Jubilation in the city
Paes-Bhupathi ends 6-month title drought
Geoff Marsh likely to visit city on Friday
East Bengal rout BNR 5-1
Abhishek scripts Cathedral win
Bora moves up

Calcutta, April 30: 
About 200-odd supporters and officials gripped in a pent-up emotion and anxiety exploded into unbridled joy when the news of East Bengal claiming their maiden National Football League title reached the club tent this evening.

By that time the squall had started lashing the city, but it was hardly an impediment to the carnival. The ecstatic supporters went wild, growing in numbers with each passing second as they smeared each other with red and gold aabir.

There were some who joined a dance party in pouring rain and some just wept in joy.

Behind all the celebrations and rituals there was a sense of regret as well. �We are badly missing him today,� club official Dipak Chakraborty said of former secretary Dipak (Paltu) Das, who passed away last month.

Paltuda always dreamt of winning this title. This win is a tribute to him,� he said.

Chakraborty also said the club will decide on observing a formal reception, including felicitation of the players, once they come back from Thiruvananthapuram.

The scene wore a starkly contrasting look at the Mohun Bagan tent. In the midst of a sense of dolour, the supporters tried to find solace in the fact that the defending champions were very much in the reckoning till the last minute.

�We made East Bengal run for the title from start to the very end of the League and they must have now realised that snatching a trophy from Mohun Bagan is not an easy job,� a Mohun Bagan club official said.

A red and gold supporter may object to such an observation. But there prevailed a general consensus among supporters and officials in both clubs that it was the most tension-packed League and it was football in Bengal, which ultimately scored a triumph over everything else.


Calcutta, April 30: 
Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi are back among titles.

According to information received here, the fourth-seeded Indian pair conquered top seeds Rick Leach and David MacPherson 6-3, 7-6 (9-7) yesterday to capture the Atlanta Challenge crown.

In winning their 17th title as a team, Paes and Bhupathi didn�t drop a set in four matches. It fetched them a cheque for $26,650 and 175 points.

Having won their last title way back in October (Japan Open in Tokyo), it was high time the once invincible pair delivered. Having started the year with a semi-final showing in Chennai, Paes and Bhupathi had suffered four first-round defeats including the one at the Australian Open.

Only last week, at the Monte Carlo Masters Series, did they show some decent form � winning three matches before bowing to top seeds Todd Woodbridge and Jonas Bjorkman in the semis. This week, they had it all their way though the field was not as strong as the one in Monte Carlo.

The Atlanta triumph pushed the Indian duo (113 points) from No. 19 to 15 in team rankings � a far cry from 1999 when they were on top for nearly six months. Woodbridge and Bjorkman, the current runaway leaders, have a staggering tally of over 4,000 points.

In the individual doubles rankings, Bhupathi is No. 29 (1825 points) and Paes 59th (1099 points). Woodbridge leads with 5890 points, followed by Bjorkman (3955).

Roddick�s first

Reuters adds from Duluth: Teenaged American Andy Roddick won the singles championship with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Belgian Xavier Malisse. The 18-year-old is the first American teenager to win an ATP title since Michael Chang won in San Francisco nine years ago.

Roddick took his first ATP title in his 10th tournament, faster than any American for at least 15 years and quicker than Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi or Chang.

Roddick said those comparisons held no special meaning for him. �I respect those players, and they�re great champions and they�re still my heroes,� Roddick said. �But I�m not trying to bring up the rear. I�m trying to do my own thing.�


Calcutta, April 30: 
Former Australian coach Geofrey Marsh is expected to come to the city on May 4.

Announcing this today, CAB joint secretary Nirmal Mukherjee said that Marsh will come to impart tips to the trainees at the BCCI�s East Zone Academy.

Marsh�s presence in the Academy is part of the BCCI�s understanding with the Australian Cricket Academy (ACA) by which players from the latter will visit National Cricket Academy and its zonal counterparts from time to time.

The Academy, located at the SAI Eastern Complex, Salt Lake, will be inaugurated tomorrow. However, there will be no formal function for this.

Uniform training

The other four zonal academies will also be inaugurated tomorrow in Mumbai (West), Chennai (South), Delhi (North) and Kanpur (Central), reports PTI from Bangalore.

The chief coaches of these academies are Yashpal Sharma (North), Nari Contractor (West), K. Srikkanth (South) and Kailash Ghattani (Central).

