ISLAMABAD - Punjab Colours and Pak Board will vie for top honours in the 4th U-18 National Junior Women Hockey Championship 2016 final today (Saturday) here at Naseer Bunda Hockey Stadium.

Punjab Colour hammered Islamabad 8-1 in the first semi-final played here on Friday. Thanks mainly to goal-scoring machines Rimsha Ilyas and Saba Riaz, who both scored fantastic hat-tricks to power Punjab C in the final. In the second semifinal, Pak Board beat Punjab Whites in a thriller as the match was tied 2-2 and in penalty shootouts, Pakistan Board converted three as against two of Punjab Whites to register well-deserving victory.

Both the teams Pakistan Board and Punjab Whites played out their hearts and displayed quality stick work.

Punjab Whites took the lead through sensational solo effort goal from the player of the match Noor, who single-handedly beat six players before putting the ball into the net. The first quarter of the match was goal-less, as both the teams failed to make any significant move in entire 15 minutes. The match came into life in the second quarter, when Noor scored the arguably goal of the tournament in the 10th minute of the second quarter, but Kiran leveled the match in the dying moments of the second quarter.

The third quarter ended without any change in the scoreline while the fourth and last quarter was played on electrifying pace, as Noor was a constant threat, but she was well marked by three players of Pak Board. It was Neelum who rose up to the occasion and scored the winning goal. The things were looking highly grim for Pak Board, who despite playing superbly were almost at the brink, but Kinza broke Whites hearts and leveled the match in the last seconds of the match, as soon as she scored a goal, the umpire blew the whistle to signal the end of normal time.

Pak Board tails were up and it was Pak Board who took first shootout. Despite missing a plenty, Pak Board came out eventual winners, as Punjab Whites missed two shootouts and it was Noor, who became from hero to zero, after missing the shootout.

In the earlier semi-final, Punjab Colours easily beat Islamabad 8-1, with Rismha and Saba scoring three goals each, while Kinza Azam and Tabinda Safdar chipping in with one goal apiece. Khansa scored the consolation goal for the losers.

The final will be played today (Saturday) here at 3pm. Popular Group of Industries chairman Imam Ud Din Shokeen will grace the occasion as chief guest.

Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) president Brig (R) Khalid Sajjad Khokhar, along with his Mrs., secretary Shahbaz Senior, women wing secretary Tanzeela Aamir Cheema and others were also present on the occasion.

Hockey sticks were distributed among all the participating teams by the federation. Talking to The Nation, Brig Sajjad said: “Female hockey is our top most priority and we will not only enhance the annual grant of the women wing but also try to conduct maximum national female championships at both senior and junior levels. We are raising female hockey from the ashes and it will take some time before females will also get all the benefits like male players.”

He lauded Tanzeela Aamir and her team for conducting such a wonderful event and apologized for mismanagement and promise not to repeat such things in future. “We are trying our level best to take Pakistan hockey back to old glory days. We have chalked out vision 2020 plan and by the due course of time, we will achieve all the set goals.”

Rubbishing claims that the South Asian Games gold medal winning coaches were fired, the PHF chief said that the matter of the fact they were very much in the frame and would be given future tasks soon. “We are working on different plans and they are bound to succeed.”