Thursday 28 June 2007

Sushanthika exacts sweet revenge

B D Narayankar

bapun@sakalherald.com

PUNE: Sri Lanka’s Sushanthika Jayasinghe gave flying kisses, raised her arms and index finger to the sky as she crossed the finishing line first in 100 meters dash, upsetting Uzbekistan’s Guzel Khubbieva, in the final leg of Asian Athletics Grand Prix here on Wednesday.

The gesture oozed out instantaneously as the win against Khubbieva made her realise her progress in the recent past. “It is an amazing feeling. A gold on the last day of the Grand Prix. A perfect climax. It is unbelievable how it feels, I can't find words to express it,” Sushanthika told Maharashtra Herald after the race.

Suffering from injuries and Chikungunya for a prolonged period had dented her performance in the last two years. She somehow kept her pot boiling to excel well in major events across the globe steadily, but gradually. This was clearly reflected after she took a sweat revenge against Khubbieva, clocking 11.34 seconds with a .09 seconds difference.

“Injuries had been bothering me for a very long period now. After getting into the groove through practice and regular training, I decided to go slow and increase the pace event-by-event. I am confident I will be in my elements for Beijing Olympic,” Sushathika said.

Not concerned over the inclement weather at Baburao Sanas Ground, Sushanthika started off in great style and picked up pace at 30 meters mark. “I got very aggressive, which unfortunately for Khubbieva was a bad news. Because when I get aggressive I go really fast. So I got on to the track and just wanted to nail every single stride on to the synthetic turf hard. I did everthing until I reached the finishing line,” she said.

"Sushanthika has been increasing her pace gradually. You have seen it for yourself. Her pace was different from the one she had in the second leg of Asian Athletics Grand Prix,” Sushanthika’s physio Anurai Ranjit.

However, the sub-continent athlete was not amused with her performance complaining about the inclement weather that stymied her pace a bit. “It was tough to accelerate. I am, however, pleased with the facilities available here. It is fantastic. My outing in Pune has been joyous. And beating Khubbieva added for fun to it,” she said.

Khubbieva, who had downed Sushanthika at the last Doha Asian Games, paid rich tributes to Sushanthika’s feat. “I was very close to gold. Sadly, I did not have good legs to beat her today. She was better than me,” the Uzbek athlete said. Khubbieva tried hard to catch out the Sri Lankan, but she could not as she sprinted quickly to reach the finishing line in the last seconds.

Wednesday 27 June 2007

Mighty clash: The gloves are off for now

B D Narayankar

bapun@sakalherald.com

PUNE: The gloves are off. And they are swearing to outsmart each other. The battlefield is set to witness a battle royal between the much talked-about sprinters Uzbekistan’s Guzel Khubbieva and Sri Lanka’s Sushanthika Jayasinghe at the Pune leg of Asian Athletics Grand Prix scheduled to kick off here on Wednesday.

Even before the heat had cooled down in their boots, both launched their verbal attack to dust off their nervousness a day before the big event. “I don’t care against whom I am pitted. Let that be Guzel Khubbieva, I don’t bother. She pipped me at Doha Asiad because I was down with Chikungunya and injuries. Khubbieva is a fantastic sprinter and is running fast at the moment. My personal best, however, is 11.04 seconds and Khubbieva’s is 11.27 seconds,” Sushanthika told Maharashtra Herald.

Practising very hard under her physio Anurai Ranjit at Baburao Sanas Ground, she was concentration personified to give her best for Wednesday’s event. She was so systematic in her workouts that she appeared to have fancied her chances against Khubbieva in the 100 metres dash.
Understanding that Khubbieva was not an easy opponent to beat, Sushanthika diplomatically said she was not worried about her chances here, but concentrated on bettering her Guwahati Grand Prix timing of 11.25 seconds. “I am not sure whether I will be able to do that in damp conditions. There will be some difficulty to improve our records. I don’t have complaints though about the facilities here,” she said.

Even as she has not taken the Pune meet that easily, Sushanthika has set her eyes on putting a good show at Osaka World Athletics Championship and Beijing Olympics. “I believe I can do something different there. I have done it before amidst speculations whether I could do my country proud. I fetched bronze in the previous Olympic,” the 31-year-old sprinter said.

There is something to cheer about for the Asians when Sushanthika strongly believes that in terms of talent, they are not far behind the best in the world. What we need is more and more exposure and the self-confidence that we can excel under trying circumstances, she said.

Waiting for her turn to retaliate, Khubbieva gave it back to Sushanthika in her own language saying: “I respect the Sri Lankan, but there is no competition between us. I had beaten her at Doha Asian Games. She, however, can give a tough fight.”

If Punites want something exciting, they should not be cosying inside their rooms but visit Sanas Ground to witness Khubbieva and Sushanthika’s battle royal.

Tuesday 26 June 2007

Eyeing for gold – Pamang Buobon

Photo: Anand Chaini
B D Narayankar

bapun@sakalherald.com

PUNE: Peers say no one wins if they don’t have self-belief. Thailand’s Pamang Buobon, however, made mockery of the age-old adage by pulling off an upset win against Chinese Ma Ning in the finals of Javelin Throw in Doha Asian Games last year. She had thrown the equipment to a distance of 61.31 meters securing a place in the World Athletics Meet in Japan next month.

Such an achievement could have forced any other athlete to take things easy, but Pamang, a thorough professional as she is, has vowed to create ripples at Baburao Sanas Ground on June 27.

Speaking to Maharashtra Herald here on Monday just before leaving her hotel room for a practice session, Pamang said she was optimistic of putting up a good show at the meet. “My personal best of throwing javelin to a distance of 61.31 meters against high-ranked Chinese throwers gave me immense confidence. I also had a good outing in the second leg of Asian Grand Prix at Guwahati. I am eyeing to strike gold here and work hard to improve my personal best 61.31-meters throw,” she said.

Did 61.31 meters surprise you or were you expecting even better? “It not only surprised my coach Polish Major General Supanat, but also myself. I had thrown the javelin at 58.42-meters distance at Bangkok, but I did not expect to better the record. When I threw 61.31 meters, I could not believe it. It, however, sunk down gradually,” Pamang said.

Carving a niche for oneself in the annals of any sport is a herculean task. Ask Pamang about it. She says: “It is all about fitness. A decade ago, players bettered their skills throwing the javelin during a training session. Everything now has changed. There is too much focus on aerobic, cardiology and flexibility, leaving 20 per cent of javelin-specific training. Throwing over 60-meters distance is stressful on the body.” As it is Pamang takes care to stay fit and avoid getting injured. “If I am suffering from one, I try modifying my training schedules. I listen to my body and accordingly train without aggravating my injuries,” she said.

The most frustrating thing for her are the delays in meet and rescheduling competitions times. “It is really hard to warm up and get ready to compete when the time can move forward or back,” Pamang said.

Fernandez overpowers Deshmukh


Photo: Mukund Bhute
Harish Talawde in action
B D Narayankar
bapun@sakalherald.com

PUNE: Notwithstanding the disadvantage of not having played his opponent before, George Fernandez of Poona Goan Institute (PGI) overwhelmed a better player Abhishek Deshmukh 74-46, 68-27 in straight frames in the fifth PGI Open Snooker and Billiards Championship here on Monday.

Playing against a relatively unknown Deshmukh proved advantageous for George, playing snooker freely. The battle, however, was not easy.

George had to sweat it out in a see-saw contest. “It was not an easy to defeat Deshmukh. He was potting reds and colors with great precision,” George told Maharashtra Herald after the match.

George opened his campaign on a high note, taking a lead of 30 points. He slumped midway getting snookers, allowing Deshmukh to garner 24 points on the trot. Capitalising on his opponent’s mistake, George got a couple of counter snookers, pocketing 13 points and the frame.

Second frame was a close call for both the competitors. Capitalising on Deshmukh’s missed opportunities, George made a break of 17 points. Fortifying his position with solid breaks, he outclassed his opponent in tactics and potting. “I knew that the only way to beat was to go all out. He is a good potter and I had to outdo him in that department. I was satisfied with my performance and I went for unthinkable angles to pot the colors,” George said.

In yet another game, Agnelo Harry of PGI beat Arun Barve 37-54, 61-54 and 66-42. Barve started off with flying color in the first frame, but could not maintain the winning tempo in the next two frames. Ninad Garg of Pool Junction met the same fate against Harish Talavde of Mischiefmakers after winning the first frame. He lost 33-60, 59-16, 57-27.

In the only billiards match today, Colonel Sancez beat Sachin Sanchatti 94-100, 101-46 and 101-93. Sancez displayed brilliant billiards after making a resurgent comeback after going down in the first frame.

RESULTS: Snooker: League stages: George Fernandes (PGI) bt Abhishek Deshmukh 74-46, 68-27; Agnelo Harry (PGI) bt Arun Barve (PYC Hindu Gymkhana) 37-54, 61-54, 66-42; Harish Talavde (Mischiefmakers) bt Ninad Garg (Pool Junction) 33-60, 59-16, 57-27; Billiards: League stages: Col. Sancez bt Sachin Sanchatti 94-100, 101-46, 101-93

Monday 25 June 2007

No stopping for Patil


B D Narayankar

bapun@sakalherald.com

PUNE: Confirming Zee Group’s offer to coach one of the six teams participating in the Indian Cricket League (ICL), a defiant Sandeep Patil said there was no need for him to seek permission from BCCI before joining the much-talked about breakaway rebel cricket bonanza.

Sounding caustic, the 50-year-old Mumbai dasher said he did not find any reason to seek permission from BCCI to join ICL. “Why should I seek their permission? When I had not done it in the past before accepting the responsibility of coaching Kenya in 2003 World Cup why should I do it now,” Patil told Maharashtra Herald over phone from Mumbai on Saturday.

Patil, who is a staunch supporter of improving the game world over in whatever role possible, is not wary of losing monetary benefits pouring in from BCCI’s coffers. Ever ready to don challenging roles, Patil said he had not done anything wrong and BCCI cannot stop me from rendering good services,” he said.

