By Jonathan Tan (13AO1C) and Zara Nicole Toh (13AO1B)
The handball event was destined to be the centrepiece of Day 2, with its prime location at the netball court, attracting even more onlookers than Day 1’s Soccer event. The courts were surrounded on all sides by supporters, comprising reserves, house representatives and ordinary students – even ushers for PTM who were dressed in formal attire crowded around, savouring the action. People who wanted to avoid the crowd planted themselves on the second floor to get a bird’s eye view.
The atmosphere was perfect. Let the games begin.
The round robin matches were held in 2 courts. Gameplay was at such high intensity that teams required constant substitution of players. The match between MR and BW was one of significant tension. As the players battled for a place in the final against HH, the larger battle between the 2 houses at the top of overall house standings loomed over. Breathtaking end-to-end play ensued, but MR eventually clung on to win BW, leaving BW to play a 2nd/3rd placing match against HH.
The HH-BW match was a high octane, emotionally charged affair with a series of clashes between both sets of players, with two almost coming to blows after a particularly bruising encounter. In the end, HH narrowly scraped past BW to book a place in the final.
MR, having been dominant in the round robin matches, were raring to go and exuded confidence as they immediately took to the court for warm-ups, even practicing some impressive set plays. HH, on the other hand, only entered the court just before the match started, presumably to get as much rest as possible.
Physicality from the previous match seemed to have spilled over into the final as it started off with some skirmishes, but MR quickly seized the initiative: House captain Wei Hing picked up a loose ball just outside the D and evaded HH defender Chandra to score the first goal of the game. 1-0 to MR.
HH players were visibly disappointed. To their credit, they regrouped and launched waves of attacks on MR for a sustained period, but MR’s resolute defence by forming a “wall” of players to tighten the centre and drive the HH players to the flanks proved a worthy obstacle.
MR also had goalkeeper Shaun Sia to thank for making some crucial saves to keep HH at bay. Throughout the match, he was an impenetrable barrier and entertained both his teammates and the crowd with his animated hand gestures and rallying cries to his teammates.
MR’s Nathaniel went on to score a goal that was disallowed (he was judged to have stepped into the D) but MR was not to be denied. A crosscourt pass found Abhiraj, who summoned his cricket experience to place an inch-perfect shot into the corner, just out of the reach of HH’s Chandra.
If HH’s morale had lifted after the first goal, this second goal dealt a tough blow to the team. Eventually, the game fizzled out to an eventual 2-0 victory for MR to bring their 1st place finishes in IHC to a total of 4 after the end of Day 2.
Other events contested on Day 2 include Judo, held at the RI Gymnasium, and Canoeing’s Pull and Build, held near the cage. Fortunately for BW, both events secured them precious 1st place finishes. Table Tennis was also played at the MPH and the first of three sessions of minigames also kicked off at the Hodge Lodge.
Overall Summary of Day 2 Results:
Photos by Claudia Koh, Sim Xiang Rong, Deng Jia and Zhi Xuan (Raffles Photographic Society)