Railway Sports Promotion Board (RSPB) has emerged as the team to beat in the Indian domestic hockey circuit. Riding on the high of winning the 38th Surjit Hockey Tournament in Jallandhar recently, the railmen turned the 31st Lal Bahadur Shastri Hockey Tournament into back-to-back title glory after they brought their A-game to the fore, especially in the final two quarters to neutralise the challenge of Indian Oil 3-0 in the summit clash played at the Major Dhyan National Stadium in New Delhi.
Drag-flicker Joginder Singh gave Railway Sports Promotion Board an early lead off a short corner conversion and the scoreline remained that way at half-time. RSPB literally took the game away from Indian Oil with two goals in two minutes from Shesha Gowda and Karajwinder Singh.
The red brigade had entered the final of the 31st Lal Bahadur Shastri Hockey Tournament in 2017, where they went down to Punjab National Bank 3-5. The Railway team had also reached the final of the 2015 edition when they lost to ONGC 2-5 (2-2) in a shootout.
For Indian Oil, the runners-up finish is a significant improvement after their rather surprising quarterfinal exit in the recently-held 38th Surjit Hockey Tournament. The oilmen were well served by former international forward Talwinder Singh, who was adjudged the Best Player of the Tournament.