Asked what would be his reaction to the BCCI circular, Patil said: “I will reply when BCCI asks for it,” the Mumbai dasher said.

He, however, urged BCCI to welcome ICL for the game’s benefit, claiming the breakaway league had no intentions to confront BCCI. “It is not a rebel cricket league, nor does it have any intention to confront or undermine the authority of the BCCI,” he said.

Patil’s association with ICL has not provoked BCCI Secretary Niranjan Shah either. “Let him (Patil) go anywhere he likes. He, however, have to kiss goodbye to monetary gains accrued from BCCI. We have sent letters to Kapil Dev and others linked with ICL too,” Shah said.

Patil opined the new parallel league would give idle players a massive scope to prove a point. “There are players like Shane Warne, Glen Macgrath, Brian Lara, Mohammad Azharuddin and Ajay Jadeja, sitting idle. They will now get a chance to play,” he said.

Desirous of helping the torchbearers of the breakaway league, Patil said he was looking forward to work with Kapil Dev, Dean Jones, Tony Greig and Kiran More on ICL’s Executive Board. “ICL is merely a new process to make cricket look nicer, better, competitive and ultimately produce more cricketers for the country,” he added.

The main aim of the Zee Group backed ICL is to create a talent pool of players for Indian cricket, improve the domestic circuit and provide quality facilities and infrastructure to both players and fans, he said.

Saturday 23 June 2007

Munnabhai rearing to blaze guns

Munaf rattles Mathew Hoggard's leg stump

B D Narayankar

bapun@sakalherald.com

PUNE: In sports what turns-on people most is speed. From football to motocross it demands attention, but nowhere more so than in cricket. Riding on this epithet, Munaf Patel has been picking up accolades and at one time was termed the fastest bowler in India.

He began his stint with a bang making inroads into the realm of fame in his debut Test against England at Mohali in February 2006, helping India script a magnificent victory with a devastating seven-wickets haul. But all of a sudden Munaf lost pace and looked a medium pacer on India’s tour to South Africa and Bangladesh recently.

There absolutely is nothing wrong with his bowling, but has been carrying a bagful of injuries on a regular basis. This is not only worrying Munaf’s mentor Ismail Matadar, but also his supporters.

They are scared to reminisce what had happened to Tamil Nadu’s Laxmipathy Balaji whose career was abruptly shut after a prolonged injury. But are optimistic about Munaf bouncing back as fitness authorities have already declared him fit.

As things stand for Munaf, he really has to wade his way back through the dirt of competition. There is Ishant Sharma, R P Singh, Zaheer Khan and S Sreeshant, jostling to hog limelight. Except Sreeshant, who had been out of action for Bangladesh dig, the rest of the bunch have shown signs of great form, picking up wickets regularly.

Names such as these do not worry strong-willed Munaf. He has been training at MRF Pace Foundation in Chennai and is confident of being recalled in Team India as soon as possible.

Munaf told Maharashtra Herald from Chennai that he was feeling better after interacting with MRF Chief Coach T A Sekhar. “I am brimming with confidence. I am running in well, feeling relaxed,” he said, adding: "Sekhar have helped me so much technically and mentally. I honed my skills here.”

Munaf, however, was unlucky to have bowled in the nets for a couple of days only due to rains. Sekhar said two days of net practice is not enough to sort out bowling problems. “Whatever I could gauge is that he is comfortable with his bowling. He has been here earlier before and feels good to work under Dennis Lillee and myself,” Sekhar said.

Mentor Ismail from Bharuch expressed confidence over Munaf’s comeback into the Indian team. “Though there is a crop of good fast bowlers in the country at present, Munaf has the potential to be with his national colleagues any moment,” he said.

“Knowing Munaf from close quarters, he is a fighter and does not lose heart easily. Nor names like Ishant Sharma and R P Singh does bother him. Munaf is Munaf and Ishant is Ishant,” Ismail said.

Munaf’s physical trainer Ramji Srinivasan told from Chennai that Munaf was in fine fettle and had shown signs of improvement.

“Every bowler undergoes a bad patch. Even Shaun Tait had bowling and injury problems. But when he came back after a gap, he became the deadliest bowler in the world. Look at his World Cup performance. Munaf will not race into oblivion like Balaji. He is fit,” Ramji said.

At present, Munaf is sweating it out at the MRF Pace Foundation Centre and hanging out in the evenings listening to music. In the recent past, he had not much occasion to sing on the field, but his time will surely come again. Just don't blink.

Wilbur dazzles at PGI tournament

Photo: Mukund Bhute

Sameer Sheikh pots one towards glory

B D Narayankar

bapun@sakalherald.com

PUNE: Shedding his familiar orthodox style, 18-year-old Wilbur Francis played some glorious snooker in the fifth Poona Goan Institute (PGI) Open Billiards Championship here on Friday.

Playing like a man possessed, Wilbur blew apart his rival Lester D’Souza 2-0, winning 47-7 and 52-35 in the best of three games on the fourth day of the tournament.

Displaying a tremendous game on Thursday, Wilbur continued his form, potting reds and colors impressively. Never before Wilbur must have gone through such excitement as he was playing a major tournament for the first time in his career so far. “I was satisfied with my performance and I went for unthinkable angles to pot the colors,” Wilbur told Maharashtra Herald after the match.

In the first frame, Wilbur capitalized after Lester broke the bunch to his advantage. Consequently, Wilbur made a break of 20 points and later played safe, not giving enough room for Lester to break huge points. “I won the first frame easily, thanks to some aggressive cuing of Lester,” Wilbur said.

Fortifying his position with solid breaks in the second frame, Wilbur not only outclassed Lester in tactics, but in potting. “I knew that the only way to beat was to go all out. He is a good potter and I had to outdo him in that department,'' said Wilbur.

Lester played too cautiously and gave hardly any openings to Wilbur. But whatever opportunities came his way he grabbed them and potted the colors.

In an interesting tussle, after Lester had got snooker to his opponent, Wilbur, in retaliation, got a counter snooker, which made things difficult for the former. “He potted yellow and green, I took brown, blue and a pink to win the frame and match,” an elated Wilbur said.

In yet another match, Sameer Sheikh played good snooker, beating Daniel Joseph 2-0, winning 57-38 and 56-47. Not known to be much innovative, Sheikh showed he could also play in a different league, the stuff that the good players are made of.

Sameer played an extraordinary game, at times potting colors at great risk and on other occasion playing a safe game, hardly giving any leverage for the opponent to pot. “I hardly missed any chance to score,” Sameer said adding: ``I was desperate to play well and win. I wanted to make my score 2-0.”

RESULTS: Snooker: League stages: Wilbur D’Silva bt Lester D’Silva 47-7, 52-35; Victor Fernandes bt Sudarshan Karad 56-38, 50-17; Sameer Sheikh bt Daniel Joseph 57-38, 56-47; Billiards: Victor Fernandes bt Leo Alphonso 101-43, 101-37

Friday 22 June 2007

Dole, Aradhya spearhead Deccan Gymkhana win against Presidents

B D Narayankar

bapun@sakalherald.com

PUNE: Just before the heavens could open up, pacers Aditya Dole and Sachin Aradhya uncorked their fiery stuff to help Deccan Gymkhana script a resounding victory over Presidents XI thumping them by an innings and 171 runs in the MCA Senior Invitational Super League Tournament here on Thursday.

Deccan Gymkhana pacers Aditya Dole and Sachin Aradhya skittled out Presidents XI for a paltry 91 runs in their second dig.

After declaring their first innings at 331 for eight wickets in 85.3 overs, Deccan Gymkhana went into the field with a plan to bowl the opposition out before the heavens opened up. “My captain told me to bowl within the stumps to force the batsmen to play. This way I got wickets regularly,” Dole told Maharashtra Herald after claiming four wickets for 43 runs.

And their was a point in Deccan Gymkhana’s captain to bowl a nagging line as the wicket had lost all the juice that was there in the morning. There was something for the bowlers, however, to exploit as the occasional ball was swinging and seaming, depending on the whimsical weather conditions.

Dole celebrated his first wicket by removing Manoj Shirole after having disturbed his furniture and then sent the stumps cart-wheeling in the very next ball faced by Jay Lobhe for naught.

Two quick wickets set the pace and gave tremendous fillip to support bowler Aradhya, who claimed three wickets for 17 runs.

Earlier, resuming their overnight score from 249 for four, Deccan Gymkhana batsmen Satyajit Satbhai and Shoumit Bhide went on to pile a 180-runs partnership for fifth wicket. First to go was Satbhai caught by Yogesh Takawale of Kishore Bhikhane’s bowling for a magnificent 142 (overnight 110 not out).

Bhide was next to go caught Rakesh Ubale bold Sunil Patel after making 57. Soon Deccan Gymkhana lost two quick wickets and at lunch they declared their innings.

BRIEF SCORES: Deccan Gymkhana bt Presidents XI by an innings and 171 runs; Presidents XI I Innings: 48 all out; Deccan Gymkhana I Innings: 331 for 8 in 85.3 overs (Satyajit Satbhai 142, Shoumit Bhide 57, Sunil Patel 4 for 72, Azhar Ansari 3 for 53); Presidents XI II Innings: 91 all out in 23.5 overs (Aditya Dole 4 for 43, Sachin Aradhya 3 for 17)

Maharashtra third at womens’ soccer championship in Jharkhand



PUNE: Maharashtra were satisfied with third place in the 28th Federation Cup Womens’ Football Championship held at Ranchi in Jharkhand from June 5 to June 10. Niyati Lokur was awarded the best goalkeeper of the tournament. Maharashtra won all two games out of three in first round, defeating Gujarat (9-0), Rajasthan (5-0) and losing to Orissa (0-1). Maharashtra lost to Bihar 2-3 in a thrilling encounter. Battling out for the third place, Maharashtra trounced Jharkhand 4-1. Main scorers were Manisha Vansode,
Manisha Jadhav, Chandrani Rai and Priyanka Gurav.

