Category: 2012 Season

Basketball Girls Rise Above the Fray to Soar to Victory

By Chua Jun Yan (13A01A)

After a six-year drought, the RI basketball girls’ team finally clinched the A-Division title at Toa Payoh Sports Hall on Friday. Matched against archrivals Hwa Chong Institution, the gryphons staved off a tough challenge to emerge victorious by 75 to 47, in what one basketball veteran described as the highest-scoring girls’ game he had seen “in his life” .

Before the match, the girls were tense, but got off to a confident start. In the words of teacher-in-charge Mr Se Kuan Pin, “I have faith in the team. They have some very good players and have trained very hard.” The team did not disappoint, scoring a point within the first few seconds of the match. Barely ten seconds later, they scored again with a free throw. At times, the girls seemed hesitant and unsure, but by and large they played a fluid game, with secure passing from one end of the court to the other.

As the game progressed, the gryphons lost possession of the ball multiple times, but kept up the pressure on Hwa Chong. In a sign of just how tightly contested the match was, the play was rough, even aggressive at points, with players being tackled to the ground. Nonetheless, the RI team fought hard, and came out of the first quarter leading 18-13.

Basketballers watch with anxiety from the sidelines

Unfortunately, the girls did not rebound well in the second quarter. Hwa Chong soon established a razor-thin lead of 21-20, keeping the spectators on both sides in suspense. Nonetheless, our girls were unfazed, playing a defensive game against Hwa Chong and re-establishing a 31-25 lead by the end of the quarter.

During the break, the RI coach was spotted gesticulating wildly at the girls, as the team re-strategized to hit hard in the second half. This certainly paid off. In what must count as one of the most memorable moments of the match, an RI player gained possession of the ball and dribbled it across the length of court, passing it to her teammate who scored, sparking off a wave of gasps from supporters of both teams. Even in the last 2 seconds of the quarter, the team did not miss a chance to score, ending the segment of the game with a commanding lead of 54-38.

Tham Yan Ping with the ball

Despite this, our girls were not complacent. They played in top form in the final match, taking every opportunity to score, and fending off attacks from their opponents. By contrast, the Hwa Chong players appeared tired and demoralized, with sloppy passes that were repeatedly intercepted by the girls. In the final moments of the match, it became clear that RI had the gold medal in the bag. The crowd began spontaneously counting down as the game drew to a close, but not without a dose of drama. As the final whistle blew, a RI player collapsed onto the ground, possibly with a sprained ankle. Her teammates and coaches rushed forward to help her out – as the crowd looked on in apprehension.

Miraculously, she rose from the ground, albeit with a slight hobble. Having secured the title, the Raffles side of the sports hall exploded in celebration, with the councillors leading the school in a rousing rendition of Rafblood. A high-powered cast of VIPs, including Principal Mrs Lim Lai Cheng, Senior Deputy Principals, Mr S Magendiran and Mrs Chia Geok Boon, and Dean of Sports and CCA Development, Mr Mike J., descended on the court to congratulate the girls, who were evidently elated at their achievement.

Speaking in Mandarin, RI coach, Ms Chiew Poh Leng, remarked, “The team was very deserving of the win; I felt so comfortable watching them play…They played with a strong fighting spirit and with the right technique.” Player Alanna Lim concurred, “I can’t say how happy I am today! We were down by 2 points during part of the match but we kept fighting.”

After six long years, the gryphons have jumped for the top spot again.

Photos by Edwin Chow

Believe – Raffles Tennis

By Lou Shan (13SO6A) and Chen Haoxin (13SO6Q)

As Colin Powell once said, “A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.” Similarly, it was through grit, sweat, and determination that both the boys and girls Raffles Tennis teams achieved gold in the National Schools Tennis Tournaments 2012.

On 16th May 2012, Raffles Tennis Team endured hours of grueling, hard-fought matches, to return as champions. Both boys and girls’ divisions defeated their rivals Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) and Anglo-Chinese Junior College respectively and were victorious yet again, continuing our school’s winning streak in tennis.

It was a truly intense match; both sides performed remarkably, opponents offered strong resistance, and victory was difficult to clinch. However, their training and tenacity eventually paid off, with the girls’ team winning by a narrow margin of 3-2, and the boys’ triumphing with a score of 4-1.

The latter team played well: a member of the team described one of the matches as a “walk in the park”. In the singles rounds, Euan Rajanthiran won with a score of 6-3, 6-2, while Tan Jia Wei lost an exhilarating 3-set match. Of our doubles teams, Rayner Loi and Kevin Wee claimed easy victory (6-4, 6-2) and Michael Chan and Eugene Tan defeated their opponents 6-2, 6-4.

