By Deborah Lee (17A01D)
Photographs by Raffles Netball and Angela Sun (17S06M) of Raffles Photographic Society
Despite being in the far West of Singapore, Jurong East Sports Hall was alive with excitement and packed with students and supporters alike eager to watch the A Division Netball Finals on 26th May 2016. The RI team was up against formidable opponent Hwa Chong Institution (HCI), and the anticipation among the spectators was palpable even before the game started, with both sides of the hall proudly displaying their school banners in a show of immeasurable pride and support.
The banners of Hwa Chong and Raffles that lined the sides of the hall
The RI team started off strong right from the beginning with accurate passes and stunning agility allowing them to put away a goal in the mere first 20 seconds of the game, courtesy of Goal Shooter (GS) Isabelle Belanger (16A03A). The Goal Attack (GA), Valerie Shao (17S06J), was not left out of the action either, neatly scoring 30 seconds after the first goal, netting RI two points within the first minute.
GS Isabelle Belanger (16A03A) scores a goal.
It was obvious to the spectators that the match would be an exhilarating one, with players from both schools displaying extremely impressive prowess and teamwork, making it tough to predict who would emerge champions solely from the first quarter. HCI countered RI’s skill with equally formidable progress, catching up with them over the course of the 15-minutes and ended the first quarter with a close scoreline of 16-12, RI narrowly leading the game.
In the subsequent second and third quarters, RI continued the intense pace of the game and steadily put away goals, establishing a comfortable lead of 48-36 by the end of the third quarter. The rapid passes between the players left spectators in awe as the RI players effortlessly snatched the ball out of the air and passed it on confidently to their teammates in the blink of an eye without pause. Centre (C) Angelina Lim (17A01D) was clearly a force to be reckoned with, displaying astounding stamina and swiftness as she darted around tirelessly. Her powerful throws were often received skilfully by Wing Attack (WA) K.S. Farhana (17S06Q), making the pair of them an intimidating presence on court and allowing the RI team to keep up an impressive pace of attack.
Centre Angelina Lim (17A01D) and Wing Attack K.S. Farhana (17S06Q) in action
By the 4th quarter, RI was leading by a considerably safe margin, yet they never let their guard down for a single moment and instead chose to keep up their fast-paced manoeuvres and confident passing. Goal after goal and point after point, the clock slowly counted down to the end of the most crucial final 15 minutes, and as the time hit zero, all eyes on the hall were on GS Isabelle Belanger (16A03A) as she made the final shot of the game. Just like many of her previous goals, the ball fell neatly into the net and the hall erupted in cheers as RI’s triumphant victory was sealed 68-40. The resounding roar that was echoed both on and off court filled the heart of every Rafflesian present with ineffable pride and the tumultuous applause that followed as the team received their trophy from the Guest of Honor, Mr Chan Poh Meng, pulsated with every bit of admiration for the players.
The team with their Coach and Teachers.
This victory was a well-earned one for Raffles Netball, with their countless dedicated training sessions clearly manifesting in the passion and unfaltering teamwork that was exhibited on court. In the words of Captain Eyu Yan Yan (16S06F), “Going into the Finals, we were determined to play our best game as a team, for our coaches, teachers and seniors who have done so much for us in the past few months, as well as for the entire team and for ourselves. I’m very proud of my team for doing just that today – for playing with composure, drive, fighting spirit and tenacity. Though our season comes to an end today, these 60 minutes will live on in our memories for a long time to come. We’re very thankful for all the support we’ve received at every step of this journey.”
List of Players:
GS- Isabelle Belanger 16A03A
GA- Valerie Shao 17S06J
WA- K.S. Farhana 17S06Q
C- Angelina Lim 17A01D
WD- Eyu Yan Yan 16S03F
GD- Ayshath Zaseela 16S06C
GK- Jane Yu 17S06A (1st Quarter)
GK- Nadia Quek 16A03A (2nd-4th Quarters)