Category: Inter-House Games

IHC Day 4, Girls’ Soccer: Not Just a Man’s Game

By Jonathan Tan (13A01C) and Zara Nicole Toh (13A01B)

Photos by Chen Zheng Wei and Ng Siyuan

(IHC Day 1 and Day 2)

IHC Day 4 kicked off with a line-up of only one event: Girls’ Soccer. This ensured that the attention of all the supporters would be centred on the main field as the girls from each house battled it out to prove that girls too can play soccer.

HH’s Yushi striking the ball with such grace and elegance

Apprehensive looks were on the faces of most participants during the briefing, as their soccer experience was largely limited to attempts at kicking the soccer ball during PE lessons. However, when the whistle blew for the matches to begin, all thoughts of nervousness and apprehension were forgotten as the girls gave their all to earn invaluable points for their house.

The BB team getting a pre-game pep talk from their captain, Abhilash

The matches were contested in a round-robin manner, before the top 2 houses would go on to compete in the final match.
Sweat dripped and blood was spilt as the girls lunged, ran and fought for every ball in the name of house spirit. Balls flew in all directions as both shots at goal and last-minute clearances were made, and goal attempts were saved. In most of the matches, the brave goal keepers like Rachel Tay of MR and Nicole Heng of MT proved to be the most valuable players of their teams as they kept out numerous shots, sometimes even diving to the ground in an attempt to protect their goals.

MR’s Renisha in a one-on-one face-off with Ida of BW.

After a series of tough round-robin matches, BW and MT emerged as the 2 teams that would contest the final. MT were the overwhelming favourites as they had not lost a single game during their round-robin matches, often scoring numerous goals in the process of defeating their opponents.

Crystal (BW) on the counter-attack against MT

The final matched kicked off, the field surrounded with supporters of both houses. BW were forced to defend with all their might as MT’s attacking duo of Tasneem and Amelia were in top form, often breaking past the BW defence only to find their shots blocked by Ida, BW’s goalkeeper. Due to a combination of luck as well as some marvellous defending on BW’s part, BW managed to keep out all of MT’s attempts at goal, even going on the counter-attack at some points in the match. However, just like the boys’ match last week, the match ended 0-0 and proceeded into extra time.

Tasneem (MT) taking on 4 defenders at once

During extra time, both teams tried their hardest to break each other’s defences and get onto the scoreboard in order to gain the upper hand. Tasneem and Amelia once again threatened the BW defence numerous times, only to have their shots miss the goal mouth by a hair’s breadth. Crystal, BW’s striker, also proved to be equally unlucky as her shots at goal were comfortably saved by Nicole, MT’s goalkeeper. As the whistle to signal the end of extra time was blown, both teams prepared themselves to take the penalties that would decide who was to be the champion house.

Remember Shaun Sia using the force-field to keep out a shot during handball? Well, Ida proves that girls too can use the force-field!

Each team had to take a mandatory 3 penalties, and if the results were still inconclusive the game would then move to sudden death. Huifen, MT’s first penalty taker, took a shot that rebounded off the inside of the post and onto Ida’s face before crossing the goal-line, ensuring that the game was not without any drama as people rushed to check that her nose was still intact. The score was 1-0 to MT as Shayna stepped up to take BW’s first penalty. Nerves evidently got the better of her as she blasted the ball straight into the waiting arms of MT’s keeper. Tasneem doubled MT’s lead with a powerful shot that Ida stood no chance of defending. Linh took BW’s second shot with a unstoppable shot to the top corner of the goal. With the score 2-1 to MT as Amelia stepped up to take MT’s 3rd and final penalty, MT would be the winners if she scored. And fortunately for MT (unfortunately for BW), she did not disappoint, blasting home a shot that left some boys at the pitch awestruck.

MT players celebrating their win

MT players jumped on each other in ecstasy and happiness, celebrating their deserved win as they had been the outstanding side throughout the entire tournament. Each and every player deserved praise as they fought hard and played well for their house.

The winning team
The proud runner-ups
At the end of the day, House unites rather than divides

Photos by Chen Zheng Wei, Ng Siyuan (Raffles Photographic Society)

IHC Heats Up!

By Jonathan Tan (13AO1C) and Zara Nicole Toh (13AO1B)

The handball event was destined to be the centrepiece of Day 2, with its prime location at the netball court, attracting even more onlookers than Day 1’s Soccer event. The courts were surrounded on all sides by supporters, comprising reserves, house representatives and ordinary students – even ushers for PTM who were dressed in formal attire crowded around, savouring the action. People who wanted to avoid the crowd planted themselves on the second floor to get a bird’s eye view.

Bird’s eye view!

The atmosphere was perfect. Let the games begin.