Tan Jia Wei in action

The last match, at Court 7, Steve Ng from RI and Kristopher Tan of ACS(I) was, as many final matches are, a clash of titans. This match generated much buzz amongst spectators and teammates, for both players were very evenly matched. Steve won the first set with a score of 6-1, but Kristopher rallied in the second set, winning with a score of 6-3. The final set was a nerve-racking close call; the score stayed precariously close till the end. Finally, with three tie-breakers and a score of 7-6, Steve claimed victory.

Steve Ng and Kristopher Tan, post-match

While all this excitement was going on, the girls team was facing off against ACJC. It was a relatively milder competition: the first four matches all concluded within 2 sets. Out of the first three singles players, Jennifer Wu and Nicole Rosenberger won their matches, while Inez S. buckled under the pressure from ACJC’s Kylie Wan. Our doubles pair Elizabeth Wong and Shanice Khoo lost their match, making the final doubles face-off the decisive match of the day. Both Jean Iau and Danielle Eng kept their cool despite mounting pressure, and won the match with partner chemistry.

Post-match talk
Waiting for prize presentation

It was a tournament displaying perseverance, level-headedness, and strong fighting spirit. Mr Koh, teacher in-charge of Tennis, told us: “The results were expected because we believed that we can do it, believed that they can do it. During the match, there were people shouting the word ‘Believe’. It was the word that had kept them going. When they were losing, they believed they could catch up; when they were winning, they believe they could win.” Indeed, as it was a final with ups and downs, it was the belief of the players, teammates, and supporters that worked to bringing back the gold for Raffles.

Hockey Boys Champions Once Again

By Trishala Thamilselvan (13S07C)

Two of the strongest boys’ hockey teams took to the pitch on Thursday afternoon, in the finals match that would determine the A-division champions in the National Inter-schools Hockey Championships. In a replay of last year’s match, the RI boys’ hockey team defeated strong contender Victoria Junior College (VJC) 2-1 to bring home the championship title.

The match kicked off amid the resounding cheers of the crowds of supporters from both schools, and certainly proved to be a fast-paced, nerve-racking one.

Both teams were strong in both their attack and defense, and their hours of hard work and training were evident in the skilled and versatile moves of the players. The game moved rapidly from one end of the pitch to the other, and VJC’s first but unsuccessful attempt at goal came seven minutes into the game.

Shortly after, a short corner was awarded to the RI team which, to their supporters’ delight, resulted in a 1-0 score to RI.

Three minutes before half-time, another short corner was awarded to the RI team, and Captain Jaspal Singh expertly deflected the ball into goal, earning a 2-0 lead for Raffles.

The anticipation during the ten-minute half-time interval was palpable, with the RI team hoping to widen their lead.

A minute into the second half of the game, however, the VJC team scored a goal after a short corner, bringing the score to 2-1 and narrowing the gap dangerously by a solitary goal. Tension was now visibly high in the RI team, and the increasingly louder and frequent heart-pounding cheers from the supporters only drove up the intensity and fervor of the match.

The RI team in preparation for a short corner awarded to VJC

However, even though two more short corners were awarded to the RI team, neither proved successful in helping them increase their lead.

Despite several minor injuries and cramps, the teams put up a good fight and maintained their defense.

As the final whistle blow marked the end of the feverish game, the RI team members dropped to the ground in joy and relief against a backdrop of celebratory whoops from their supporters.

The team celebrating their win

Both the team and all their supporters were jubilant, as the team collected their well-deserved gold medals from guest-of-honor, our Principal Mrs Lim Lai Cheng. Vice-captain Timothy Goh thanked the many supporters who ran onto the pitch to offer their congratulations, and said, “Your cheering really helped us a lot… and this gold medal is for Raffles!”

Hockey teacher in-charge Mr Gopi also noted that the team seemed “edgy” as they “felt the pressure, but they still stuck to the game plan and put up a good fight.”

As Team Captain Jaspal Singh said, their many months of training “finally paid off”, and it was certainly another great achievement for the defending champions. Well done Hockey Boys!

Photos by Edwin Chow

Softball Boys Clinch A Division Championship Title

By Lim Kuan Wei (Softball, 13SO3K)

Hours of sweat, blood and tears under the rain and the sun, and it had all come down to this game. 5 innings, 15 outs to decide the champions of the National Inter-school A Division Softball Championship 2012. The RI players took to the field on 15th May, aiming to win the championship for the second year running against Hwa Chong Institution.

The first defensive inning started out perfectly, with pitcher Barathan striking out the first two Hwa Chong batters, before a defensive miscue allowed a runner to reach second base. Despite that, the RI team kept their cool and induced a shallow pop fly from the next batter, retiring the side without any damage done. Then came the offensive inning for RI, first batter, Samuel Lee smacked the second pitch he saw over the left fielder for a lead-off homerun, and RI led 1-0.

