There is something about Railway Sports Promotion Board (RSPB) that has stood out in the domestic hockey circuit over the last few weeks – their ability to lift their game by several notches when up against the fancied sides. And on Wednesday, RSPB were surely slow off the blocks leaking two goals to Punjab & Sind Bank in the first two quarters but soon pressed the well-oiled button to not just overcome the Surjit Hockey Tournament runners-up Punjab & Sind Bank but handed them an ego-hurting 7-3 drubbing to make the right noises about their Pool B campaign in the Gooncha 57th Senior Nehru Hockey Tournament being played at the South-Central Railways Sports Complex in Hyderabad.
Railway Sports Promotion Board, who had pipped Punjab & Sind Bank 3-1 and Indian Oil 3-0 in the finals to win the 38th Surjit Hockey Tourney and the 31st Lal Bahadur Shastri Tourney, had to quickly regroup after Innocent Munda and Aditya Singh sewed up a 2-0 lead for the bankmen. The resurgence of RSPB came to the fore as they scored thrice in a span of seven minutes to not just reduce the deficit but also levelled the issues and walk into the half-time break with a 3-2 lead. Mukul Sharma, Aditya Yadav and Pardeep Singh conjured the comeback story.
RSPN did not relent in the second half and scored an early goal via Pardeep Singh before Prince tried to bring Punjab & Sind Bank 3-1 back into the contest with a third quarter strike. The railway literally knocked the stuffing out of the bankmen with three more goals to cap off an impressive 7-3 win.
Defending champions Punjab National Bank did not have an ideal start to their campaign after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Army XI. The Armymen despite scoring an early goal ran out of steam in their second tie and went down 1-4 to Indian Oil in a Pool A clash.