By Jonah Tan (18A01A) and Nicki Chan (18S03C)
On the 25th of May at Toa Payoh Sports Hall, Raffles Netball took home the championship trophy for the fourth year running after a thrilling match against Anglo-Chinese Junior College (ACJC).
From the very start, the match was foreseeably a clash of the titans, as both RI and ACJC had nabbed impressive victories over Hwa Chong Institution and River Valley High School respectively in the semi-finals.
Before the match began, a flurry of drills was executed with jaw-dropping precision by both teams on separate halves of the court. The spectators’ excitement was palpable from their busy chatter and stray cheers, and the soundtracks pounding through the speakers set the stage for the showdown to come.
Shortly after the first quarter commenced, the first two goals of the afternoon were scored by the AC team, and deafening cheers promptly rang out from the opposite side of the court. Clearly, the RI team was up against strong competition, as their opponents had proved their skill and had a strong support base as well.
Despite this setback, the RI team was unfazed. They remained calm as they warmed up to AC’s playing strategies. This paid off shortly after, and the RI supporters bellowed in victory as our team’s first goal was scored by Goal Shooter Amandeep Kaur (18S03M).
Living up to their reputation, the AC team returned with two more goals shortly afterwards, but the RI team swiftly responded with two goals of their own. Unfortunate stumbles by AC, however, gave RI the opening to press ahead and retain their advantage over the course of the game. Thus the first quarter ended with a confident score of 13-8 to RI.
The tension in the arena was noticeably higher from the moment the 2nd quarter started. Both RI and AC were met with stronger attempts at interception from the opposing team. However, long, smooth passes by RI ensured little room for interception. Despite AC initially scoring every alternate goal, Amandeep and Goal Attack Valerie Shao (17S06J) managed to score 4 consecutive goals with the help of their team members.
Determined to catch up with RI, the AC team played even harder. Despite putting in a strong showing, AC were unable to compensate for their loss in the first quarter. RI managed to widen their lead, ending the quarter with a final score of 25-16.
Despite RI’s comfortable lead over AC, the third quarter easily proved to be the most challenging for our team. Short and accurate passes by AC saw them open the third quarter with three consecutive goals, narrowing the point gap and placing immense pressure on the RI team as fatigue began to set in.
The RI team, however, remained cool and clear-headed amidst the aggressive advance by AC, demonstrating fluid passes across the length of the court and practised shots into the net. Their consistency and perseverance paid off, ending the third quarter with a hard fought, cautiously optimistic lead of 38-25.
The final quarter saw a markedly heated atmosphere, with AC under pressure to close the point gap before the game drew to a close, and RI to maintain their lead. Despite blazing towards the finish line with four successive goals by RI, our team showed no sign of lowering their guard, continually moving to block AC’s repeated attempts at scoring.
Even as the clock ticked to a close and the outcome seemed to be all but certain, ACJC moved to attempt goal after goal, keeping the RI team on their toes and the audience on their edge of their seats.
The final whistle saw the hall burst into cheers, as a long and grueling match came to an end with a final score of 55-32. The numbers, however, fail to do justice to the incredible resilience and competence of both teams, which kept us guessing till the very end.
Despite having defended their title for the fourth year running, the journey has not been easy for Netball. As captain Angelina Lim (17S01D) described, “trainings gradually became more intensive and ‘specialised’ [with regards to each player]… We focused on sticking tight together as a team and continuously gave support to each other.” The individual determination and resilience of the players as well as their strong team spirit has evidently paid off.
Raffles Press would like to congratulate Raffles Netball on their victory, and wishes the team the best in many more years to come.
List of players:
Goal Shooter: Amandeep Kaur (18S03M)
Goal Attack: Valerie Shao (17S06J)
Wing Attack: Laura Low (18S06R)
Centre: Angelina Lim (17A01D)
Wing Defence: KS Farhana (17S06Q)
Goal Defence: Alëna Rae Ong (18S06B)
Jane Yu (17S06A) – first quarter
Jamie Lim (18S06P) – 2nd to 4th quarter"Netball Scores a Winning Streak",