By Our Sports Reporter
IMPHAL, Nov 27 : Local team, India-B capped their campaign with four of four wins at the 13th Manipur Polo International as they clinched a 6-4 victory against title contenders England today at Mapal Kangjeibung in the last league match of the tournament.
It was almost a rehearsal of the final match due to be held on November 29 as the two teams have already qualified for the title clash courtesy of respective three earlier wins in the league stage. The opening chukker went lull with neither team finding the target but India-B sealed a 3-1 lead till halfway thanks to goals by Leishemba Takhellambam, K Jogendra and Th Jacob. George Amor who is in his prolific from since Day 1 of the tournament opened up the account roughly past the second minute of the second chukker but Leishemba draw level in the 5th minute before Jogendra and Jacob carried forward the momentum and overturned the lead in India-B's favour.
The third chukker was almost the repetition of second chukker as Jacob, Abung Khuman and Jogendra added a goal each to India-B's tally to make it 6-2 while Will Seth Smith scored for England.
With the huge goal lead, the local side were seen taking their feet off the saddle while England with a mountain to climb had to up their ante and forge some fine rides that yielded quick result as soon as the fourth chukker got underway. It was Ben Eley who grabbed England's third in the freak opening seconds while Will Seth Smith completed his double barely after the first minute. With recovery path in sight, England laboured to get more goals but India-B did well to intercept to deny them on many occasions and successfully surged home 6-4 to remain title favourites.
Earlier in a dead rubber match, USA earned their second victory and completed their campaign with an emphatic 9-3 triumph against India-A. Tommy Huber took centre stage of this lopsided encounter as he made the most of the scoring for USA with 8 goals in his name while the other goal was scored by team captain Jorge Vasquez.
India-A started strongly with Major Narendra Singh opening up the account while Capt Anant Rajpurohit struck the second to make it 2-0 at the end of the first chukker. USA's win was not visible till the second chukker as India A took a 3-2 lead with Capt Anant Rajpurohit scoring his second despite Tommy Huber chipped in twice. The game however took huge turn in the following chukker as India -A slumped and USA fired home 6 goals, 5 of which came from the stick of Tommy Huber and Jorge Vasquez made his only goal to make it 8-3. Tommy then rounded off the scoring for USA in the last chukker's third minute with a brilliant shot.