After two years, the much-awaited Team Raffles Games (TRG) have returned, better than ever. Raffles Press spectated the Volleyball, Fencing and Hockey TRGs, where Rafflesians played hard and fought harder for the glory of the title of Champion House.
By Lim Zhi Qi Victoria (23S06B) and Loh Zhao Hong (23S03A)
The players arrived in a flurry of chatter and excitement at the basketball courts, but they were not here to shoot hoops: they were here to spike.
While the volleyball members set up the courts, the players warmed up, developing rapport with their teammates. Chemistry played a big part, especially in a team sport.
“Our principle is safety first. We’re here to have fun and make friends within our own House” – Lim Yu Jie (23S06J) from Bayley-Waddle (BW) Team 1
The modified rules were as follows: conducted in a round-robin format, each team played four matches of seven minutes each. The court size had been reduced by one-third with new boundaries, given the smaller teams of five. With a final “good luck” from the Raffles Volleyball Vice-Captains, the Games had begun.
Morrison-Richardson (MR) Team 1 kicked off their first match with a powerful serve, scoring the first point against Moor-Tarbet (MT) Team 1. Both teams were matched in skill, leaving spectators gripping the edges of their metaphorical seats. When the whistle blew again, MR1 had won 15-11.
The rest of the matches proceeded in a similar fashion of impressive effort and vigour from the players. In fact, there were more than a few collisions of ball into lamp and of player into table. Jests and cheers were also made in the spirit of friendly competition.
Even as the sky darkened, the spirit of competition and fun was kept alive with the arrival of fresh-faced, energized teams. MT’s house pride was extremely strong, with two teams in the new session.
The showdown between MT3 and MT4 saw numerous intense rallies. Scores were close from the beginning and the teams cheered whenever they won a point. Well-received spikes, strong serves, and seamless teamwork made it difficult to predict who would win. Eventually, MT3 pulled through with a score of 17-14.
However, HH3 stole the show as the final winner of the session. Having won all of their matches and displaying great power and tenacity, their win was certainly a deserved one. And with that, the Volleyball TRG drew to a close.
It was heartening to see displays of sportsmanship when teams exchanged handshakes at the end of the matches. Despite it being a new sport for many, everyone put in their best effort and supported each other with words of encouragement.
After all, TRG boils down to the memories one makes, both with old and new friends. As the captain of the Girls’ Volleyball team, Faith Kelly (23A01D), had said, “I hope people can bond through the love of sport.” Good job to all of the participants and thank you to the Volleyball CCA for the hard work put into organising such an enjoyable TRG!
4th: BW3 and BB2 (tied)
By Joy Tan (23A01D) and Leong Jun Wei (23A01D)
When asked what the most fascinating aspect of fencing was, Azad (23S03C), Captain of Raffles Fencing, replied passionately that sizing one’s opponent up even before the match was one of the most important prerequisites to any game.
However, this instinct need not have been taught explicitly to participants, despite most of them having had little to no prior experience in competitive fencing. It was evident from the watchful manner in which they eyed their competitors, even during the casual warm-ups, that they were positively resolved to putting their best foot forward in the games.
Following a brief session of warm-ups, mostly consisting of impressively wide lunges as well as basic training on how to use the épée, the first set of contestants stepped onto the piste bravely.
Here’s how the game worked: in order to score a point, contestants would have to hit any part of their opponent’s valid target area, which in this case was the whole body. Whenever a point was scored—that is, whenever the tip of the épée hit any part of the target area, the score box would light up triumphantly, indicating which player had taken the point. If simultaneous touches were scored, both players would rightfully be awarded a point each.
What ensued were rounds of valiant fights put up by each and every player. These were accompanied by energetic screams, impassioned roars, and loud hoots of victory from competitors’ team members, alongside very invested Raffles Fencing members. Throughout the games, members of Raffles Fencing positioned themselves faithfully beside the players, never failing to offer golden nuggets of fencing wisdom and timely encouragement.
Though there could only be one official winner, it is safe to say that the spirit of TRG was never lost. From the way that participants, as well as Raffles Fencing members, cheered each other on zealously despite having never met before, it was clear that the games had been successful in uniting Rafflesians across both classes and houses.
By Lezann Lee (23A01C)
The demands of field hockey are very much pronounced, even for our remarkably adroit athletes. As Joshua Poh (23S06O), captain of Raffles Hockey puts it, “It is a very difficult sport for beginners.”
This would not dampen the ferocity of the teams shepherded onto the pitch. Sticks were wielded with grace and finesse, even for those who were encountering the sport for the first time. The dimples on the ball glistened under the shafts of sunlight that fell upon the green pitch, as if goading the players into a fight. Spectators poured onto the sidelines, proudly donning their house shirts in a bid to pledge allegiance to their houses.
At the blow of the whistle, the ball crackled to life. It was a war of attrition – each team was resolved to wear down their opponents, sending the ball ricocheting off their sticks to the ends of the field. Some participants even brandished tactics exclusive to their team. Zenia Lim (23S06O) spoke of “The Diamond Formation” of which their BB team had attempted—a testament to the zest and fervour of Rafflesians. Every so often, a high stick would warrant the sounding of the shrill, sharp whistle by the referee who would caution the players against flouting the rules of the game.
Tuesday afternoon also saw several instances of the ball flying towards the goalpost at astounding speeds, only to be deftly returned by the goalkeepers. Nonetheless, our Rafflesians did not falter—their raucous peals of laughter a telltale sign that they had managed to retain their high-spirits and their composure. Vicious as the competition was, it all turned into good-natured banter on the pitch. In fact, the event did wonders for the friendships of many. To Joshua, this TRG was just as much about bringing people together, as it was about competing valiantly against each other. “It’s about watching your friends come together to play a sport that you love,” he remarked.
With the impeccable advance of BW, this TRG eventually saw a triumphant win for two BW teams, which proceeded to play among themselves even after the event.
Even though victory favoured BW that day, it was still genuine, impassioned laughter that dominated the field. All’s well that ends well!