Wednesday 20 June 2007

Ajay Chavan on a comeback trail


B D Narayankar

bapun@sakalherald.com

PUNE: He has attracted many epithets this summer: a crisis man, a player with lot of guts, and a hungry bowler on the prowl. Being second highest wicket-taker in the MCA Senior Invitation Super League Tournament, Ajay Chavan has moved from the echelons of a fable into a realm of reality. He has forced selectors to consider him for selection in the Maharashtra Ranji team.

Chavan was unlucky to have been sidelined after Munaf Patel’s induction in Maharashtra squad for 2006 Ranji season. Till then, he was a force to reckon with.

Chavan was selected for Maharashtra team in 2005 when Hrishikesh Kanitkar was the captain. He grabbed the only chance coming his way, bagging five wickets against Tamil Nadu in Chennai.

With this kind of performance, Chavan should have been playing the next Ranji season too. But fate was not in Chavan's favour. Kanitkar's removal from the captaincy, hiring West Indian Darren Holder as Maharashtra coach and his preference for Munaf Patel, relegated Chavan to oblivion.

Not that Chavan has not been bowling well all these years. There were times when he was getting more wickets in league matches than those who had been selected for Maharashtra Ranji team.

This summer, Chavan has picked up 46 wickets in the league matches, next only to the highest wicket-taker Samad Fallah, who is sitting pretty with 69 wickets haul.

Chavan has been causing panic in the opposition dressing room regularly. He has dismissed 11 different batsmen in last two games, which denotes a faint psychological hold.

Word ‘transformation’ does not mean anything for Chavan as he has been performing consistently picking up 40-odd wickets every season. And yet he has been shown the stick by Maharashtra selectors.

This one-cap wonder, has been right there for Poona Club launching his comeback prominently, getting three wickets per match on an average against obliging batsmen.

If selected, his natural swing and pace – honed by a decade of domestic toil with Poona Club – could come in handy when some of India’s celebrated stars threaten havoc on flatter domestic tracks. For the moment, his performance is a touch above than his previous exploits.

"I still believe I can play for Maharashtra. Bowlers actually hone their skills at 29. Playing for Maharashtra is what you work hard for in invitation cricket. I always believe I can perform and the ball is been swinging around for me. But I don't think too far ahead. I am just happy to be here,” Chavan said.

He may lack Munaf Patel’s bite, but the seething urge within to perform good seems to be doing the trick.

A new chess star on the horizon

























B D Narayankar

bapun@sakalherald.com

PUNE: After pocketing the U-19 Blitz Chess Tournament held a couple of day's back after upstaging top seed Saoumya Swaminathan, it is big time for Aniruddha Deshpande to prepare for GH Rai Soni Chess Ratings Tournament to be held at Nagpur from July 14 to July 20.

A diehard fan of World Champion Bobby Fisher and two-time U-19 State Champion, Aniruddha has been practising hard to prepare himself for the Nagpur tournament to increase his ratings. Currently he has 2113 points to his credit and is palnning to cross 2200 points in the next six months.

His preparations are anything from reading books on chess and praticising with friends like Sohan Phadke, a rated player, and Joseph D' Souza, his coach. " I am preparing for some special openings like Najdrof and Ruylopez Defense through books and CDs," Aniruddha told Maharashtra Herald.

Is it possible to play without really looking at the ratings? He replies: "It is necessary to know where you stand. Ratings reflects the player's strength. I cannot neglect it."

Does it worries you, you are still a long way to go to get into the top bracket? "It worries me. A lot of work has to be done and it is through this we increase our ratings," he said.

Aniruddha's last year was not that good as he could not increase his ratings. "I, however, was not out of it completly. I stood second and third in couple of U-19 tournaments," he said.

However, this year has been fruitful adding 20 more points against his name in Jolly Club and Shirgoankar Rating Tournaments.

Celebration is a way of life for this young prodigy, he keeps it very simple. "I celebrate my victories by hosting small parties among my friends. But I forget about anything after that and concentrate on the next event. Heart broken. Yes I am when I lose out to somebody big or small," Aniruddha said.

Monday 18 June 2007

Rains spoil Poona Club’s party


B D Narayankar

bapun@sakalherald.com

PUNE: Overnight rains spoiled the party of Poona Club to make a match out of it on the final day’s play of their match against Solapur in MCA Senior Invitation League Tournament here on Monday.

Going by how the match ended, if Poona Club could have got 40-odd overs to play, they would have bundled out Solapur and successfully chased an easy target. But destiny had something for Poona Club in store.

The overnight rains had penetrated through the covers making one side of the wicket damp. The play could only start at 4 pm giving Poona Club an option to declare their overnight score at 183 for 6 and run through the rival’s innings in 24 overs. That certainly was a Herculean task.

When the match ended, Solapur were reeling at 179 for 7 in 24 overs. “If we had another session’s play, we would have scripted an outright victory. We knew we were on the top considering our bowling form. I and Fallah are in fine fettle,” Poona Club captain Ajay Chavan told Maharashtra Herald.

Solapur top-order could not negotiate Samad Fallah and Chavan’s pace for the second time in the match. Fallah cleaned up Mukhtar Kairatikar for naught and Chavan had Amol Sarwase caught for one.

After Nikhil Kotwal removed Maharashtra Ranji bat Pravin Deshetty for three, Solapur were tottering at 24 for three. Vaibhav Irabatti and Sarfaraz Sayyad put on 52-runs partnership thereafter for fourth wicket giving a remote chance for Poona Club to essay an outright victory.

Irabatti played some exhilarating shots to entertain his teammates, who were enjoying every stuff of his batsmanship. He scored a quickfire 60 runs studded with nine delightful boundaries. He departed after lobbing a running catch to Prem Ahire at short covers of Kotwal.

When Solapur realised that they were safe, their tailenders unleashed an array of shots in their typical style. Amol Chandan Shetty hammered five fours and a six in his 32-runs knock. Another was Munna Sheikh belting four fours in his 21-runs knock.

Mahesh also joined the party blazing 28 runs with four boundaries and a six to his credit.

Earlier, umpires Anup Ghosh and Anil Gajengi had their first inspection at 9 am and decided to have another inspection at 10.30 am as they were worried about the dampness on one side of the wicket.

The next inspection was conducted at 3.30 pm and Ghosh decided to resume play at 4 pm.

BRIEF SCORES: Solapur II Innings: 179 for 7 in 24 overs (Vaibhav Irabatti 60, Samad Fallah 2 for 33, Nikhil Kotwal 2 for 44, Ajay Chavan 1 for 24) drew with Poona Club I Innings: 183 for 6 dec; Solapur I Innings: 99 all out

Vasant Diwakar no more

EX-NATIONAL kabbadi player Vasant Ganesh Diwakar died here recently. 71-year-old Diwakar is being survived by his wife and a son. He had led the national kabbadi team during 1970 to 1980 for LIC. He also participated in many national competitions.

Wrestler Narayanrao honoured

Wrestler Narayanrao Pawar was honoured with Ustad Buva Dhume Sports Award here on June 17. National Wrestling Association President Kishore Pandit Maharaj bestowed the award. Shivajirao Sanas presided over the function. Revannath Darvatkar, wrestler Jayvantrao Shinde and Sunil Nevrekar were felicitated at the occasion.

Sunday 17 June 2007

Solaris win PDMBA Trophy

Photo: Anand Chaini
Chaitanya Naik smashes down the line

B D Narayankar

bapun@sakalherald.com

PUNE: Solaris Seniors won the Poona District and Metropolitan Badminton Association (PDMBA) ‘B’ Group Trophy beating Evening Star ‘A’ 2-0 at WIE Sports Complex here on Sunday.

Solaris players Akshay Gadre beat Evening Star’s Sachin Mankad 21-10, 11-21, 21-15 in the singles match and Harshad Bhagvat and Nakul Devdhar trounced Sachin Mankar and Nikhil Bhandari 21-11, 21-14 in the doubles.

Shaking hands with his rival Sachin after defeating him, Akshay could not believe he could win the game that easily. Sachin gave a tough time to Akshay in the second game, defeating him 21-11. “He played really well. He was getting everything right. I was a bit over confident after winning the first game 21-10,” Akshay told Maharashtra Herald after the match.

Akshay began his campaign on a high note, capitalising on his opponent’s negative tactics. “Sachin was defensive and nervous initially,” he said.

Akshay made Sachin run all around the court in an effort to tire him out. Eventually Sachin committed a lot of mistakes. “My rival was dropping the shuttle into the net and swishing it out of the court many a times. I knew he was struggling for form,” Akshay said.

Akshay did not lose the opportunity to win the final game and the match after taking the initial lead. “At this point, I was confident. I knew what I was doing and decided what to do to finish off the game. I checked my shots and avoided netting the shuttle. It was not that Sachin was not playing well. He had his moments in the game,” he said.

Akshay played a good game committing very few mistakes. “That’s what separated me from victory,” said the loser.

In the doubles encounter, Solaris’ Harshad and Nakul registered a straight win against rivals Sachin and Nikhil.

Initially, Harshad and Nakul were cautious in playing their attacking game. Soon they wriggled out of it and played some exhilarating badminton.

The Solaris duo was wonderful to watch with their intelligent drop shots and fabulous serves and returns from the sidelines.

RESULTS: PDMBA ‘B’ Trophy Finals: Solaris Seniors bt Evening Star ‘A’ 2-0: Singles: Akshay Gadre bt Sachin Mankad 21-10, 11-21, 21-15; Doubles: Harshad Bhagvat and Nakul Devdhar bt Sachin Mankar and Nikhil Bhandari 21-11, 21-14

Aniruddha lifts U-19 Blitz Chess Championship title


B D Narayankar

bapun@sakalherald.com

PUNE: Though losing out to Omkar Joshi in the final round, Aniruddha Deshpande won U-19 Blitz Chess Championship organized by Hillside Gymkhana here on Sunday.

