On a day when legendary Leslie Claudius lashed out at the present system,Indian hockey hit another low as the Beighton Cup final,at the SAI Complex here bordered on the farcical. The match between Punjub Police and Punjab and Sind Bank (PSB) couldnt go into the tie-breaker owing to poor light conditions and the two teams had to share the trophy.
There was a bigger drama three minutes before the final whistle. Umpire HS Sokhi disallowed a goal from PSB. The decision came as a shock to the PSB players who had already left the field and were celebrating on the assumption that they were the champions through the golden goal rule. The Bengal Hockey Association secretary Gurbux Singh had to convince PSB captain Mandeep Singh to return to the field. Ten minutes were lost in the bargain.
Minutes later,both the captains complained about insufficient light and the umpires stopped play declaring joint-winners.
The light was not sufficient. So we decided that the trophy should be shared, Sokhi said.
In fact,the other umpire Barinder Singh made a mistake by initially allowing the PSB goal. He later changed his decision after consulting with Sokhi as they came to a conclusion that the hit was taken from outside the striking circle. The match was locked 2-2 that time.
Earlier,PSB went 2-0 ahead with Ranjodh Singh scoring the first goal in the 30th minute and Rajwinder Singh adding to the tally a minute later. Punjab Police fought back to equalise through Amit Singh and Jagbir Singh in the 40th and 48th minute respectively.
Gurbux stood by the umpires decision saying: This is not the first time Beighton Cup is shared. It has happened many times. So,I think the result was fair enough.
Claudius,who was one of the distinguished guests in the final,however,crticised the decision and said that there was enough light to go into the tie-breaker.