Autobiography of Hockey Wizard Dhyan Chand
Published by Sport & Pastime, Chennai, 1952
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First National Champions
|We received a great ovation on the field immediately
after the final was over, and were literally mobbed. Streams of callers
kept us busy till the late hours of the evening.
I was amazed at the way the people of Kolkata gave us compliments and felicitations after our triumph. Rajputana, who were sporting losers, were the first to congratulate us, and we appreciated it very much. It was a wonderful day.
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n the evening of February 15, 1928, immediately after our replayed semi-final with Punjab, we all rushed back to the camp, had early dinner, and retired to bed. We were determined to do our best in the final the next day. But sleep completely deserted most of us.
The senior members of our team, particularly Habul Mukherjee, looked worried and distressed, and were busy discussing plans and strategies for our team to outwit the Rajputana team. I did not bother much. I had a very good knack of going to sleep quickly, possibly because I am an Army man where we have to regulate even our sleeping hours.
On the 16th morning, till the hour scheduled for the match, we did not go out and rested as much as we could. Our manager, Dr. A. C. Chatterjee, was all excited, talking to each and everyone of us.
The day of the final was the third consecutive day we were called upon to play. A very large crowd turned out to see the final, and the CFC ground, if my memory serves me right, was almost full. We took the field with robust enthusiasm, and we knew that our style of play would get the better of Rajputana's indirect method of hockey. Here again, I can do no better than quote from The Statesman of Kolkata:
"The United Provinces were the most impressive side of the five teams which have taken part in the tournament, and they fully deserved their success. UP won the final virtually in the first seven minutes when they scored two goals.
The UP forward line moved with precision and smoothness in all the matches, and that played a very big part in their success in the tournament. Dhyan Chand as the centre-forward, and Marthins, their inside-right, were particularly happy in their understanding of each other. Dhyan Chand attracted much attention by his clever stickwork. His penetrating runs and judicious passes seemed to assure for him a position in the team that is to take part in the Olympic Games.
Quite early in the game, it became evident that Dhyan Chand was again at his best. In combination with Marthins he took the ball away to the right and Marthins did well to give him a good pass. Quick as lightning, Dhyan Chand shot a goal. The ball struck one of the defenders' stick and went into the net, giving goalkeeper Collie no chance. A goal within 3 minutes of the start was more than what the most optimistic of the UP supporters could expect. At the interval, UP led by three goals to nil.
On their part, Rajputana put every ounce of their efforts to score. The UP goal had more than one narrow escape, but they were deserving winners of a fine exhibition match. UP 3 - Rajputana 1."
February 16, 1928 turned out to be a memorable day as on this date we created history for our Province by winning the national hockey title, the first winners of this event. The UP team on the day of the final was:
Goalkeeper: P. C. Bannerjee
Backs: Ghazanfar Ali and Hammond
Half-Backs: Gurcharan Lal, Grave-Smith and Goodsir-Cullen
Forwards: Manek Chand, Marthins, Dhyan Chand, N. N. 'Habul' Mukherjee and Seaman
We received a great ovation on the field immediately after the final was over, and were literally mobbed. Streams of callers kept us busy till the late hours of the evening, congratulating us on our triumph. I was struck and amazed at the way the people of Kolkata gave us compliments and felicitations after our triumph. Rajputana, who were sporting losers, were the first to congratulate us, and we appreciated it very much. It was a wonderful day.
Our manager, Dr. A. C. Chatterjee, went mad with excitement. He was very happy and all smiles. He came over to me and patted me affectionately. Here I must pay tribute to the care and love bestowed on us by Dr. Chatterjee during our stay for the tournament. He was particularly kind to me, and he realised from the very start that being a youngster and a complete stranger to civilian company, he owed a special responsibility to me. I am grateful to him for all his kindness.
To my teammates also, I render my grateful thanks for the camaraderie they displayed. We had a very happy time together. UP won the national title not so much due to the individual brilliance of any particular player, but to the excellent teamwork, and if I may be permitted to add, the stern but welcome chastising we received at the hands of our veteran colleague, Habul Mukherjee. I will never forget how Habul used to rebuke and scold us even on the field. None of us took any offence. Habul was entitled to pull us up whenever we erred.
Dhyan Chand's Team Win Inaugural National Hockey Championship