Aniruddha won eight out of nine total games, earning eight points, before tying up with top-seed Soumya Swaminathan. The former trounced the latter in a tiebreaker.

Fifth-seed Sanny Renju had to be satisfied with third position after earning seven points.

Aniruddha had no real problems beating his opponents -- Third-seed Manoj Kulkarni, Shreyas Hapse (6), Jaydutt Upase (9) and Salil Rabde (10). He, however, had a tough game against Soumya.

“She was a hard nut to crack and lived up to her reputation of being the top-seed player in the tournament,” Aniruddha told Maharashtra Herald after receiving the title.

The game was unpredictable as Soumya was matching each move of Aniruddha to perfection. Soon Aniruddha got a breakthrough by capturing the Rook and forcing Soumya to think hard. She lost as she failed to make the next move within the stipulated time.

“Beating a player like Soumya’s caliber was good. It gave me enough confidence with a self-belief of winning the championship. Before the sixth round, I and Soumya were tied at five points each,” Aniruddha said.

Aniruddha, however, lost to the 11th seed Omkar Joshi in the final round. “I took the game lightly as it was inconsequential. I emerged the champion before the start of the final round,” he said.

Soumya, however, was disappointed to have conceded the game to Aniruddha. “I should have won the game. I was thinking more than Aniruddha. I do not enjoy blitz. Not that I am giving an excuse for losing the game. It is just not my cup of tea,” Soumya said.

Before Soumya emerged the runner up, she defeated fourth-seed Gaurav Konde, fifth-seed Sanny Renju, sixth-seed Shreyas Hapse and eighth-seed Akshay Sane. She defeated Pinak Jedhe in the final round.

In other games, Shreyas Hapse, Sneha Ghatpande, Pratik Limaya and Prashant Sane held Sanny Renju, Champak Dixit and Rugved Gupchup in their final round.

RESULTS: Aniruddha Deshpande 8 points (44), Soumya Swaminathan 8 (41), Sanny Renju 7, Jaydutt Upase 7, Salil Rabade 7, Manoj Kulkarni 7, Omkar Joshi 7, Sanket Mantri 6.5, Gaurav Konde 6, Akshay Sane 6

Basarkar, Asmita to lead Maharashtra

INTERNATIONAL athlete Deepak Basarkar will lead the mens’ and Asmita Dhanekar the womens’ state team for July 1-2 National Youth Federation Athletic Meet to be held at Madurai in Tamil Nadu. Maharashtra Amateur Athletic Association General Secretary Prahlad Sawant announced this here on Sunday. Boys’ team: Deepak Basarkar (100, 200 mts), Ashwini Shetty (100, 200 mts, both Pune), Vikas Mohite (3000 mts Steeple Chase, Mumbai), Bhaskar Nalavade (3000 mts Steeple Chase, Mumbai), Pankaj Shukla (Javelin Throw, Mumbai), Krishnakumar Rane, Long Jump); Girls: Reshma Dalvi (3000 mts, Pune), Asmita Dhanekar (3000 mts, Ratnagiri), Pournima Nivangune (Hammer Throw, Discuss Throw, Pune), Rupali Zhende (Javelin Throw, Sangli), Teja Karkhanis (High Jump, Pune), Sujata Patankar (10 km Walk, Sangli), Sonali Gargote (100 mts)

Saturday 16 June 2007

Is India geared up for Formula One?

Photo: Mukund Bhute
Narain Karthikeyan making a point
B D Narayankar

bapun@sakalherald.com

PUNE: India is on the verge of holding F1 Grand Prix at New Delhi somewhere in October 2009. But does the city boast of holding such a mega event?

Joining issue with the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President Suresh Kalmadi, F1 racer Narain Karthikeyan expressed concern here on Friday over the lack of infrastructure to hold F1 race in Delhi. He, however, expressed happiness that F1 racing was coming to India.

Though F1 tracks requires just 4.5 to 6 km long stretch of land, much of the land is needed for the actual layout, including spectator facilities, pit garages, hospitality and parking space among others.

The Sepang circuit in Malaysia, for instance, was constructed on 2,300 acres and Shanghai International Circuit was constructed over a 1,000-acre area. However, these are very lavish facilities. Istanbul Park, in Turkey, which produces some fascinating racing is built on just under 500 acres of land.

Hence, there is a huge responsibility on India to make the event successful by providing such an infrastructure for the mega event on time.

Problems of hosting F1 in India lay in the logistics. “Right now there is no infrastructure to hold F1 race,” Narain said. According to F1 Grand Prix organisers, a F1 team requires as much as a 100 hotel rooms needed to service corporate guests, media and spectators. Also required are the infrastructure facilities to transport the considerable amount of equipment the teams and event staff require for hold each round of the currently 18-round series.

Asked whether he was happy about the financial resources to hold F1 racing in India, Narain said business magnate like Vijay Mallya and few others have shown immense interest in financing and popularising the sport. “But things just oozes out quickly and subsides at the same speed,” he said.

However, one should not compare the event held at Bahrain. “The kingdom of Bahrain had unlimited funds and could hold the race successfully. Whether we have such funds? I don’t think,” Narain said.

He, however, had words of appreciation for IOA for succeeding in organizing such an event in India. F1's Indian GP in 2009 would satisfy the legions of Indian fans of the sport who were currently glued to the television on Sundays and turn up in droves at various venues where large viewing screen are put up, he said.

Having an Indian F1-track would also allow India to bid for other international race series, including the A1 GP, where a team represents India, Formula 3, GP2, motorcycle races. In addition, a number of Asian series' and local events can also now be hosted, Narain said.

On his personal front, he said he was happy to have been associated with Williams for F1 racings. “The team has been exceedingly well and it will be great driving with them,” he said.

And where would you stand by 2009? “I am hopeful to be a full-time driver. Also I have age with me. I am just 32 today,” Narain said.

Commenting on the budding talents Karan Chandu and Arman Ibrahim, he said: “India has lot of potential and India’s future is bright.”

Ajay Chavan, Samad Fallah bowl Poona Club to victory

Photo: Anand Chaini

Samad Fallah going back to his bowling run up

B D Narayankar

bapun@sakalherald.com

PUNE: Captain Ajay Chavan shined with both bat and ball and helped Poona Club to register a thumping victory against rivals Raigad Cricket Academy in the two-day MCA Senior League Tournament played here on Friday.

Ajay, first scored 58 not out in the morning to take his team to a respectable total, and then bowled a couple of fiery spell along with Samad Fallah to clean up rival’s to a paltry 150.

Resuming their innings from the overnight score of 55 for three, Poona Club’s Prem Ahire showed shines of confidence and was middling the ball beautifully. He scored exquisite shots through covers and flicked with awesome power of Raigad pacemen and spinners.

Troubled gripped Poona Club when Ahire was sent back to the hut scoring a 79 on a wicket doing a bit due to the gloomy weather conditions. Varun Panigrahi (36) and Pankaj Kalyankar (49) then picked up the gauntlet and added invaluable 50-odd runs for the team.

Soon Chavan came into the middle and started blazing the ball right from the word go. He took the team to a winning position, before the final collapse.

Continuing their bowling from where they had left in the first innings, Ajay and Samad devasted Raigad batsmen in the second innings too.

Playing in home conditions, Ajay and Samad did not take much time to find their rhythm. They unsettled the batsmen with nagging line and length, and at times made them smell the cherry with unplayable bouncers.

Soon Ajay and (3 for 58) and Samad (4 for 41) ran through the Raigad innings bowling them out for 150 runs.

SCORES: Raigad I innings 79 all out in 24.1 overs; Poona Club 268 all out in 60.1 overs (Prem Ahire 79, Varun Panigrahi 36, Pankaj Kalyankar 49, Ajay Chavan 58 n o, Satish Salunke 2 for 66, Uday Gadre 3 for 79, Yogesh Pawar 2 for 42, Sanjay Solanki 2 for 21; Raigad II Innings 150 all out in 35.5 overs (Arman Sheikh 35, Prashant Rajan 34, Sanjay Solanki 21, Ajay Chavan 3 for 58, Samad Fallah 4 for 41, Nikhil Kotwal 2 for 0

Knocking hard at selectors’ doors

Photo: Anand Chaini
B D Narayankar

bapun@sakalherald.com

PUNE: He is an inexplicable talent. He rushes back to his mark near the boundary line. Next you see him darting in from a spot where spinners would have begun. That’s left-arm pacer Samad Fallah for you – a maverick and fun-loving cricketer, who enjoys just doing anything like the Pakistani great Wasim Akram.

As he is making batsmen busy adjusting their game in the middle, he also is making Maharashtra selectors sit up to take note of his performance in this year’s MCA League Tournament. He has bagged 58 wickets so far and there are a couple of matches to go to improve his statistics further.

Taking time-off during a league match, Samad told Herald he was in fine knick and getting wickets regularly. “I am, however, not thinking of my selection to the Maharashtra Ranji squad. I have a long way to go,” he said.

Samad began his successful stint in the professional cricket in 2005 and whatever chances he got for Poona Club, he proved his mettle. He even once thought of quitting the game as nothing good was happening to him and his bowling.

That’s when he was lucky enough to meet Pakistan’s cricket legend Wasim Akram, who happened to be in the city for a public event. “Akram gave me important tips on the art of bowling – how to hold the ball, swing and bowl yorkers. He also showed some interesting video footage of how he got rid off Allan Lamb in 1992 World Cup. He also taught me reverse swinging,” Samad said.

The interaction paid off and Samad came back with a bang this season, hauling 58 wickets in nine matches, a record quite enough to break into the higher echelons of the game. What is even more astonishing is that he has bagged five wickets in a match eight times and an hat-trick to his credit against Dhule.

