Pulling Ahead: Ultimate Inter-JCs Finals 2018

By Claire Zhai (19S03B) and Shervon Lee (19S06A)
Photographs by Jiang Jin Liang (19S06N) of the Raffles Photographic Society

In their 2018 CCA preview, featured on “Word of Mouth” earlier this year, Raffles Ultimate pledged to achieve their ultimate goal: attaining the championship title at the annual Inter-JCs. It seemed a hefty vow at the time. But on the 2nd and 3rd of June, it was finally fulfilled. Facing formidable opponents, Raffles Ultimate put up an immensely tough fight, and eventually emerged champions for this year’s season.

To most students, the Raffles Ultimate players might be more commonly known as the ones who are perpetually throwing frisbees in the amphitheatre, be it early in the morning, in between breaks, or late into the evening. It may seem unbelievable to some of us how anyone could be so dedicated to a sport, but this is testament to the hard work the team pours into the sport they love. As Captain Nicole Lee (18S06I) recalled, “There were many points where we were disillusioned and lost hope of the championship. But we still continued pushing ourselves, fighting our hardest for each other.”

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Raffles Ultimate players swamped in mud. 

This year’s Inter-JCs was held at the Grand Lawn at West Coast Park, but due to heavy rains the night prior to the competition, the field was transformed into a mass of mud and grass — definitely not the ideal conditions for a frisbee match. The frisbee players were not accustomed to the ankle-deep mud which hindered their movement and made it even more tiring to run. Nonetheless, they remained fast on their feet, their throws deft and precise.

At around 9am, the matches began, with mounting pressure on the teams to perform. However, all apprehension proved unnecessary as the J2 team’s unbeatable strength prevailed, with the team winning all 4 matches of the day, securing a clear victory of 11-4 against Eunoia Junior College, 13-1 against Anglo Chinese Junior College, 10-2 against Anderson Junior College, and lastly 13-0 against their juniors, the J1 Raffles Ultimate team. Saturday, while a good start to the 2-day long tournament, left the players drained as they prepared for a good night’s rest before another physically and emotionally demanding day.

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J1 Hadi (19S07C) reaching past the defender to make a pass. 

A light drizzle on a bright Sunday morning saw Ultimate players decked out in their respective school colours, already warming up and throwing discs. Raffles Ultimate, in green and bright yellow, split into two teams: the J1s and the J2s, both preparing to play their respective matches of the day.

The J1s were beginners with only 3 months of experience, and despite not earning a title, they reflected that playing against other teams, some of which had been together for over a year, was an eye-opening experience. Watching them walk off the field caked in mud and sweat, it was undeniable that they had given their all. Just as their seniors had bounced back stronger from the previous year’s Inter-JCs, it is with much anticipation that we witness how they will perform next year.

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J1s giving it their all in the game.

J2s, on the other hand, began the day with stretching and a set of drills on the muddy fields. It was a momentous day; the culmination of their efforts over the past year. Soon after, the quarterfinals and semifinals were well underway, and our J2s continued their winning streak, emerging 13-1 against Innova Junior College (quarter-finals), and 10-2 against St Andrew’s Junior College (semi-finals).

Afternoon came, and the finals steadily approached. Raffles Ultimate was set to compete against the Pioneer Junior College team. The two schools were no strangers, having been pitted against each other in the finals for three consecutive years, with the championship title in 2016 and 2017 going to Pioneer Junior College. Supporters and Ultimate players from different JCs surrounded the field, and with a pull, the hour-long arduous fight to champions began.

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J2s making a quick pass in the ankle-deep mud.

The first point, scored by PJC, drew cheers from the crowd, but Raffles Ultimate was not deterred. Despite constantly slipping and falling, they picked themselves up and continued running in the ankle-deep mud. Adjusting their throwing speeds and constantly adapting to the bad field conditions, they finally managed to equalise. Points continued to be won on both sides, every frisbee caught in the scoreline igniting shouts of both celebration and encouragement.

The mud seemed even more gruelling by the time the last point was in play. Raffles managed to pull ahead to 7-5, with PJC still putting in all they had to catch up. The last point eventually went to PJC, but it was not enough to bring them back to champions. A flurry of screams resounded in the fields as the Raffles Ultimate players from the sidelines jumped in joy and relief. It was truly an emotional moment for Raffles Ultimate, as they let their achievement sink in. For the first time in four years, Raffles Ultimate was once again crowned as champions.

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An emotional moment for the team after their victory.

Throughout the two days, Raffles Ultimate had no shortage of supporters. Despite the humid weather and muddy fields, friends and family of the team put away their complaints as they waded through the mud, coming together to cheer for the players. With the J2s finally attaining the title of champions amidst fierce competition, everyone congregated as a huge group in the field, overjoyed and filled with gratitude.

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Pride and joy at their hard-earned victory.

One of the most laudable aspects of Ultimate Frisbee is known as “Spirit of the Game”. In Ultimate, all players are responsible for administering and adhering to the rules – which means that players referee their own game. This is taken seriously by all players as Spirit of the Game is fundamental to the integrity of the sport. What shines through is the immense honesty involved and the commendable mutual respect that players have for each other. It is not just a game about triumph and glory (so often associated with Raffles Ultimate); it is also a game about teamwork and sportsmanship, about consideration and respect amidst intense competition, about persevering despite all the odds being pitted against you.

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Raffles Ultimate J2s throwing their coach in the air.

Captain Nicole Lee sums it up well: “There is no pain or joy like the one Raffles Ultimate can give.” With that, Raffles Press congratulates Raffles Ultimate on their hard-earned and well deserved championship title.

——————–

Raffles Ultimate Frisbee Year 6 Batch

#1 Nicole Lee Yihui

#2 Alexis Png Kai Xin

#3 Tan Jing Rui Jaryl

#4 Angel Lee Jia Ying

#5 Han Kang Kenneth

#6 Tan Kai Ling

#7 Tsai Qi Yun Shalynn

#8 Benjamin Goh

#9 Jonathan Cheong Ren

#10 Danie Xu

#11 Neo Jing Xuan Renee

#12 Loh Yi Ning

#13 Yip Zhi Hui Clare

#14 Ong Yong Ming, Edmund

#15 Li Zihan

#16 Low Yan Hao

#18 Chow Shaune

#20 R N Christo Leon

#21 Shermin Ong

#23 Kok Joon Eu, Shawn

#31 Fu Jiali Beverly

#42 Wang Jianzhi

#79 Vanessa Kang Rui

#81 Chan Teng Kai, Ian

#86 Ng Wei Kang, Gavin

#92 Hoo Fang Yu

 

2018 Results (RI A)

Final: RI A 7 PJC 6

Semi-final: RI A 10 SAJC 2

Quarter-final: RI A 13 IJC 1

Group Stage: RI A 11 EJC 4

RI A 13 ACJC B 1

RI A 10 AJC A 2

RI A 13 RI B 0

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