By Nicole Chan (19S05A) and Shervon Lee (19S06A)
Photographs courtesy of Dionne Pok (19S06P) of the Raffles Photographic Society
While students were fighting the urge to fall asleep in lectures on the morning of 17 May, Raffles Cricket was fighting a very different battle at Ceylon Sports Club. Up against long-term rivals from Anglo Chinese School (Independent), the team was focused and ready for the tough game ahead. With the gold sitting on the line, both teams had no room for mistakes or distractions. ACS(I) was set to bat first, and Raffles to bowl and field.
Cricket is a game of patience and perseverance, albeit rather on the slow side. Each team will bat and field once, taking turns with the order predetermined. In one half of the game, there will be 20 overs, each ‘over’ being 6 bowls. The batting team will have 2 batsmen on the field at one time, against 7 fielders from the opposing team. The first half of the game sees one team trying to get as many ‘runs’ as they can, the highest being a six (where the ball flies spectacularly over the boundary), while the second half has the opposing chasing down the number the first team set.
With ACS(I) batting first, the team knew they had to restrict the number of runs that ACS(I) could score. Nerves were running high, and it showed in Raffles’ fielding. With every run ACS(I) got, urgency rose in the team. Despite not understanding the rules of the sport initially, the supporters on the sidelines continued to cheer loudly, hoping to spur the players on. ACS(I) eventually finished the first half of the game with 139 runs, a high score that Raffles was determined to catch up to.
Despite the large gap, our players were not discouraged. “We have a good batting team,” they proclaimed with confidence. Indeed, the batting team, Mustafa (#17) and Hriday (#18), got off to a slow but steady start. Their stances did not falter as they hit one ball after another. As Raffles wrenched run after run from ACS(I)’s hands, the opponents started to lose their nerve.
The game was not hindered even when Hriday (#18) had to be switched out, and Rahman (#21) was up. With what was arguably the best two batsmen in the team on the field, they were pumped and ready to bag the win. Both batsmen had a practiced grace and a collected demeanour, and it paid off as the ball was repeatedly hit towards the boundary. Fielders scrambled to grab a hold of the elusive red ball, while supporters cheered wildly. Raffles was going strong, with the number of runs steadily increasing.
Of course, it wasn’t a smooth-sailing string of overs: 139 runs was still a high number they had to catch up to. Whilst captain Mustafa (#17) was incredibly solid and steady, Rahman (#21) hit sixes and fours effortlessly. Each six and four drew excited gasps from the sidelines, with the cheer ‘Raffles Dynamite’ echoing throughout the field.
However, as the coach shouted, “there are good overs and bad overs”. Their confidence wavered when ACS(I) scored a wicket in the 15th over, causing Rahman (#21) to have to leave the field. Divya (#1) held up in the high pressure situation, keeping his cool and even scoring 2 fours back to back.
When the batsmen were down to their final run before victory, the team excitedly gathered at the edge of the boundary, ready to run in to celebrate. The last run had the entire team sprinting towards the two batsmen, with their arms over each others shoulders. For the first time in 6 years, victory was theirs.
Whilst Cricket may not be a popular or well-known sport, it was clear to all the supporters that the team had done themselves proud. Having always fallen short of the Gold by just that little bit for the past 5 years, victory was especially sweet for Raffles Cricket. In captain Mustafa’s words, “It feels good knowing [that] we have what it takes to beat them, and I think that’s what made the victory all the more sweeter, as history was against us.”
Perseverance through not only the game itself, but through the last 5 years, had finally brought them to the gold. For the J2s, it was surely an impressive victory for their last season in Raffles. Post-game had the team singing along to songs on the bus as they headed back to school, relishing the joy of their win. Indeed, it was a game well played, and a gold rightfully earned by Raffles Cricket.
ACS(I): 138/3 in 20 overs (Anirudh – 39)
RI: 139/2 in 18.1 overs (Mustafa – 56)
*Scorecard format: [School]: [Runs]/[Wickets], (Top batsmen – runs scored)
Mustafa Anis Hussain, 18SO6Q (#17)
Ganesh Mishra, 19SO3G (#58)
Anandaselvan Karthik Mohan, 18SO6Q (#10)
Vijayanandan Shankaranand, 19S06E (#25)
Abdul Rahman Bhadelia, 18S06R (#21)
Hari Krishnan Suresh, 19S06L (#4)
Hriday Ketan Mistry, 19SO3N (#18)
Lokeshh Sampath, 19S06F (#8)
Taran Singh Bhogal, 18S06O (#6)
Nagoor Kani Mohammed Faiz, 19S03L (#3)
Prittam Ravi, 18S06J (#23)
Patel Dhairya Nayanbhai, 19S06S (#45)
Vaishob Anand, 18SO6H (#7)
Shah Divya Vipulkumar, 19S06K (#1)