Poona Club coach Pradeep Ingle said Samad was a tremendous prospect and stood a very good chance to break into the Maharashtra Ranji team. “If Subash Ranjane could get into Maharashtra squad taking 67 wickets in his days, why not Samad,” he reasoned.

What was striking about Samad was he gave 100 per cent for the team whenever he bowled for the club, Pradeep said.

Lot of work has undergone to prepare Samad. “He was raw and was concentrating more on bowling fast. I worked on his run up and bowling alignment to send balls in right areas,” he said.

Crazy one may feel. Ask him who is his favorite cricketer, he says, “Brian Lara.” An unpredictable answer just like his bowling run up.

Chavan, Fallah tame Raigad

Photo: Anand Chaini

Ajay Chavan celebrates after dismissing Raigad batsman

B D Narayankar

bapun@sakalherald.com

PUNE: Exploiting the gloomy condition, Poona Club pacemen Samad Fallah and Ajay Chavan ran through Raigad Cricket Academy’s innings with devastating spells bowling them out for a mere 79 runs on the first day’s play of MCA Invitation Senior League Tournament played here on Thursday.

Both Ajay and Samad, bowling a superb line and length with controlled movement, bagged four wickets each, giving a tremendous boost to their confidence.

After a delayed start to wet conditions due to overnight rains, Poona Club captain Ajay Chavan sent Raigad in for batting after reading the windy conditions. Exploiting the situation, Ajay and Samad bowled to a plan making Raigad openers to play at the ball.

Both openers found going tough in the middle with Ajay and Samad getting the ball to swing. “The condition was similar to England. We were getting good amount of swing,” Ajay and Samad told Herald at tea.

Both bowlers unsettled the batsmen with intimidating bowling tactics too – making the ball to rise from short of a good length spot and hurling yorkers.

At one stage, Samad was on the verge of a hat-trick, but was unlucky to have not got a LBW decision in his favour.

While Samad removed Ranjit Deshmukh (0), Arman Sheikh (0), Sanjay Solanki (4) and Suraj Patil (5), Ajay sent back Shankar Dalvi (0), Yogesh Pawar (16), Prashant Rajan (0) and Vinit Thakur (0).

In reply, Poona Club started their innings, losing Amit Kadam to Uday Gadre for one. They lost other two wickets in the form of Mayur Nighot (9) and Mithun Kirad (0) to the same bowler.

Poona Club were 55 for three with Prem Ahire batting on 40 runs after the umpires called off the play due to rains.

BRIEF SCORES: Raigad Cricket Academy I Innings 79 all out in 24 overs (Samad Fallah 4 for 22, Ajay Chavan 4 for 20); Poona Club I Innings 55 for 3 in 10.1 overs (Uday Gadre 3 for 15)

Borde felicitated

BOPODI Block Congress Committee here on Thursday felicitated former Test batsman and chairman of selectors Chandu Borde for his appointment as Team India manager for Ireland and England tours. Speaking at the occasion, former minister Chandrakant Chajed hoped Borde would prove good, considering his vast cricketing and managerial experience. “He had done wonders for India as chairman of selectors and I am sure he will guide India in right direction,” he said. Referring to his unexpected appointment, Borde said he would be flying to England along with Team India on June 19 from Mumbai. “I have been assigned an all important task and I hope to give my best for my country,” he said.

Thursday 14 June 2007

Three crowns for Deepak Basarkar


B D Narayankar
bapun@sakalherald.com

PUNE: International athlete Deepak Basarkar won three crowns after clinching 100, 200 and 400 metre running events in the Two-Day U-20 Youth Federation Athletic meet organised by Maharashtra Amateur Athletic Association at Baburao Sanas Stadium here recently.

Deepak clocked 11.05, 22.6 and 51.3 seconds in 100, 200 and 400 metre events respectively, while Kolhapur’s Sandeep Kalgude climbed the second podium after winning 1,500 and 5,000 metre events.

RESULTS: U-20 Boys: 100 mts run: Deepak Basarkar (Pune) 19.05 sec. Ashwin Shetty (Pune) 11.3 sec, Rameshwar Dapse 11.7 sec; 200 mts: Deepak Basarkar 22.6 sec, Ashwin Shetty 23.0 sec; 400 mts: Deepak Basarkar 51.3 sec, Rahul Rupanvar (Sangli) 52.6 sec, Vasant Bhand (Mumbai) 53.3 sec; 800 mts: Ramdev Vishwakarma (Mumbai) 2: 03.1 sec, Rajkumar Kanojia (Mumbai) 2: 10.6 sec, Guddu Yadav (Mumbai) 2: 12.0 sec; 1500 mts: Sandeep Kalgude (Kolhapur) 4: 32.0 sec, Devendra Naik (Pune) 4: 32.7 sec, Bharat Reddy (Sangli) 4: 38.5 sec; 5000 mts: Sandeep Kalgude 16: 29.9 sec, Don D’ Silva (Mumbai) 16: 33.8 sec, Guddu Yadav 17: 40.0 sec; 10000 mts: Chandrakant Gire (Pune) 36: 17.4 sec, Sachin Dhole (Pune) 39: 17.3 sec; 110 mts Hurdles: Preetam Kshirsagar (Pune) 16.5 sec, Chetan Patil (Sangli) 16.6 sec, Pramod Mane (Sangli) 17.4 sec; 400 mts Hurdles: Chetan Patil 65.01 sec, Pramod Mane 66.4 sec; Discuss Throw: Tushar Shinde (Mumbai) 40.52 mts, Lalit Choudhary (Mumbai) 35.01 mts, Bharat Ahire (Pune) 28.80 mts; Shot Put: Baljinder Singh (Pune) 12.68 mts, Samarth Sabharwal (Pune) 11.87 mts; Javelin Throw: Pankaj Shukla (Mumbai) 49.02 mts; High Jump: Dhaval Ittam (Pune) 1.75 mts, Mayur Suravse (Pune) 1.70 mts; Long Jump: Aniket Abhiyankar (Pune) 19.66 mts; Tripple Jump: Sachin Rathod (Pune) 12.82 mts, Aniket Abhiyankar (Pune) 19.66 mts, Satish Patil (Sangli) 11.65 mts; 3000 mts Steeplechase: Bhaskar Nalavade (Mumbai) 10.0 mts, Don D’Souza (Mumbai) 10.12 mts, Vikas Mohite (Mumbai) 9.55 mts; Pole Vault: Keshav Singh (Pune) 3.40 mts, Balasaheb Kendre (Aurangabad) 3.25 mts, Shashikant Singh (Aurangabad) 2.70 mts; U-20 Girls: 800 mts run: Sulochana Bhondave (Pune) 2: 29.0 sec, Prabhavati Rawat (Mumbai) 2: 29.8 sec; 1500 mts: Reshma Dalvi (Pune) 5:13.7 sec, Amruta Mane (Pune) 5:16.2 sec, Manisha Salunke (Sangli) 5:33.9 sec; 3000 mts: Reshma Dalvi 11:03.3 sec, Ashmita Goankar (Ratnagiri) 11:27.8 sec, Manisha Salunke 11:29.8 sec; 10000 mts: Manisha Patil (Sangli) 45:17.7 sec; 10-km Walking: Sujata Patankar (Sangli) 1hr:8m:43 sec, Meera Chavan (Sangli) 1hr:10m:45 sec; 400 mts Hurdles: Deepti Ingle (Ratnagiri) 78.1 sec, Anuja Chopade (Sangli) 81.6 sec; Hammer Throw: Poornima Nivangune (Pune) 34.75 mts; Discuss Throw: Paurnima Nivangune (Pune) 30.63 mts, Ekta Jadhav (Pune) 26.78 mts; Shot Put: Ekta Jadhav 9.36 mts; Javelin Throw: Rupali Jhende (Sangli) 33.48 mts, Ashwini Yadav (Sangli) 28.78 mts, Reshma Shitole (Mumbai) 27.03 mts, Goldie Sahi (Mumbai) 25.03 mts; High Jump: Neha Gaikwad (Pune) 1.40 mts; Long Jump: Pankaja Kolhe (Pune) 4.98 mts, Deepti Ungle (Ratnagiri) 4.86 mts; Tripple Jumple: Pankaja Kolhe 11.48 mts;

Wednesday 13 June 2007

Growing on Pace Guru Lilee's laps


Photo: Mukund Bhute
B D Narayankar
bapun@sakalherald.com

PUNE: Just a season ago, he was struggling with his action and run up and could not leave much of his mark in the U-19 MCA League Series. This season, he already has 29 wickets in his kitty in eight matches. Ask him how the change came about? Pat comes the reply: “It’s because of my idol and Pace Guru Dennis Lilee who gave important tips during the MRF Pace Foundation training camp at Chennai.”

Compared to Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka, which gave good pacemen for India in the last decade, Maharashtra always had given world-class batsmen. Boys like Ninad Choudhari have everything in them to make Maharashtra proud in pace attack. Maharashtra Cricket Association should, however, groom them carefully.

Having a beautiful high-arm action, six-footed and broad-shouldered Ninad reels of the balls at 130 mph pace consistently. He even had ex-Maharashtra paceman Pandurang Salgaonkar applauding his bowling. And having come from Salgoankar, known for his on-field battle with batting legend Sunil Gavaskar, would have done wonders for the Teenage Express.

“Before attending the pace academy, I was pretty raw, focusing more on speed. I also had problem with my action and run up. My arm was not coming from the top while delivering the ball. Lilee shaped me up in these areas. He gave tips on fitness too,” Ninad told Maharashtra Herald in an interview.

Apart from Lilee, former test bowlers T A Shekhar, Javagal Srinath and Laxmipathy Balaji gave advice on how to swing the ball of the pitch and, in the air. “Chances are more to get the batsmen out with swinging balls,” the Jalgaon lad said.

When Ninad came out of the pace academy, he was a different bowler altogether. He has picked up 29 wickets and feeling lot better and confident now.