New NCA Director, Brijesh Patel, said an informal meeting had already been held among the coaches, including NCA chief coach Balwinder Singh Sandhu, to set a uniform pattern and standardisation of training at the academies.

Sandhu said the stress at the NCA and the zonal academies will be on fielding and discipline.

The academies start functioning from tomorrow.

Hanumant Singh, who was the NCA director in its inaugural year, expressed satisfaction over the progress of the NCA, but said it would take some time to yield the results.


Calcutta, April 30: 
East Bengal routed BNR 5-1 in their BHA first division group A match today.

Gregory Minz scored a brace while Izaz Hossain, S. Yadav and S. Singh scored apiece for the winners. Saul Ekka pulled one back for BNR.

East Bengal, playing at home, dominated from the beginning and Minz opened the scoreline in 15 minutes through a beautifully-executed move. Minz hit the target again in 27 minutes off a goalmouth melee. The BNR defence failed to clear a centre from the left and Minz pounced on the opportunity from close range.

BNR pulled a goal back 11 minutes into the second session, when Ekka caught the East Bengal defence off guard and placed the ball to perfection as goalkeeper C.K. Debnath. Hossain then made it 4-1. S. Singh completed the rout in the dying seconds of the match.

CESC win big

In other group A matches, CESC thrashed Chittaranjan Locomotive Works 4-1 at Mohun Bagan ground while SAI Training Centre and ESRA played out a goalless draw. Anil Ekka and Anil Maity scored a two each for CESC and Mius Dung pulled one back for the Chittaranjan outfit.

In the lone group B match at Howrah Union ground, Chotonagpur RC beat Belgachia United 3-1.


Calcutta, April 30: 
Abhishek Mitra (107) fashioned a comfortable win for Cathedral Mission High School against Don Bosco Park Circus in the CAB under-19 cricket meet today.


Don Bosco Park Circus 205/9 in 40 ovs (Anurag Dagh 43, Sayatya Mallick 33; Punit Rawat 4/21, Ajmal Khan 2/34). Cathedral Mission 208/5 (Abhishek Mitra 107; G. Drolia 2/28). Cathedral Mission won by 5 wkts.

La Martiniere 254/4 in 40 ovs (G. Kapoor 112, A. Banerjee 31). Assembly of God Church 189 in 31.3 ovs (Sutirtho Ghosh 31; Shilock Dutta 3/34, Misal Mehta 3/31). La Martiniere won by 65 runs.

St Xavier�s 208 in 38 ovs (Anindya Mukherjee 56; Kingshuk Mitra 4/39). Patha Bhavan 193 in 40 ovs (Reetobrata Kar 85; Biswanath Mukherjee 3/38). St. Xavier�s won by 15 runs.

N.K. Pal School 168 in 33.3 ovs (Kingshuk Gupta 41; Jaman Shah 2/25, Sumit Das 2/27). Sir Nripendranath Institute 172/4 in 32 ovs (Sumit Das 90; Kingshuk Gupta 3/31). Nripendranath Inst. won by 6 wkts.

CCCC- Agragamee final

Calcutta Cricket Coaching Centre (CCCC) beat P. Sen XI by four wickets in the semi-final of N.C. Kolay junior cricket meet at Kalighat Club ground today. They will meet Siliguri�s Agragamee in the final on May 3.


At Kalighat ground: P. Sen XI 185/9 in 30 ovs (S. Mukherjee 43; Kunal Biswas 3/29). CCCC 187/6 in 28 ovs (T. Bag 86; R. Banerjee 3/22). CCCC won by 4 wkts.

At Rajasthan ground: Shute Banerjee CCC 137/9 in 30 ovs (Barun Samanta 25; Prasun Chakraborty 4/28). Agragamee 140/4 in 27.2 ovs (Sougata Dutta 55, Kaushik Guha 37). Agragamee won by 6 wkts.


Calcutta, April 30: 
Top seed Avinab Bora of Assam breezed through to the second round with a facile 6-1, 6-0 win over qualifier S. Sarkar in the under 14 boys� singles event on the opening day of the state mini/sub-junior tennis meet at South Club today.

Local transfers

In all 265 players from five divisions signed in the inter-club IFA transfers today. Of them, SAIL signed eight players , Bhatri Sangha 3, Port Trust 2 and BNR and FCI one each in the Super Division.


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