The round robin matches were held in 2 courts. Gameplay was at such high intensity that teams required constant substitution of players. The match between MR and BW was one of significant tension. As the players battled for a place in the final against HH, the larger battle between the 2 houses at the top of overall house standings loomed over. Breathtaking end-to-end play ensued, but MR eventually clung on to win BW,  leaving BW to play a 2nd/3rd placing match against HH.

Abhiraj pumps his fist after scoring a goal against fierce rivals BW

The HH-BW match was a high octane, emotionally charged affair with a series of clashes between both sets of players, with two almost coming to blows after a particularly bruising encounter. In the end, HH narrowly scraped past BW to book a place in the final.

MR, having been dominant in the round robin matches, were raring to go and exuded confidence as they immediately took to the court for warm-ups, even practicing some impressive set plays. HH, on the other hand, only entered the court just before the match started, presumably to get as much rest as possible.

Physicality from the previous match seemed to have spilled over into the final as it started off with some skirmishes, but MR quickly seized the initiative: House captain Wei Hing picked up a loose ball just outside the D and evaded HH defender Chandra to score the first goal of the game. 1-0 to MR.

MR’s strong defense included Yunting (MR), remaining compact in the middle to prevent HH from taking shots

HH players were visibly disappointed. To their credit, they regrouped and launched waves of attacks on MR for a sustained period, but MR’s resolute defence by forming a “wall” of players to tighten the centre and drive the HH players to the flanks proved a worthy obstacle.

MR also had goalkeeper Shaun Sia to thank for making some crucial saves to keep HH at bay. Throughout the match, he was an impenetrable barrier and entertained both his teammates and the crowd with his animated hand gestures and rallying cries to his teammates.

MR goalkeeper Shaun Sia was vocal in rallying his teammates forward with his animated hand gestures and punchlines. Here, he is seen demonstrating the power of force-field.

MR’s Nathaniel went on to score a goal that was disallowed (he was judged to have stepped into the D) but MR was not to be denied. A crosscourt pass found Abhiraj, who summoned his cricket experience to place an inch-perfect shot into the corner, just out of the reach of HH’s Chandra.

If HH’s morale had lifted after the first goal, this second goal dealt a tough blow to the team. Eventually, the game fizzled out to an eventual 2-0 victory for MR to bring their 1st place finishes in IHC to a total of 4 after the end of Day 2.

Other events contested on Day 2 include Judo, held at the RI Gymnasium, and Canoeing’s Pull and Build, held near the cage. Fortunately for BW, both events secured them precious 1st place finishes. Table Tennis was also played at the MPH and the first of three sessions of minigames also kicked off at the Hodge Lodge.

Overall Summary of Day 2 Results:

Sport 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
Judo BW BB MR HH MT
Handball MR HH BW MT BB
Canoe BW BB MR MT HH
Players enthusiastically going for the ball
Abhiraj – MR’s star shooter, preparing to launch yet another shot at an opposing goal
At the Canoe IHC, many found doing pull-ups way too easy and tried out new things like going way above the bar…
…striking a gymnastic pose (note the pointed toes!)…
…or enjoying a zen moment
Matthew (BW) lifting Atsushi (HH) into the air
Is that a party in the RI gymnasium? No, it’s BW celebrating their Judo 1st place finish!

Photos by Claudia Koh, Sim Xiang Rong, Deng Jia and Zhi Xuan (Raffles Photographic Society)

IHC Begins!

By Jonathan Tan (13AO1C) and Zara Nicole Toh (13AO1B)

The IHC Soccer event was perhaps the most appropriate curtain-raiser for IHC Sports 2012 as it took centre stage in the Main Field on the Wednesday, 25th July. It did not disappoint, serving up some exciting action between the houses, with mere goal difference separating most of the houses at the end of the round-robin matches.

 

MT’s makeshift goalkeeper Lum Dong Yee making a clearance from Clarence

Prior to this event, BB was widely tipped as the hot favourites with their strong line-up containing a good strong defence supporting an array of attacking talents. Nonetheless, the rest of the houses were no pushovers and gave it a real go, but eventually the final was to be contested between MR and BB, with MR proving the surprise package of this tournament, having been written off by most.

The widely-tipped champions: BB

It seemed like a real walkover was about to ensue, but this was not to be. Although BB predictably dominated much of the possession and pegged MR back in their own half for long periods of time, MR were not about to give in and launched a few counter-attacks that threatened the BB goal. Apart from hitting the post with a header, MR’s Ong Marcus had a golden opportunity to put the underdogs ahead having been sent through on goal by a brilliant through pass, only to muster a weak attempt on goal due to cramps. As BB cranked up the pressure in the second half, they were denied by the woodwork and also found MR’s goalkeeper Toan in inspired form, keeping them at bay for the remainder of regular time.