Asked whether he believed in intimitading tactics as applied by Shoaib Akhtar and Brett Lee, Ninad said: “They look gorgeous when they run up to the batsmen and deliver 150 mph express delivery consistently. But they struggle to get wickets match after match. Their strike rate is lower than Imran Khan and Lilee. I prefer aping these two great bowlers. I like the attitude of Imran and Lilee’s zeal to pick wickets.”

Tuesday 12 June 2007

Chandan Wani shines in drawn encounter



Photo: Mukund Bhute

Cadence keeper Telang dropped Jalgaon batsman's catch

B D Narayankar

bapun@sakalherald.com

PUNE: In a drawn encounter, Chandan Wani pulled Jalgoan out from the clutches of an inevitable follow-on with his 80-runs knock against Cadence in the MCA U-19 Super League Tournament played at AFK Cricket Ground here on Tuesday.

Chandan’s was an heroic effort, coming into bat when Jalgaon were reeling at 71 for 4. He found his touch in his very first over when he swept Oswal over the square-leg fence for four.

Contrary to this stroke, Chandan played a determined and gutsy knock deciding to occupy the crease and remain not out till the end. He, however, did not lose any opportunity to score runs.

Cadence bowlers, instead of attacking Chandan early on, bowled to his strengths, who did not have any difficulty to put away those pitching round his leg and middle stump. He swept, on-drove and swatted the ball with grace.

Chandan inspired his partners Sumit Dixit and Shashank Attarde too. They gave ample support to him. First, Chandan and Sumit knit a stand of 69 for fifth wicket and 66 for sixth with Attarde.

Just when Jalgaon was appearing to have found their foot, they lost Sumit caught Nitesh Salekar of Kambil’s bowling. They went into lunch 189 for five disappointed.

After lunch, Cadence struck two early blows -- Chintan Pashankar had Attarde stumped round his stumps first up and Chetan Telang threw in a direct throw from short thirdman, running Chandan out.

Soon Jalgaon lost last three wickets cheaply and were bowled out for 224 conceding 95-runs lead to Cadence. Chintan and Nitesh claimed three wickets each conceding 6 and 33 runs respectively.

In reply, Cadence started their second innings terribly losing three quick wickets. Ninad Choudhari terrorised the openers with steady line and length with good pace.

Ninad got rid of Chintan for naught, who gave an easy catch in the slips after flashing hard at the ball moving outside. Then he clean bowled A Shrikhande for 14.

Udit Birla showed his form yet again by scoring a half-century, remaining not out on 50.

When Cadence reached 75 for three, both umpires called off the match after consulting two captains.

SCORES: Jalgaon I Innings: 224 all out in 77 overs (Chandan Wani 80, Nitesh Salekar 3 for 33, Chintan Pashankar 3 for 6); Cadence II Innings: 75 for 3 (Udit Birla 50 n o, Ninad Choudhari 2 fo 16) Result: Match Drawn

Manipur lifts first American Football Trophy













B D Narayankar

bapun@sakalherald.com

PUNE: They jumped in delight, twirled their shirts, somersaulted, and waved the Manipur American Football Association Flag. All this they did after defeating hosts Maharashtra 3-0 in finals of the First Youth National American Football Championship played at Mathurawala Ground here on Monday.

Maharashtra, who had put up a spectacular show in the championship, could not repeat the same trick in the finals. They were no match to the pacy Manipurians, who kept their attack near Maharashtra endzones constantly. At times, they attempted to score field goals too.

Maharashtra, on the flipside, struggled to break into Manipur defense failing to dodge their burly blockers. Their attack was poor, as their receivers failed to grab the ball near the opponent’s endzones. They also aimed some desperate shots at the goal without much success.

After a point-less first quarter, Manipur picked up pace and forced Maharashtra to do all the hard work to possess the ball in the second quarter. In the process, Manipur’s Lingthou (King) sailed the ball into the post from 20-yards away from the rival’s endzone.

Maharashtra had the only chance in the fourth and final quarter when their receiver slipped and fell flat on the ground attempting to latch on to a pass from the right flank near the Manipur endzone. “We could have earned six points through a touchdown and sailed through. It was a bad day. We are disappointed after doing well in the competition,” Maharashtra captain Khalid Madari told Maharashtra Herald after the match.

In the battle for third place, West Bengal were declared winners as Tamil Nadu was unable to take field due to a couple of injuries in their side.

Earlier in the day, Maharashtra pulled off a spectacular win against West Bengal 5-4 in sudden death of the semifinals of the tournament.

The match extended into the sudden death after both teams drew level with 3-3 scoreline, even after the completion of seven-minute extra time.

As the second West Bengal striker could not convert the penalty kick into a goal, Maharashtra, as per rule, were declared winners.

First three quarters of the match belonged to West Bengal, who played brilliant football, weaving patterns and giving swift passes to their receivers. Soon Ahmad Inamdar scored a field goal (3 points) from 20 yard out in first quarter.

Thereafter, West Bengal made several attempts to score through kicks or touchdowns, but could not succeed.

Maharashtra, on the other hand, were off-color and struggled to get there combination right in first three quarters. The receivers were found wanting in grabbing the pass at key positions. They could not repeat the trick as they had done against Chattisgarh on Sunday, crushing them 63-0.

Maharashtra, however, gathered momentum in the final quarter. Just when it all seemed over for the state team, Kalif Thandari sprinted into the 30-yard zone, lobbed the ball in front of him and kicked the ball high into the net, leveling scores 3-3 in last minute of the match.

In another semifinals, Manipur defeated Tamil Nadu 12-7. The match could not extend upto its full time as Tamil Nadu walked off the field protesting referee Vishal Gore and Anand Gaikwad’s decision in favour of Manipur.

Shanti Kumar and Ranjit Kumar pulled of a couple of touchdowns earning 12 points in third quarter. Tamil Nadu scored seven points from a Hemant Kumar touchdown and Mehboob’s bonus point.

RESULTS: Finals: Manipur bt Maharashtra 3-0; Semifinals: Maharashtra bt West Bengal 5-3; Manipur bt Tamil Nadu 12-7

Monday 11 June 2007

City lad Nachiket upsets top seed Samit in a thriller



B D Narayankar

bapun@sakalherald.com

PUNE: Raising his arms, acknowledging spectators’ appreciation, Nachiket Agashe raced towards the net to shake hand with his opponent and waved at his coach Archana Devdutt, after scoring an upset against top-seed Samit Dandavate 22-20, 20-22, 21-16 in the U-16 Boys’ PDMBA Badminton League Tournament played at WIE Sports Complex here on Sunday.

Nachiket was nervous at initial stages, as he knew he was taking on a quality and top-seeded player. Though he committed many mistakes, he capitalised on Samit’s negative approach to the game.

“My rival was dropping the shuttle into the net and swishing it out of the court many a times. I knew he was struggling for form and I began feeling confident,” Nachiket told Maharashtra Herald.

He did not take much time to also realise Samit was showing sings of tiredness in the very first game. He soon decided to make Samit run around with toss-ups and drop shots.

After receiving a stiff resistance from Samit and winning the first game 22-20, Nachiket went down in the second 20-22. Both players were reeling off good drop shots and smash across the court.

Nachiket had a wonderful opportunity to win the match when the scores were 20-19, but Samit earned the next three points, spoiling the former’s party. “At this point, I was nervous. I didn’t know what to do. Consequently, I played far too many extravagant shots and times netting the shuttle,” he said.

Nachiket won the third game comfortably 21-16 after taking 11-7 lead early on. “It was not easy. It was tough out there facing a quality player like Samit. He was deadly with his smashes, but I was equally good to return them back. It was one of my days where everything went well except a few errors,” he said.

Samit said though he had a vomiting sensation due to food poisoning, he gave a real fight to his opponent. “Nachiket played a good game. He committed very few mistakes and I did it quite often. That separated me from victory,” he said.

Nachiket will now meet another seeded player Neeraj Mahajan in quarterfinals to be played on Monday morning.

RESULTS: U-16 Boys: Nachiket Agashe bt Samit Dandavate 22-20, 20-22, 21-16

Maharashtra, Manipur enter semis



Photo: Anand Chaini
Maharashtra in whites and Tamil Nadu in reds
B D Narayankar
bapun@sakalherald.com

PUNE: Maharashtra, along with Manipur, entered semifinals of country’s First Youth National American Football Tournament in great style, thrashing Chattisgarh 63-0 here at Mathurawala Ground on Sunday.

Sangram Lonkar was the highest scorer of the tournament so far after earning 24 points reaching the endzones. In an earlier encounter, Maharashtra pummeled Tamil Nadu 25-6.

Manipur became the first team to enter semifinals beating Goa 6-0. They had a tough time adjusting the new norms framed by organising committee, considering the lack of facilities available at the ground. The game, usually, is played on grass.

Manipur made several attempts for touchdowns at the endzones, but could not do so because of good defensive attack displayed by Goans in first three quarters of 10 minutes each.

Manipur got the much-needed sixer when A Canman left the pile of crowd behind him after running in from 10 yards to reach the endzone just before the final whistle.

Earlier, Manipur thrashed Andhra Pradesh 14-0. The former earned six points twice with N Ishorchawdra and Rishikanta’s help. Other two bonus points were scored yet again by Ishorchadra.

RESULTS: Round Robin League: Manipur bt AP 14-0; Manipur bt Goa 6-0; Maharashtra bt Tamil Nadu 25-6; Maharashtra bt Chattisgarh 63-0.

Saturday 9 June 2007

Chintan creates history, belts 108 before lunch

Photo: Mukund Bhute

Prayag Bhati of Cadence waiting to grab a catch which he
eventually dropped

B D Narayankar

bapun@sakalherald.com

PUNE: Opener Chintan Pashankar of Cadence Cricket Academy (CCA) niched his name in record books scoring a century before lunch in his 174-runs knock on the first day of MCA Under-19 Invitation Super League Tournament played at Yerawada Jail Ground here on Friday.

