Bombay Gold Cup Hockey: SCR stun defending champs IOCL 5-2 to set up final with Indian Navy

Updated: Feb 12, 2020, 08:24 IST | Ashwin Ferro | Mumbai

PR Aiyappa (7th, 58th minute) scored a brace for SCR while Sheshe Gowda (6th), Pratap Lakra (8th) and Lovepreet Singh (50th) added a goal each yesterday. Sumit Kumar (30th) and Talwinder Singh (35th) reduced the margin for IOCL

PR Aiyappa (right) of South Central Railway scores against IOCL during the semi-final of the Bombay Gold Cup yesterday. Pics/ Atul Kamble
PR Aiyappa (right) of South Central Railway scores against IOCL during the semi-final of the Bombay Gold Cup yesterday. Pics/ Atul Kamble

The Indian Railways are known to produce many top-class hockey players, who have excelled in national colours, but their fallout with Hockey India (HI) has made life tough for Railways' players.

Last year, HI banned the Railway Sports Promotion Board over a player fraud issue. The ban has had a direct effect on the Railways players' job promotions.

"Our players only get job promotions if our team win the HI-conducted national tournament but following the ban, we cannot participate in the nationals. So life is tough for our hockey players but they continue to give their best," South Central Railway coach Babu Tagore told mid-day after his team stunned defending champions IOCL 5-2 to storm into the final of the 54th All India Bombay Gold Cup hockey tournament at the MHAL Stadium in Churchgate on Tuesday.

PR Aiyappa (7th, 58th minute) scored a brace for SCR while Sheshe Gowda (6th), Pratap Lakra (8th) and Lovepreet Singh (50th) added a goal each yesterday. Sumit Kumar (30th) and Talwinder Singh (35th) reduced the margin for IOCL.

Olympian MM Somaya with  the Coorg XI team yesterdayOlympian MM Somaya with the Coorg XI team yesterday

Interestingly, despite the promotion issue, SCR have been in red-hot form, having won the Railway Hockey League in Kapurthala this year to add to their three titles last year—the Mohammed Shahid Memorial (in Varanasi), the Gurmit Memorial and the Field Marshal Arjan Singh Memorial titles (both in Chandigarh).

Coorgi lads hold promise

Coorg is well known for its coffee and hockey. And on Tuesday, a young Coorg XI showed glimpses of that hockey prowess before going down 0-3 to a seasoned Indian Navy in the semi-finals.

Despite the defeat, the tournament's debutants have given a good account of themselves, leaving coach and Olympian MM Somaya proud. "The average age of this team is just 20 and they have beaten two teams, Union Bank and Northern Railway en route the semis, so it's been a fine show," said Somaya, a Coorgi himself.

The team, comprising players from Karnataka, have been put up at the Western Railway Complex in Mahalaxmi. "The idea is to give the youngsters exposure of playing at an all India level tournament, where they can hopefully be spotted by some top clubs, who can offer them jobs based on their hockey ability," added Somaya a gold medallist at the 1980 Moscow Olympics. The Coorg side were beaten by goals from Indian Navy's Ajinkya Jadhav (9th minute), Pawan Rajbhar (41st) and Aaquib Raahim (52nd).

Umpires also have a coach

Just as players have coaches screaming out instructions to them from the sidelines, umpires too have had some guidance during the ongoing tournament.

Umpires’ Manager Ripudaman Sharma in the stands yesterdayUmpires' Manager Ripudaman Sharma in the stands yesterday

On Tuesday, Hockey India-appointed Umpires' Manager Ripudaman Sharma (seated in the stands) was seen encouraging umpires Rameez Qureshi and Govind Latwal during the first semi-final between IOCL and South Central Railway. "Shabbash Rameez, good call. Keep it up," yelled Sharma as the umpire pulled up one of the players for a dangerous foul.

Moments later, however, Rameez erred in a call and Sharma promptly made a note across his name in a little diary which will be referred to during the umpires' briefing that is done post-match.

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