Domestic Hockey Spotlight
Defending champions Hockey Punjab was shown the exit door of the 12th Hockey India Senior Men’s National Championship in the Pool stage itself. The Punjab lads were stunned 2-3 by Delhi Hockey in their first leage game and although Hockey Punjab swamped Hockey Rajasthan 12-0, it was never going to be enough for them to make it to the quarterfinals from Pool A as Delhi Hockey drubbed Hockey Rajasthan 10-0 to make the cut from Pool A. Delhi Hockey scored a final-minute winner from Rohit to spoil Hockey Punjab’s chances of making it to the last-eight stage. It may be worth recalling that Hockey Punjab had won the 2021 edition held at Pune, where they out-duelled Uttar Pradesh 2-1 in a shootout after both teams were tied goalless in regulation time.
Meanwhile, last year’s runners-up Uttar Pradesh Hockey along with Hockey Bengal, Hockey Karnataka, and Hockey Maharashtra put up dominating performances to seal their quarterfinal berths. Uttar Pradesh Hockey secured their quarterfinal passage from Pool B after posting easy 7-0 and 8-0 wins over Chhattisgarh Hockey and Telangana Hockey 8-0.
Hockey Bengal have surprised many with their impressive performance in the Senior Nationals, making the last-eight stage from Pool F. The Bengal lads have won all their three leagues game in emphatic fashion – they crushed Hockey Gujarat 10-0, edged out Le Puducherry Hockey 3-2 and drubbed Hockey Arunachal 7-2. Last ear’s third-placed team – Hockey Karnataka qualified for the quarterfinals from Pool C after whipping Hockey Uttarakhand 9-1 and Hockey Andhra Pradesh 14-0.
Hockey Maharashtra, who had finished fourth in front of their home crowd in Pune last year, reached the quarterfinals from Pool D after identical 7-1 wins over Kerala Hockey and Hockey Bihar. Hockey Haryana and Hockey Jharkhand also sealed their quarterfinal spots from Pool H and Pool E. Who makes the quarterfinal from Pool G would be known on Wednesday as both Hockey Unit of Tamil Nadu and Hockey Madhya Pradesh are in the running. The quarterfinals kick off on Thursday.