Holders Western Railway began the defence of their title in splendid fashion, whipping Punjab State Electricity Board, Patiala, 6-1, to enter the quarter-finals in the 44th Bombay Gold Cup Hockey Tournament on Thursday.
Western, seeded straight into the pre-quarters, started sluggishly and were down by a sixth minute goal, scored by Kuljit Singh, but pulled up their socks to register an impressive victory.
The local team drew level four minutes before the end of the first half, when forward K Chandrakesh found the target, and then rode roughshod over PSEB in the second session.
Amarjeet Singh (2) and Hardeep Singh found the target off penalty-corners between the 40th and 52nd minutes to put Western 4-1 up. Shakthi Thakur (59th minute) and Chandrakesh (64th) completed the rout with field goals.
Western Railway thus advanced to a quarter-final meeting with the winners of tomorrow's pre-quarter-final tie between Sikh Regiment (Ramgarh) and Karnataka XI.
In another pre-quarter-final tie, Bhopal XI pipped Chandigarh XI 7-4 via the tie-breaker after the teams were locked 2-2 at full-time.
Bhopal trailed 0-1 at half-time.
In an all-Mumbai clash to gain entry into the last eight, impressive debutants Hockey Bandra lost 1-3 to Bharat Petroleum after trailing 0-2 at half-time.
The oilmen were 3-0 up, with strikes from Len Aiyappa (1st and 3rd goals), through penalty-corners, and Prabhdeep Singh (2nd goal) by the 30th minute before the losers got their consolation goal in the 66th minute through Ravi Pal.