By Choi Hoe Chang (18S07A), Ianni Tan (18S03C), Lynn Hong (18A13A), Ryan Wee (18A01A), and Soh Ying Qi (18A01C)
The Kallang Squash and Tennis Centre was bubbling with excitement on the 3rd and 4th of May – after all, the players from Raffles Squash were battling it out in the ‘A’ Division championship finals. The sweltering heat failed to distract the players, and did nothing to deter supporters from showing up. After rounds of fast-paced, grueling matches and supporters cheering themselves hoarse, it was evident that the efforts had paid off.
Our Boys’ team had been training hard for their championship match against Hwa Chong Institution (HCI), pushing themselves beyond their limits. As the captain Bryan Tan (17S03M) commented, “We’ve been training 3 times a week, and for 2-3 hours each time…we’ve had some players go through injuries and take time to recover. But we’re all well today.”
First up was Tan Hua Wang (18S03K). It was inarguable that he dominated this game, as he easily conquered three consecutive sets while his opponent struggled to keep up.
Up next was Clement Hung (18S06L). Much like his teammate, he had no trouble in maintaining a huge lead against his opponent throughout the game. He concluded the match quickly by winning three consecutive sets.
Our third player was Aaron Liang (18S06O). Aaron struggled a little in the first set, giving way to his HCI counterpart to win the first set with a remarkable lead. He eventually picked up his pace as he seized 2nd and 3rd sets, although the competition showed much resilience by narrowing the gap in the scoreboard. The fourth game was perhaps the most important moment in the whole match, as Aaron’s victory would have guaranteed victory not just for his own game, but for the team overall as well. However, HCI bounced back from his slump as he broke Aaron’s streak, extending the game into the 5th set. With the score of 2-2 for both players, Aaron pulled through and secured the win in the end, granting RI the championship. The epic fight concluded with passionate outpours from the audience and, undeniably, clear exhaustion of both players. We could not help but applaud as the two players supported each other while walking out of the court together.
At this point in time, our boys had already secured the championship. Nevertheless, the last two games delivered a brilliant performance and excellent sportsmanship from both sides, with all remaining players striving to give their best shot at the game.
Our fourth player, Anders Ong (18S03E) delivered yet another three consecutive wins. He showed a consistent performance in the first two sets, and seized his game despite a strong comeback from the Hwa Chong player in the third.
Last but not least was our fifth player on the roster, Tan Ijoe (17S06N). The only Year 6 player on the team, he played well against his counterpart. Ijoe’s dominance in the court was indicated by his 10-points streak in his first set and then a 8-points streak in the second.
Overall, after much hard work and round after round of intense play, our boys have done us proud by bringing home the national championship title, with a clean score of 5-0. To quote captain Bryan Tan (17S03M) in the post-game interview “(It was a) very very close fight, but we’re proud that we pulled through”.
The A Division girls’ team fought to defend their championship title against strong rival Anglo-Chinese Junior College (ACJC). From the outset the competition, was expected to be very close, given the high skill levels of both teams.
First on the court was Nicole Mak (17S03H). While she put up a brave fight, it was not to be; ACJC won three consecutive sets by scoring 11-4 for each, winning the five-set match.
Taking back the momentum for RI was Alyssa Cheong (18A01E), who trounced the competition in the first two sets (11-2, 11-5), holding on in the third set to push spectators to the edge of their seats before finally emerging triumphant 13-11 to take the match.
With one match won on each side, Bernyce Tay (18S03N) extended RI’s streak by defeating her ACJC counterpart in three consecutive sets (11-6, 11-9, 11-6). The play was intense, gripping the audience as they lunged for every shot and rallied long and hard.
Subsequently, ACJC evened the score in their match against RI’s Elena Khoo (17S03D), resulting in a very close second set (12-10, advantage to ACJC) and two other wins against RI (11-4, 11-7).
With only one match left to determine the champion of this year’s finals, all eyes were on the last match. In the first set, Christabelle Lim Wen Sing (18A03A) bested her opponent 11-9, in a tense fight where both players were neck and neck throughout. But ACJC recovered well, and rallied to take the second set 12-10. At this point, the audience was frozen in suspense by enthralling rallies, as Christabelle persisted tenaciously to fight for every last point. Ultimately, however, the next two sets (11-6, 11-6) went to ACJC.
The team pushed themselves to their limits, giving their best effort in an awe-inspiringly intense final.
Both teams achieved commendable results against their opponents, and it was heartwarming to see teachers and fellow Rafflesians supporting them from outside the courts. Raffles Press would like to congratulate both squash teams on finals well fought, and wish them all the best for the seasons to come.
|RI player||RI score||HCI score||Match goes to|
|Tan Hua Wang||11||3||RI|
|RI player||RI score||ACJC score||Match goes to|