| BSF, Jalandhar players exult after shocking Indian Oil in the Beighton Cup final at the Mohun Bagan ground Wednesday. Picture by Santosh Ghosh
Calcutta: The 108th Beighton Cup, sponsored by Indian Oil Servo, did lack somewhat in class, but there were a few surprises as well. Quite in sync with that unpredictable trend, BSF, Jalandhar, scripted an unlikely 3-0 win over Indian Oil in Wednesday’s final at the Mohun Bagan ground.
It was a triumph of discipline over quality on a surface that discouraged good hockey. The unevenness made passing along the ground a tough task and made receiving even more difficult. Indian Oil’s game was further affected, considering the securitymen are accustomed to playing on non-artificial turf. However, that was no reason for a superstar-cast team like Indian Oil to suffer such a big defeat.
The Jalandhar team played to a plan. The presence of internationals Deepak Thakur, Prabhjot Singh, Viren Rasquinha, Devesh Chauhan meant Indian Oil were the heavyweights and the BSF team was happy to guard fort in the first half. They came out of the shell in the second half and a good conversion rate ensured a handsome scoreline.
Christopher Ekka struck from a penalty corner against the run of play in the 23rd minute. BSF hung on to the lead and drew Indian Oil deep inside their own half which gave them lots of open space in the rival zone. Sushil Kujur and Harbhajan Singh took full advantage of that and scored two field goals in the 59th and 63rd minutes, respectively, to complete the tally.
Indian Oil forced six penalty corners but looked clueless about how to handle them on grass. They looked the classier side, touches and turns standing out in flashes, but the superiority in quality came unstuck against BSF’s organisation.
Indian Oil started on a bright note and forced a penalty corner in the first minute. Thakur’s shot took a deflection and came off the upright. The same player saw another attempt meeting the same result in the 12th minute, off another penalty corner.
BSF relied totally on counterattacks and had enough man in the rear to combat the powerful runs by Thakur, Prabhjot and Inderjit Singh. On occasions when they succeeded in passing properly, this trio looked menacing and ripped open the BSF defence twice in the first half.
Both moves were characterised by smart passing, one-touch deflections and had Inderjit or Lakhwinder Singh been able to keep their reverse flicks on target, Indian Oil would have taken the lead. But perhaps because of the uneven surface, such moves were few and far between.
Trailing by a goal, Indian Oil pressed hard in the second half and reached the danger zone quite regularly, only to miss the plot in front of the goalmouth. Despite the surface condition, Thakur, Prabhjot and Lakhwinder all got chances to shoot at goal, but their efforts whistled past the frame.
BSF got Rs 1,25,000 for their fifth title here, while Indian Oil took home 75,000.
Player of the Final Prabhjot received 10,000 with the losing semi-finalists bagging 25,000 each. The grand old men of Indian hockey, Keshav Dutt and Leslie Claudius, watched the match and handed over prizes.
BSF: K.M. Subbiah, Raj Singh, Mangru Tirkey, Sandep Singh, Devidner Singh, Brinder Singh, Sushil Kujur, Peter Tirkey, Harbhajan Singh, Marinus Lakra, Devinder Kumar, Christopher Ekka, Iqbaljit Singh, Jaswant Singh, S.R. Rizwan.
Indian Oil: Devesh Chauhan, Khushmeet Singh, Bikramjeet Singh, Arvind Yadav, Inder Singh, Sunil Yadav, Jaswinder Singh, Deepak Thakur, Rajpal Singh, Prabhjot Singh, Inderjit Singh, Lakhwinder Singh, Kamlesh Kumar, Nawaj Khan, Viren Rasquinha.