Blood, Sweat, Tears: Ultimate Frisbee Finals 2017

By Angus Yip (18A01A) and Elizabeth Leong (18S06G)

Photos by Ong Tsien Jin (18S03I)

Despite the heat and the absence of proper seating at Farrer Park Fields, throngs of enthusiastic supporters gathered to watch the 2017 Inter-JC Ultimate Frisbee competition, held over the weekend of 27 and 28 May. Many alumni of the CCA also came down to support their juniors. Having given their all in an intense weekend of competitions, RI had won the match against St Andrew’s Junior College (SAJC) in the semifinals to secure a spot in the finals, against Pioneer Junior College (PJC).

The muddy ground and exhaustion from previous matches did not dampen the spirit of our Ultimate players, who were cheerfully gathered under a small blue tent set up for the Raffles delegation. “Everyone [in this CCA] really levelled up and evolved, and it is amazing to finally fight for Raffles in the finals!” said Zenn Wong (#7) prior to the match.

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Pre-match huddle

The game started with a pull (throwing of the frisbee) made by PJC. Possession of the disc alternated between the two teams a few times before Parathan Arasu (#10) managed to regain possession. Unfortunately, the Raffles team missed the chance to score a goal as the disc dropped onto the field before it could be caught. Around the 8-minute mark, PJC scored the game’s first goal.

PJC made a pull again, which was deftly caught by Naomi Poh (#18). This time, after a short minute or so of passing, Raffles succeeded in scoring an impressive goal – the already-tall Ho Wen Zhong (#97) had to jump high to catch the frisbee in the scoring zone. The crowd roared, and the Ultimate CCA members ran onto the field with messages of support for the players.

PJC scored another point at the 13-minute mark, but their subsequent pull was out-of-bounds. Jamie Lee (#34) gained possession of the frisbee and managed to pass it to Jessica Wong (#15) despite being heavily marked. This enabled further passes by Joon Hui Xuan (#3), Jenny Zhang (#4) and Jamie, resulting in the latter scoring another goal for Raffles. This evened out the score, with two points per team.

Despite good attempts at marking by Raffles, PJC managed to pull off some clever passes. At one point, PJC was trapped in Raffles’s scoring zone. However, the opposing team managed a sudden, smooth pass out of the area, allowing PJC to score yet another goal at the 20-minute mark. At the 24-minute mark, PJC scored yet again after managing to intercept a pass by Raffles. This brought the score to 4-2, advantage to PJC.

Mere minutes later, however, Raffles managed to score a goal of their own. Nick Lee (#11) caught the pull made by PJC, before passing the Frisbee to Wen Zhong. He then passed it to William Zheng (#29), who successfully caught it in the end zone.

Things were looking slightly more hopeful, with PJC transferring possession of the disc to Raffles after failing to catch it. However, PJC eventually intercepted our players and scored yet again at the 34-minute mark.

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The match was an intense one, with players scrambling to gain possession of the frisbee at every turn.

Seeing the discouraged looks upon our athletes’ faces, alumni shouted encouragement from the sidelines: “It’s not over yet, keep your heads up!” Indeed, despite the grating discomfort of not having anywhere to sit, the rest of the Raffles crowd was equally enthusiastic in voicing their support for the players.

One parent remarked that she felt that the spectators were really “giving it their all” too. Often, the audience would get too close to the boundaries of the playing space in an effort to better view the game that they were all engrossed in.

The supporters continued watch as PJC attempted but failed to score another goal when the frisbee fell to the ground. Raffles gained possession of the disc once more, and there was a series of passes between Yan Yiqing (#21) and Nick. Unfortunately, one such pass was intercepted, leading PJC to score at the 44-minute mark. Another loss of possession on Raffles’ part saw PJC scoring yet again in the 50th minute, bringing the score to 7-3.

Although technically there was a mere ten minutes left, this marked half-time for the game as half-time is determined by the first team to score 7 points. The situation looked grim for the Rafflesians, some of whom were holding back tears. Still, the team huddled together spiritedly, never blaming individual players for whatever mishaps that had occurred on the field. Clearly, they were not going to go down without a fight.

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Half-time team huddle

Even with so little time left in the game, Raffles continued with the same intensity they displayed at the start of the game. James Lee (#9) managed to score in the fifth-last minute,  prompting cheers from the crowd and the team alike (“Raf-FLES! Raf-FLES!”) This brought the score to 7-4.

In the final few minutes, the intensity of the match ramped up even more, with possession of the disc changing rapidly. Yiqing jumped to intercept the frisbee, though the opposing team regained possession of it shortly after. Even so, PJC accidentally dropped the disc, with Zenn falling to the ground to retrieve it. After a couple of passes between the Rafflesians, a dispute resulted in PJC regaining possession of the frisbee. Despite Yong Cheng Hoa (#23) taking a fall in an attempt to intercept, PJC managed to score a goal in the very last minute of play.

The match was over, with 4 points by the Rafflesians against PJC’s 8.

After a few long seconds of disappointed shock, the many members of Raffles Ultimate frisbee huddled together on the field, displaying solidarity and unity amidst the sadness they felt over the result. Many supporters were moved by the team’s behaviour. Said spectator Keng Teng (17S03C), “during this hardest hour, their sense of family and belonging to the CCA and the sport they love so much really shines through everything”.

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Post-match support and encouragement

The team had some time to cool off before the awards ceremony, which was held on the same muddy ground, metres ahead of where the final match was played. Hui Xuan was announced as the winner of the Most Valuable Player (Finals) award, much to the delight of the CCA. After the individual awards and second-runners-up medals had been presented, the team accepted their medals and posed for photographs. Despite the exhaustion of a weekend’s worth of hard work, they continued to smile.

Team captain Leo (#1) said of the tournament and final match, “Our team really fought very hard. One teammate was recently hospitalised for a kidney problem. He wasn’t able to join us. For every team huddle and team talk, we cheered his name at the end to remind us of who we were fighting for.

“I think we did him proud.”

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Despite the outcome of the final match, the Raffles Ultimate Frisbee team was still proud of how far they have come.

Indeed, the team showed immense camaraderie and sportsmanship throughout the competition, on top of demonstrating great skill in having successfully fought their way to the finals of the championships. The past 1.5 years of training have certainly brought the team very far, especially since many started with little knowledge of the sport.

Raffles Press congratulates the Ultimate team on their achievements, and wishes them all the best for their future endeavours.

Raffles Ultimate Frisbee Year 6 Batch

#1 Lynn Htet Aung Leo

#2 Khoo Weijian

#3 Joon Hui Xuan

#4 Jenny Zhang

#5 Christopher Tan

#7 Zenn Wong

#8 Brenda Tan

#9 James Lee

#10 Parathan s/o Arasu

#11 Nick Lee

#12 Leong Jann En

#13 Marc Tham

#14 Kok Ze Xuan

#15 Jessica Wong

#17 Jiang Xiuting

#18 Naomi Poh

#21 Yan Yiqing

#22 Shawn Chua

#23 Yong Cheng Hoa

#27 Angela Hsu

#28 Yang Yang Sasa

#29 William Zheng Tao

#33 Lee Siying

#34 Jamie Lee

#46 Teo Kai Jin

#89 Yasmin Ziqin

#97 Ho Wen Zhong

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