SAI B quells Him Academy challenge; Deepika scores second hat-trick

by IANS |

New Delhi, Dec 16 (IANS) In a hard-fought battle, Sports Authority of India (SAI) B beat Him Hockey Academy (Vikas Nahar, Himachal Pradesh) 3-2 to secure its first win in Group A in the inaugural Khelo India U21 Women's Hockey League (Phase 1) at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here on Thursday.

In earlier matches, Deepika scored her second-trick in as many days as India Juniors team posted its second straight win with an 8-1 verdict against Raja Karan Hockey Academy (Karnal) while Odisha Naval Tata Hockey High-Performance Centre (Bhubaneswar) outplayed Mumbai Schools Sports Association 11-0 to keep its slate clean.

SAI B showed resilience after Wednesday's 0-6 defeat by India Juniors and quickly found cohesion and rhythm despite being a squad that not only draws players from across the country but also has trained together for less than a week. But eager to showcase their talent, each of the players put her best foot forward.

Reema Baxla, an India Junior probable from Jharkhand in 2019, scored off a penalty corner to give SAI B the lead in the second minute. Him Academy exerted pressure on the SAI B defence but could not break through. Against the run of play, Mary Lotla, tracing her roots to Yellamchiili near Visakhapatnam, struck with a field goal just ahead of the half-time.

Taranpreet Kaur scored four minutes into the second half to raise visions of a keen battle but Vinamrata Yadav, Uttar Pradesh junior captain in 2018, managed to loop a reverse hit from the top of the circle over the goal-keeper to put SAI B 3-1 ahead. Taranpreet Kaur scored off a penalty corner early in the fourth quarter but could not stop SAI B from earning full points.

Sadhna Sengar scored three times in Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy's 8-0 victory over Jai Bharat Hockey Academy (Delhi) in a Group B match that showcased the Bhopal team's superior fitness and staying power. A day earlier, Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy rallied through a late goal by Neeraj Rana to split points with Pritam Siwach Hockey Academy (Sonipat). The Bhopal team led through Sadhna Sengar's goal at the half-time but conceded two through Disha and Tamanna in the third quarter but earned a draw with two minutes left.

Results:
Group A: Odisha Naval Tata Hockey High-Performance Centre 11 (Munmuni Das 18th minute and 59, Priya Toppo 20, Ashima Rout 28, Sunita Kumari 30+, Nikita Toppo 37, Puja Ramchhuria 42, Sandhya Kujur 44 and 56, Nilam Kachhap 53 and Kamla Singh 60) beat Mumbai Schools Sports Association 0. Half-time: 4-0.

India Juniors 8 (Priyanka 9, Vaihsnavi Phalke 18, Annu 26, Rutuja Pisal 35, Deepika 37, 38 and 41, Sangita Kumari 43) beat Raja Karan Hockey Academy (Karnal) 1 (Priya 2). Half-time 3-1.

SAI B 3 (Reema Baxla 2, Mary Lotla 30, Vinamrata Yadav 42) beat Him Academy (Vikas Nagar, Himachal Pradesh) 2 (Taranpreet Kaur 34 and 49).

Group B: Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy (Bhopal) 8-0 (Sadhna Sengar 3, 19 and 43, Neeraj Rana 18 and 37, Kanchan Nidhi Kerketta 30, Priyanka Parihar 37 and Seema Verma 59) beat Jai Bharat Hockey Academy (Delhi) 0. Half-time: 4-0.

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