Defending champions Indian Oil were shown the tournament exit door by Indian Navy in the semifinal of the prestigious JIS 104th Beighton Cup at the SAI Sports Complex in Kolkata. The oilmen and the navymen were locked 1-1 in regulation time prompting the contest to be stretched into a shootout where Indian Navy had the last laugh, winning 4-3. Indian Navy would now face 2019 runners-up Punjab National Bank, who eased past Canara Bank 2-0 in the other semifinal. Beighton Cup – one of the world’s oldest hockey tournament – is being revived after a hiatus of three years as it could not be held in 2020 owing to Covid-19 as well as in 2021 owing to date issues. Hockey Bengal – the organisers of the coveted domestic hockey tournament – has invited as many as 12 teams for the JIS 104th Beighton Cup.
Fancied Railways Sports Promotion Board (RSPB) pulled out of the 104th Beighton Cup at the eleventh hour citing non-availability of players owing to injuries, which meant eleven team featured in the 104th edition. Indian Navy had a smooth passage in the Pool D phase sailing past Naval Tata Hockey Academy 3-0 and subsequently whipped Central Secretariat & Cultural Sports Promotion Board 6-2. Punjab National Bank also did not had to break much sweat in the Pool B phase – they smashed BNR Recreation Club 6-1 and went on to humble Odisha XI 4-2.
It may be worth recalling that Indian Oil had won the 123rd Beighton Cup held in November 2019, defeating Punjab National Bank 2-0 in the final – the oilmen rode on third-quarter goals from Karajwinder Singh and Gurjinder Singh to corner glory. Interestingly, Indian Oil have completed a hat-trick of Beighton Cup wins – they won the 122nd edition in 2018 pipping Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) 4-2 in a shootout after being locked 3-3 in regulation time. The oilmen overcame the same opponents 5-3 in the 121st edition in 2016.
It may be worth recalling that the prestigious Beighton Cup was initiated in 1895 and Calcutta Naval Volunteers AC won the inaugural edition. The Beighton Cup is named after its donor late T D Beighton, legal remembrancer of the government of West Bengal. The reputed tournament was been held every year since 1895 save for two occasions – it was first not held in 1947 due to riots and then again in 2017 as the SAI Astroturf was not tournament-ready.