The Railway Sports Promotion Board (RSPB) were crowned champions for the sixth straight time after they outclassed Hockey Madhya Pradesh 5-0 in the final of the 9th Hockey India senior women Nationals at the Astroturf International Stadium here on Monday. A brace each from Neha (12th minute, 16') and Navneet Kaur (25', 28') along with Vandana Katariya's goal in the 10th minute saw the defending champions secure yet another title in fine fashion. Whereas, it was Hockey Haryana who defeated Hockey Maharashtra 3-2 in the bronze medal match.
The final of the competition saw RSPB start strongly, scoring their first goal in only the 10th minute as experienced forward Vandana got her name on the score-sheet. Seconds later, it was Neha who struck for the defending champions as she scored off a penalty corner in the 12th minute to make it 2-0.
Madhya Pradesh found it difficult to defend against the constant attacking threat of RSPB, and ended up conceding a third when Neha scored off a penalty corner again in the 16th minute. Madhya Pradesh tried to find their feet in the match, but top-scorer Navneet Kaur came up with two more goals in the 25th and 28th minutes to get her tally to 12 goals in the competition.
The fourth and the fifth goals almost finished Madhya Pradesh's hopes of making a comeback, and they had to settle for silver. Meanwhile, in the bronze medal match, it was Haryana who also finished third for a second year running. The team defeated Maharashtra 3-2 in the match as Sonika (6'), Rani Vandana (39') and Deepika (49') scored for them.
The match started with Haryana scoring the first goal through Sonika in the 6th minute, but Maharashtra cancelled out their lead twice as their forward H Lalruatfeli scored a brace (13', 42') in the match. With the scores tied at 2-2, it was only in the 49th minute that Haryana managed to score the winner as Deepika scored a field-goal to secure the bronze medal for her team.
(With inputs from agencies.)