The prestigious Beighton Cup – the world’s oldest hockey tournament – has got underway at the SAI Sports Complex in Kolkata. This highly reputed hockey tourney 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.
Reigning champions Indian Oil are placed in Pool A alongside Comptroller & Auditor General of India (CAG), and Eastern Railway Sports Association. 2019 runners-up Punjab National Bank are pitted in Pool B alongside Bengal Nagpur Railway Recreation Club and Odisha XI. Punjab & Sind Bank are pitted in Pool C alongside Canara Bank, while Central Secretariat and Cultural Sports Promotion Board (CSCSPB), Indian Navy, and Naval Tata Hockey Academy are pitted in Pool D.
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.