LAHORE -  PIA, Police and Army registered victories in the 63rd Zaitoon National Hockey Championships premier league while eight teams made their way to the super league here at the National Hockey Stadium on Tuesday.

In the first match of the day, although Railways faced 1-2 defeat at the hand of PIA, yet it was sufficient to carry them into super league. Defending champions PIA were already through to the super league but for the young Railways side, they had to avoid a defeat by two goals.

In the first quarter, Railways' skipper Usman had the best chance of the period but he couldn't strike properly. Railways tight marking of the opponents' forwards was quite effective. PIA upped the tempo in the second quarter. In the 18th minute, Irfan sent a measured through ball into the circle. Haseem Khan ran into the space and flicked the ball on the run to break the ice.

The second half hour of the match began with the youngsters of Railways having the better of the exchanges and they were rewarded with the equaliser in the 37th minute. A fine right side move yielded ball to Hamza Waheed, whose top of the circle flat hit found the corner of the board. However, the airmen were again in the front after only four minutes. A combined sortie from the right side was put in by Awaisur Rahman standing close to the goal.

Sharjeel's hat-trick helped Police defeat Port Qasim Authority by 3-2. The cops needed a win while for the PQA, a draw would see them into the super league. PQA dominated the first quarter as Hanif Shahzad scored with a fine grounder in the 13th minute via their fourth penalty corner.

Police appeared a different side in the second quarter which saw an even battle. Chances and penalty corners were created by both the sides. It was 1-1 in the 20th minute when police scored off a penalty corner. After receiving the ball on the top of the circle, the recipient gave a small pass to Sharjeel, who measured hit went into the right corner of the board.

In the third quarter, Police gained the lead. A swift move in the 40th minute, involving four men, was finished by Sharjeel. He had his second goal via a good shot from the right side of the circle. Within two minutes, PQA made it 2-2, again through a penalty corner goal and again through Hanif Shahzad.

Tense battle was witnessed in the last quarter. PQA applied a lot of pressure in the earlier part. Police bounced back as first Bilal Mahmood missed a sitter and then in the 56th minute, Sharjeel's goal on a rebound was disallowed on a review. Despite the disappointment, Police persisted for the much needed goal. And with just 20 seconds left, they were awarded a penalty stroke when their striker, about to make an attempt, was felled by the PQA custodian. Sharjeel with a high flick into the left corner, completed his individual hat-trick and sent the police squad into celebration.

In the last match of the premier league, Army outclassed HEC 3-0. HEC needed a two-goal win over Army to qualify for the super league, but they failed to do so. The first 15 minutes saw a fast paced pole-to-pole spectacle. Both the goalkeepers were tested but it remained 0-0. Army marshaled the field and twice, their raids fetched goals. In the 23rd minute, a well-coordinated move was capped by Abbas. A minute before the half time whistle, skipper Jabbar sent a high ball coming from left side attack into the cage, with his stick held in the air. With two goals lead, Army were in quite a safe situation.

It was heartening to see the HEC rallying well in the third quarter. They were better of the two sides and had a couple of very good chances and a goal disallowed. In the last quarter, soldiers' fitness enabled to regain the upper hand. Army mainly controlled the proceedings and added another goal through Awais' brilliant individual effort. He sprinted from the 23 metre line and on entering the circle, thundered the board with a rasping shot.