RAWALPINDI - Thanks to a superb hat-trick by Hammad Dar and a sensational performance by national team skipper Olympian M Imran, Army Seniors outplayed Punjab 6-3 in the first encounter of the day in the First Chief of the Army Staff Challenge Hockey Cup 2015 played here at Army Hockey Stadium Saturday.

In the other matches Navy beat Army Juniors 3-1 and Police completely outplayed PAF 3-1. The event is a joint venture of Pakistan Hockey Federation and Army Sports Directorate. PHF Secretary Rana Mujahid, PHF chief selector Olympian Islahuddin Siddiqui other high-profile dignitaries and former hockey greats were also present on the occasion.

The first match between Army and Punjab belonged to national team captain Olympian Imran who remained instrumental in Army's victory. He scored first two goals on penalty corners in the second and 13th minutes and was the part of two beautiful moves that produced even number of goals. He was also rock solid in defence as he saved two certain goals at the edge of the post. Both teams were almost at par in the middle. However, Army excelled in experience, temperament which enabled them to complete excellent finishing. Hammad also played a vital role in Army's victory making the second hat-trick of the tournament. He scored goals in the 23rd, 40th and 60th minutes, while Abdul Jabbar scored in the 53rd minute.

A youthful Punjab team however fought hard and launched some excellent moves as well but they lacked in experience, which cost them dearly. Sohail Anjam fought lone battle for the losers and scored a superb hat-trick, but it was too little for Punjab as they go down fighting. Sohail scored his hat-trick through field goals in the 16th, 42nd and 53rd minutes respectively. Haroon and Sohail supervised the match.

In the second match of the day Navy, led by Olympian Rashid Mehmood, had to dig deep to earn victory against a very determined Army's B team, the only junior team of the tournament. Both teams demonstrated aggression in their game and they also exhibited dribbling, dodging and interception brilliantly. The juniors, however, faltered in their finishing. Army goalkeeper M Altaf again showed immense resolute to save at least two strong hits on the penalty corners.

Ali Sher scored the first goal from Navy in the 13th minute. It was Asad Aziz who played brilliantly throughout the match and played a vital role in his team's victory. He not only successfully converted two penalty corners in the 17th and 52nd minutes but also saved a certain goal standing near the post. Army's M Haseeb scored the consolation goal. Rana Sajid and Sohail supervised the match.

The third and last match of the day was played between Police and PAF, which was full of thrill during which both teams demonstrated aggressive moves against each other. It was PAF who dominated the first two quarters of the match, but it was their poor finishing in front of the goal, which prevented them from scoring early and costs them dearly at the end as against the run of play, it was Police who took the lead in the 30th minute through Atif Baig who neatly netted the ball on a cross from Ayub. PAF got a life line in the 45th minute, when despite being almost down and out, Mushtaq managed to square things as he scored from a penalty corner but their joy was very short lived, as Ayub successfully converted a penalty corner in the 46th minute to give Police a well-deserving lead. The score line was completed in the 50th minute, when Hafiz Rizwan scored a field goal. Police could have easily scored at least half a dozen goals had their conversion was not poor in front of the goal as forwards missed some easy chances. Kamran Shareef and Kamran MP supervised the match.

A total of three matches will be played today Sunday). In the first match, PIA take on Police at 10:00am, in the second match SSGC face Navy challenge at 12:00pm and in the third and last encounter of the day Army Juniors meet stiff NBP challenge at 2:00pm.