Clarence (MR) launching into a sliding tackle to halt the run of Kiran (BB)

Extra time kicked off and BB camped in the MR half. It seemed a matter of time before they found the breakthrough and sure enough, they took the lead through Joel Chong and it seemed that MR’s dreams were all but over. Yet, despite being dealt this hammer blow, MR kept their heads up and went in search of an equalizer. Complacency began to creep into BB players, and this allowed MR to launch a wave of attacks resulting in a slew of corners. As the final whistle approached, Shaun Lim made a trademark dribble through the BB defence and unleashed a powerful drive that the BB goalkeeper could not keep out, securing a precious equalizer.

MR players jubilant after Shaun Lim (middle) equalized as time was running out

With seconds left on the clock, every ball was meant with a hashed clearance. The final whistle brought a sense of frustration in BB players, but the feeling among the MR players was clearly an overwhelming sense of relief that they were still in with a shout. Penalty kicks beckoned.

The penalty shootout was immediate sudden death, so there was absolutely zero margin for error. BB were to go first. Kiran stepped up and sent a low powerful drive down the middle that Toan could not get his hands to. 1-0 to BB.

MR’s turn was next. Shaun Lim stepped up but he was clearly walking gingerly (he had actually torn his ankle ligaments and even played the last two matches with an injured left ankle – get well soon Shaun!) up to the penalty spot. He took a short run-up and drilled a shot that kept rising. With goalkeeper Joel Chong stranded, the ball struck the crossbar and ricocheted back. The game was over. BB had won 1-0 on penalties.

Shaun Lim’s powerful penalty hit the crossbar to hand BB the victory in sudden death penalties

The BB players immediately ran and swarmed around goalkeeper Joel Chong and piled on each other on the field in celebration of their win. The MR players, however, were predictably upset and Shaun in particular was disconsolate at missing the penalty after working so hard to equalize earlier.

BB players piling on each other in celebration of their victory

Nonetheless, it was an admirable effort by the MR players who were written off from the start but emerged as the underdogs to reach the final, holding their own against a clearly technically and physically superior BB side. Kudos must be given to the BB side for not letting complacency set in and fulfilling their potential in winning 1st.

Soccer aside, there were other events happening around the school on Day 1, which was a good day for MR, who added three 1st place finishes in Squash, Dodgeball and Volleyball to the 2nd place finish in soccer to take the lead for IHC sports. In terms of IHC standings, MT and HH followed closely behind with two 1st place finishes respectively.

However, in the greater scheme of things in terms of the overall house standings, MR certainly gained much as BW found the going tough on Day 1. Apart from two 2nd place finishes in Girls’ Floorball and Squash, they had a mix of 4th and 5th places for the remainder of the sports, even suffering a walkover in Volleyball. This certainly does not bode well for BW and the onus is on them to pick it up in the following days to keep their noses ahead as MR breathes down their necks.

Overall Summary of Day 1 Results:

Sport 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
Dodgeball MR BB HH MT BW
Gymnastics HH BB MT BW MR
Volleyball MR BB MT HH BW
Girls Floorball MT BW MR BB HH
Boys Foorball HH MT BB BW MR
Soccer BB MR HH MT BW
Fencing MT HH BB BW MR
Squash MR BW MT, HH   – BB
Janielle (BB) and Emiline (HH) queue up for the ball but find it stolen from right under their noses
Jesse (BB) and Herman (MR) face off — Jesse showing true commitment to the BB cause by rushing over to play
floorball with his soccer boots on
Matthias (MT) looks to a play a pass out wide to the other side
Two ex-squash teammates face off against one another — Yee Kiat (MR) eventually got the better of Sean (BB). With a host of ex-squash players, MR stormed to victory in squash, only dropping one game in every match
Wee Toh looks like he’s straining every bit of muscle to fling that ball while James excitedly jumps with the ball firmly in his hand — dodgeball!
HH’s Krishna gesturing — either “What did I do wrong?” or more likely, “Is that all you’ve got???”
Ninja Warrior Gladiator: They’re either maintaining balance really well or they’re falling straight into the sponge pit…
…or some summon superpowers to maintain balance, like Aaron of BB
HH players all looking in one direction, presumably at the ball…or maybe a plane?
Winning MR Volleyball team

Unleash the power of IHC!

In all, Day 1 ended as a thrilling start to the IHC, leaving everyone craving for more exciting and exhilarating action over the next 2 weeks.

Credit goes to Nandaru Annabil, Chen Zheng Wei, Zhi Xuan, Naman Shah and Edwin Chow from Raffles Photographic Society for the photographs.