The second inning proved to be the same as the first, with great pitching from Barathan, supported by good defensive plays from his team mates. Hwa Chong was shut out again, and RI still led 1-0. With that, RI batters gained momentum, and after good at-bats from different players from RI team, it was Samuel up to bat with runners on second and third base. Once again, he proved clutch, driving a two-run triple, extending RI’s lead to 3-0. Hwa Chong knew that if they were to stand a chance in catching up, they would have to be at their best.

What ensued was a display of tight defensive innings from both teams, as both teams did not allow a run. The scored stood at 3-0 after four innings played. Hwa Chong was due up to bat, and if they could not score 3 runs, the game would be over and RI would be crowned champions.

“Raffles, hold them down!” as the RI team cheered while entering the diamond. 3 more outs. The pressure was immense, the atmosphere, tense. Despite that, the RI team kept their nerves, and after two outs, the ball was hit high into the outfield, and center fielder, captain, Hui Fu caught the fly ball, and the game was over. The RI team rushed onto the field to congratulate each other, and what followed was the traditional victory run.

The team huddled at home plate, and chants of “Raffles! Oi!” could be heard echoing around the diamond. It was a great pitching performance by Barathan, who pitched a no-hitter and racked up 8 strikeouts, and most importantly, it was a great team performance, shutting Hwa Chong down and holding on to the 3-0 lead. This victory marked the end of a brilliant season, with a total tally of 57 runs scored and 3 runs allowed, making RI the undisputed champions of A Division Softball 2012.

No Regrets — Rugby Finals

By Jeremy Yew (13A01B)
Photos by Aidan Mock (13A01B)

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RI huddling for a pre-match cheer

“Pride! Passion! Soul! Speed! R-A-F-F-L-E-S!”

That pretty much summed up the way the Raffles Rugby Team played in the finals of the A-Division Rugby Police Cup on the evening of 10th May. However, despite their best efforts, they eventually emerged runners-up to long-time rivals ACS (I) with a score of 23-0.

On one end of the pitch, the ACS (I) Bumblebees were an intimidating formation of yellow and blue stripes. With their barrel chests and seam-bursting biceps, they looked more like bears on steroids than eighteen-year-olds.

On the other end, we saw a frontier of determined, fiery Gryphons ready to play their hearts out. They were no small bunch either, but the difference in size was apparent. However, Shaun Sia, a Year 5 member of the team, told us: “It’s not how big you are – it’s how big you play.”

The game started without much fanfare, and a kickoff to the opposing team saw Raffles quickly head into the opposite half. The supporters’ cheers were rewarded with tantalizingly close efforts at the 5-metre mark of the opposing team’s try-line.

About 10 minutes into the game a penalty kick was given to ACS (I) in the center of our half. A hushed silence ensued, the ball sailed between the posts, and the red flags went up. The Bumblebees had just gained an early upper hand of 3 points. Yet that only made our supporters cheer louder and our players fight harder.

After a 45 minute delay (the lightning alert had gone on), the Bumblebees scored an unconverted* try, bringing the score line to 8-0. From then on the match was a constant heart-wrenching see-saw of excitement: Raffles saw many penetrating, powerful runs from a disciplined attack and ensured that the play was mostly in the opponent’s half of the field. 

However, when it was in their possession, ACS (I)’s quick, short passes and focused attack strategy put constant pressure on our solid defense, and some of their long-distance kicks proved tricky for the Raffles back-line (sweepers) at times, causing many dangerous forays into our half, and venturing dangerously close to our try-line. Despite the team’s best efforts, ACS (I) brought the score to an uneasy 13-0 with another unconverted try at the end of the first half.

The second half kicked off with Raffles furiously returning into the game, all guns blazing. The crowd saw Year 5 players Matthew Tjeong and Nicholas Phua make daring runs across half the field. Despite numerous promising but ultimately fruitless campaigns into enemy territory, and yet another unconverted try for ACS (I), Raffles displayed true grit, determined to fight till the final whistle blow.

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RI contesting for the ball in a lineout

Unfortunately, in rugby, effort and spirit are not always proportionate with results. The match ended with a last-minute try by the Bumblebees and an admittedly dismaying score of 23-0. Even though the players walked off the pitch with broken hearts and shiny eyes, they kept their chins up as the school rallied around them for the Institution Anthem.

Afterwards, team captain Benjamin Broughton told us, “We lost because we didn’t score when we were in their half, even though we spent more time there…There were some individual mistakes by players, but as a team we played well. Although it doesn’t look like it, and the score line might not seem so small, but the game was really quite close.

“This is my last match in RJ. But I played my heart out, had a good team game, and enjoyed playing with my teammates – my brothers – so…

“No regrets.”

*Unconverted try – after every try scored which gives 5 points, a conversion kick is granted, if the ball goes between the posts it is ‘converted’, granting a bonus 2 points. If it misses, it is ‘unconverted’, and no bonus points are given. A penalty kick scored gives 3 points.