shanker) 1; Alesund (C. Alford) 2; Lockers Park (Rabani) 3; Ballet Master (Gowli) 4. Won by: 2-1/4; 9-1/4; 3/4; (1-5.2). Tote: Win Rs 107; Place: 21; 14; 31; Quinella: 228; Tanala: 4,084. Fav: Privy Council (1). Winner trained by Bath.

Jackpot: Rs 88,593; (C) Rs 1,493.

Treble: (i) Rs 79; (ii) Rs 8,490.    

Calcutta, July 6: 
The Royal Calcutta Turf Club (RCTC) stewards today appointed Gen. Shanker Roychowdhury, chief of Army staff (Retd.), as a steward of the club. He was also elected as the senior steward unanimously. The change of guard was necessitated after N. M. Ghose decided to step down on health ground.

“Lately, I was not enjoying the job and had taken the decision three almost weeks ago,” said Ghose when asked reason behind quitting.

Gen. Roychowdhury, who is also a member of Rajya Sabha, is going to devote time and take active interest in the Club’s proceedings despite his busy schedules, said RCTC sources.

Expectations are high from Gen. Roychowdhury. The new ‘senior’ is also expected to give directions which may bring stability and improve the image of the club — once a premier turf authority in the country. Gen. Roychowdhury was present at the races today and also gave away the Commuter Cup to the winning connections of Mystic Hill.    


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