All that, he did in the presence of Chief Maharashtra Coach Chandrakant Pandit, who was on an hunting-spree to spot new talent before announcing the Ranji squad. He later galvanized Chintan to go for a big one during the lunch session, which he obliged.

Chintan reeled off 22 boundaries and a six in his scintillating knock that helped Cadence to pile up 336 runs in 54.3 overs.

He could easily had made his idol Virendra Sehwag proud watching him tear apart bowlers as he usually does in the middle.

Never for once did he look nervous, as he took on Kolhapur bowlers in the early hours of the day when the ball was moving around. He lunged forward to play his favorite on-drive to open his account with a boundary.

This shot was enough for the lad who believed in getting his first 30-odd runs quickly and then slowing down things to get to 50 and raise the tempo again until he reached 80.

Resuming his innings after lunch, he carried on making mincemeat of Kolhapur bowlers. He square-drove, on-drove, cut, reverse swept and straight drove. Surely he was a delight.

He also was involved in a 150-odd runs partnership with last-match centurion Udit Birla (43), being a senior mate, gave useful tips to him. He had an useful partnership with alrounder Omkar Patil (33) too.

Declaring the innings at 336 for nine, Cadence bowlers, especially Nitesh Salekar mesmerized Kolhapur batsmen, picking up three wickets for 13 runs.

Apart from some resistance shown by Vishant More (41 not out), no other Kolhapur batsmen contributed for the team. At stumps, Kolhapur were precariously placed at 97 for five.

SCORES: CCA I Innings: 336 for 9 in 54.3 overs (Chintan Pashankar 174, Udit Birla 43, A Kate 104 for 3); Kolhapur I Innings: 97 for 5 in 33 overs (Vishant More 41 n o, Abhijeet Redekar 33, Nitish Salekar 13 for 3)

Umranikar elected

PUNE Police Commissioner Jayant Umranikar was elected Vice-President of All India Kickboxing Association AIKA) in an election held at Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkota on May 20. The election was conducted in the presence of former West Bengal Post Master General S B Bhattacharya. Meanwhile, C A Tamboli, working at Defence Ministry’s 512 Army Base Workshop, was elected AIKA Secretary. Other office-bearers are: Raj Singh (Chairman), President Harjindal Singh Dhanova (President), Kartar Singh, Gurumit Kaul (Vice-Presidents), S S Harichandan (General Secretary), Pradyuman Behra (Treasurer), Moutudas, Dinesh Mishra, Danny Roni and P Selvaraj (Convenors).


Friday 8 June 2007

Poona Police win finals



B D Narayankar

bapun@sakalherald.com

PUNE: Braving intermittent rains with a positive gameplan, Poona Police played a fascinating hockey with sheer pace and agility to trounce Vikram Pillay Academy (VPA) 1-0 in the finals of Priyadarshini Sports Centre (PSC) Nine-a-Side Hoceky Tournament here on Thursday.

The magical goal came from the stick of Mark Anthony who was waiting in the circle for the 60-yard hit from Umesh Pulgam in 34th minute of the match. It was an unforgettable goal. He flicked the ball to his left, twirled around and reverse-flicked the ball over goalkeeper Ganesh Palande’s head.

“You ask him and you will get one,” Poona Police captain Wajid Sheikh told Maharashtra Herald after the match with loads of cheer tinkling on his face. “Mark had been deadly this season and had given everything to the team. When he gets one, it is worth treasuring. And he has got us some good goals,” he said.

The sheer attacking tactics adopted by City Police from the beginning showed VPA defenders’ poor form. They gave too many opportunities for Poona Police to launch or set up an attack.

The winners had as many as five penalty corners in the first half, but could not coast past their rival goalkeeper Ganesh Palande once. Even VPA had one such opportunity, but that went abegging.

The game, however, was not as easy as it appeared to be from outside. Players had to work hard to control the ball on a soggy field. The tussle, therefore, appeared even.

Poona Police were worried after their first half strategy to play an attacking game did not fetch them goals. When they took the field in the second half, they focused on converting at least one penalty corner. Sooner they got one, but were unlucky as the ball ballooned over the bar after a neat deflection from VPA defender’s stick.

Amidst the maneuvers of Poona Police, Ganesh Palande brought a couple of exciting saves, sending spectators into rupture. The one he saved Prakash Sapkal’s shot was special.

Launching a counter-attack in the next minute, VPA midfielder set up the attack for Sachin Pal in the circle who rolled it on to Cyril Bernard who scooped the ball over the bar in a rush of blood.

Meanwhile, Metro Sports earned third position in the tournament beating rivals Railway Police 1-0. Sunny Dete scored the only goal of the match in the first half.

RESULTS: Finals: Poona Police 1 (Mark Anthony) bt VPA 0; Third Place: Metro Sports 1 (Sunny Dete) bt Railway Police 0

Omkar Patil shines with bat, ball



Photo: Mukund Bhute

Omkar Patil is being caught by pointsman (not in pic)

B D Narayankar

bapun@sakalherald.com

PUNE: Though match ended in a draw, Omkar Patil delighted cricket-lovers with sheer display of arrogance both with bowl and bat in the drawn match between Cadence Cricket Academy (CCA) and Gudge XI in MCA Under-19 Invitation Super League Tournament played at Yerawada Jail Ground here on Thursday.

Continuing from where he had left, bagging three wickets for eight runs, Omkar ripped apart the rest half of Gudge XI batsmen with six-wickets haul for 45 runs.

Contrary to the overnight wicket condition when the ball was doing a bit on the first day even towards evening, Omkar sooner realized that batting was easy on the second morning and hence adjusted his bowling and sent the balls on right spots. That paid of, when he sent Ketan Pavagi into the hut trapping him plumb for 38. He could only add four to his overnight score.

Omkar then trapped wicketkeeper Bahua, but not before claiming Pinak Parkhi’s wicket. He, however, could not stop Gaurav Sonawane (67) and Pranil Moharkar ‘s (35) onslaught, who posted Gudge XI to a respectable 178 all out in 51 overs, avoiding a follow on.

When Cadence came into bat for the second time, it was clear from their approach that they wanted to set up a target for the opponent’s to make something out of the match.

Opener Chintan Pashankar set the ball rolling scoring boundaries in front of the wicket and square-cutting at occasions. He made a strokeful 41 runs studded with seven boundaries.

Now it was the turn of Omkar to launch the blitzkrieg. This time with his bat He did that with two towering pull-shots over square-leg umpire first up. He scored a quickfire 42 with eight boundaries and a six after being holed out at point of Pranil Moharkar.

Cadence declared their innings on reaching 141 for four leaving 211 (70 runs first innings lead) target to get in 27 overs.

Gudge XI openers picked up the challenge. Both Pranav Mehta and Akshay Akhud scored runs at 8 runs per over.

As soon as they both got out, making 21 and 26 respectively, there was no interest left with Gudge tottering at 65 for three.

After mutual consent, both captains called off the match just before the commencement of mandatory overs.

Cadence were declared winners of the match on the basis of their first innings lead.

SCORES: Grudge I Innings Overnight: 56 for 4: 178 all out in 51 overs (Gaurav Sonawane 67, Omkar Patil 6 for 45); Cadence II Innings: 141 for 4 dec in 21 overs (Chintan Pashankar 41, Omkar Patil, 42); Gudge II Innings: 65 for 3 in 11 overs (Akshay Akhud 26, Pranav Mehta 21, Nitish Salekar 2 for 6) Result: Match drawn (Cadence declared winners on first innings lead)

Bad day for PDMBA



B D Narayankar

bapun@sakalherald.com

PUNE: Contrary to their Wednesday’s performance, Poona District Metropolitan Badminton Association ‘A’ (PDMBA) players were outsmarted by Thorat ‘C’ 3-0.

RESULTS: Group C: Thorat ‘C’ bt PDMBA ‘A’ 3-0: Akshay Sapkal bt Omkar Angolkar 21-15, 21-16; Rohan Panse bt Suyash Godbole 21-16, 21-19, Akhilesh Joshi bt Akshay Shah 21-18, 21-10; Pranav Group bt Solaris Group 3-0: Pranav Shaligram bt Sagar Deshmukh 21-1, 21-2, Adwait Madgulkar bt Swaroop Kulkarni 21-4, 21-8, Siddharth Deshpande bt Vikrant Patil 21-7, 21-12; Woodlands bt Yashashri 2-1: Yash Kelkar lost to Param Joshi 19-21, 13-21, Bhuvanesh Ketkar bt Rugved Joshi 21-12, 21-17, Rujul Godse bt Gaurav Joshi 21-13, 21-14

Thursday 7 June 2007

Udit, Omkar put Cadence in driver’s seat

B D Narayankar

bapun@sakalherald.com

PUNE: Udit Birla lightened up the day’s proceedings after a delayed start to the first day’s play between Cadence Academy and Gudge XI on Wednesday with a scintillating unbeaten 105 runs after reeling off 14 boundaries and a six in MCA Under-19 Invitation Super League Tournament.

What was so fascinating about Udit’s innings was he cut down on his lofted strokes and concentrated on ground shots until he reached his half-century.

Realising he was running out of partners, Udit paced up his innings, clobbering Gudge bowlers all over the park reaching his century in a hurry.

Udit exhibited his rare determination to excel as runs had stopped flowing from his willow for the last 10 innings.

Udit came to the crease when Cadence were reeling at 74 for three after Jayesh Jape, Pranav Mehta and Vikram Bhosale had removed three top batsmen with beautiful deliveries.

He started his innings with two glorious strokes to the fence of leg-spinner Vikram Bhosale. He tore him again in the next over, pulling him twice to deep square leg fence.

Soon Udit lost his partner Gaurav Bhoswal when he snicked one to Pranav Mehta stationed at gully to Gaurav Sonawane (16). Thereafter, Prayag Bhati and Udit had 44-runs stand for the sixth wicket, pushing the total to 156 for six.

After tea, Udit, changed his gear and started lofting the balls right over the bowlers’ head with style. He got one to clear the rope against Vikram Bhosale. He put on an invaluable 46-runs partnership with Nitesh Salekar for eighth wicket, before taking the total to 247 all out.

Fiery spell: In reply, Gudge had a very bad start, losing two wickets in first over of their innings. Omkar Patil trapped A Akhud and then Pranav Mehta caught trying to hook. He also claimed Vikram Bhosale in the same fashion.

Gudge lost their fourth wicket after Nitish Salekar trapped Kumar Thakkar for four.

At close of play, Gudge were 56 for four with Ketan Pavagi batting on 34 and Moharkar on 8.

SCORES: Cadence XI I Innings: 247 all out in 64 overs (Udit Birla 105, Ketan Pavagi 3 for 37); Gudge I Innings: (Ketan Pavagi 34 n o, Omkar Patil 3 for 8)

PDMBA players shine

B D Narayankar

bapun@sakalherald.com

PUNE: Poona District Metropolitan Badminton Association (PDMBA) ‘A’ thrashed Yashashri Club 3-0 after Akshay Shah, Omkar Angolkar and Suyash Godbole beat Prem Joshi 21-17, 21-17, Rohan Savarkar 21-7, 21-9 and Rugved Joshi 21-12, 21-9 in Under-16 Team Events of Inter-Club League Badminton Tournament on Wednesday.

In yet another team event, PDMBA ‘C’ beat Woodland Club 3-0 when Kshipi Tamankar, Sheel Pethe and Ajeet Kambhar thrashed Rujul Godse 21-15, 21-16, Bhuvanesh Ketkar 21-12, 21-10 and Tanmay Ghagre 21-9, 21-11 respectively.

RESULTS: Group C: PDMBA ‘A’ bt Yashashri 3-0: Akshay Shah bt Prem Joshi 21-17, 21-17, Omkar Angolkar bt Rohan Savarkar 21-7, 21-9, Suyash Godbole bt Rugved Joshi 21-12, 21-9; PDMBA ‘C’ bt Woodland Club 3-0: Khsipra Tamankar bt Rujul Godse 21-15, 21-16, Sheel Pethe bt Bhuvanesh Ketkar 21-12, 21-10, Ajeet Kumbhar bt Tanmay Ghagre 21-9, 21-11; PDMBA ‘B’ bt Chinmay Club 3-0: Janak Wakankar bt Aditya Wani 21-5, 21-7, Pranav Bapat bt Nikhil Patil 21-12, 21-6, Manash Mokashi bt Mihir Wadiyar 21-2, 21-1: Group ‘B’: Cummins bt Vikrant ‘B’ 3-0, Kedar Sapkal bt Vishal Dharmadikari 21-9, 21-14

Wednesday 6 June 2007

Poona Police, VPA barge into finals



B D Narayankar

bapun@sakalherald.com

PUNE: One should have been at the Ammunition Factory Ground here on Tuesday for two reasons – a world-class goal by Vinod Pillay of Vikram Pillay Academy (VPA) and a couple of match-winning saves in the tie-breaker by Poona Police goalkeeper Waheed Pathan, while their teams zoomed into the finals of Rosary Education Group sponsored Nine-a-Side Hockey Tournament beating Metro Sports and Railway Police respectively.

VPA pulled off a one-goal victory against Metro Sports with the help of a fantastic reverse-flick by Vinod from the top of the D.

The pulsating semi-finals, however, was between arch rivals Railways Police and Poona Police, which the latter won 5-4 in the tie-breaker. Poona Police’s strategy to play a defensive game spelled doom for them as they allowed their rivals to dominate.

Railway Police got their first goal in the fifth minute of the match in the form of Rohidas Musale on a penalty corner. The second goal for them came in the second half when Rohidas rolled one from the corner of the right flank to Milind Lonare who positioned perfectly to tuck in the ball with great power.

Raju Sable nearly put his side ahead with the third goal when he broke into the rival’s defense on the right, dribbling three defenders, ultimately failing to flick the ball into the net. Amit Rajput for Poona Police put one in 36th minute.

There were many attempts from both the sides to outplay their rivals, but they failed to avoid a tie-breaker. Waheed Pathan saved two beautiful goals from Railway Police penalty shooters Raju Sable and Amol Bhosale that put Poona Police into the finals with a 5-4 win.

Meanwhile, in the second match all the limelight was hogged by Vinod Pillay with brilliant and intelligent play setting up attacks for his teammates. His reverse-flick from the top of D was a goal that should not have been missed by anyone as the ball whizzed past the ears of Metro Sports’ goalkeeper Sunil Saket.

In the second half, Metro Sports earned two penalty corners in the last five minutes of the game through wonderful wrist works by Shoaib Ansari. However, the team failed to convert.

RESULTS: Poona Police 5 (Amit Rajput, Bashir Sayeed, Umesh Pulgam, Wajid Sheikh, Prakash Sapkal) bt Railway Police 4 (Rohidas Musale 2, Datta Shinde, Milind Lonare); VPA 1 (Vinod Pillay) bt Metro Sports 0.

JCB beat MT Cricket Club





B D Narayankar

bapu@sakalherald.com

PUNE: A well-scripted century by Rahul Gaikwad helped Janata Cooperative Bank (JCB) beat rivals MT Cricket Club by 45 runs in the Poona District Cricket Association (PDCA) Summer League Tournament here on Tuesday.

In other round of league matches, teams like Cricketers Club, HB Group, Pune Muncipal Corporation (PMC), Muslim Bank and Modern Sports registered comfortable wins against their rivals.

Batting first, JCB scored 235 runs losing eight wickets. Apart from Rahul Gaikwad’s century, useful runs also flowed from Manish Singnani’s willow scoring 75 runs.

For MT Club, Sahil Govikar and Ashwin Despande took three and two wickets each.

In reply, MT Club could not reach the target falling 45 runs short when they scored 173 runs losing eight wickets.

SCORES: Janata Cooperative Bank 235 for 8 (Rahul Gaikwad 105, Rohit Govikar 3 for 38) bt MT Club 173 for 8 (Waseem Sheikh 3 for 40); The Cricketers Club 173 for 6 (Hemant Kamble 83, Somnath Kalbote 2 for 19) bt Gymkhana Stars 138 for 9 (Nikhil Bhise 4 for 19)

Monday 4 June 2007

Goalless draws drain out crowd

B D Narayankar

bapun@sakalherald.com

PUNE: A motley, but vociferous crowd had to be satisfied with two goal-less draws in the first-leg semifinals of the Rosary Education Group Nine-a-Side Hockey Tournament played at Ammunition Factory Ground on Monday.

Vikram Pillay Academy (VPA) managed a draw against Metro Sports, Poona Police held Railway Police even.

Amidst all the barrenness, there were some players who delighted the crowds with their superb tackling skills and control over the ball to set up attacks for their teams.

One such and perhaps the best today was Shoaib Ansari of Metro Sports. Delightful in his stick work, he played to the gallery. He was a treat to watch barging into Vikram Pillay circle thrice with lightning speed, drilling holes in the defense with dexterous dribbling abilities.

Perhaps Shoaib should have been remembered more if Metro forwards who neither could trap his passes nor cover ground to launch an attack capitalized his moves.

The game, however, is not played with one individual. VPA were good as a team. They dominated possession in the entire first half.

VPA missed the best opportunity to coast past the rivals in third minute of the first half when Cyril Bernard and Vikas Pillay had a couple of exchanges on the left flank in the circle, but Vikas dragged-flicked the ball outside, losing control over the ball.

In 13th minute, VPA made a wonderful move through Vikas who struck a shot that deflected of goalkeeper Sunil Saket’s pads to Cyril, who rushed into the centre of the circle, dodging a couple of defenders before feeding it to Vikas who failed to convert.

Metro Sports dumped their performance of the first half and played calculated hockey. They clearly appeared a team on the rampage.

Metro lost an opportunity in the seventh minute of the second half when Shoaib broke into the defense giving a pass to Sunil Waghmare who failed to capitalize.

But for Railway Police’s second minute opportunity, they looked off-colour in the first half.

In the fourth minute immediately, city police managed to earn a penalty corner, but a magnificent save from Railway Police defender Amar Kadam spoiled their celebration.

In the seventh minute too, Poona Police could not convert the penalty corner through Vinod Nimbore.

The second half also was no way different for both teams, the match ending into a draw.

RESULTS: Poona Police 0 drew with Railway Police 0; VPA 0 drew with Metro Sports 0.

PDMBA thrash JBC Juniors three-love

B D Narayankar

bapun@sakalherald.com

PUNE: PDMBA thrashed JBC Junior 3-0 after Manas Mokashi, Pranav Bapat and Janak Wakankar pulled off victories against their respective opponents without any contest in U-16 Team Events of Inter-Club League Badminton Tournament on Monday.

While Manas thumped Aditya Disa 21-7, 21-10, Pranav beat Akshay Madkare 21-12, 21-6. Janak defeated Shantanu Ekbote 21-8, 21-4.

In yet another team event, Pranav Group beat Yashashri 2-1 after Pranav Shahigram, Adwait Madulkar prevailing upon Gaurav Joshi 21-2, 21-3 and Prem Joshi 21-13, 21-6 respectively.

However, the team had to face defeat at the hands of Yashashri’s Rugved Joshi who trounced Chinmay Naval 21-18 and 21-18 in an exhilarating game.

RESULTS: PDMBA bt JBC Junior 3-0: Manas Mokashi bt Aditya Disa 21-7, 21-10; Pranav Bapat beat Akshay Madkare 21-12, 21-6; Janak Wakankar bt Shantanu Ekbote 21-8, 21-4; Pranav Group bt Yashashri 2-1: Pranav Shahigram bt Gaurav Joshi 21-2, 21-3; Adwait Madulkar bt Prem Joshi 21-13, 21-6; Chinmay Naval lt Rugved Joshi 18-21, 18-21