Category: 2013 Season

Fighting Till The End: Netball Clinches 3rd Place

by Alison Olivia Lewis (14S03S)
Photographs by Ng Chong Zheng (Photographic Society)

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Playing for 3rd/4th placing against SAJC after narrowly losing the semi-finals, the Raffles Netball team was determined to make the most out of their last lap this season, and they definitely did us proud yesterday afternoon.

Raffles started off well, with 2 goals within the first minute, but the tables turned quickly thereafter. In the next three minutes, SA scored 3 consecutive goals, pulling ahead by 1 point. It was clear that our opponents were a strong team as well, and it was going to be a tough fight. The first quarter ended with a score of 13-9 against us, but Team Raffles had never given up hope.

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The girls came back strong in the second quarter, scoring a 3-point streak in the first three minutes. Stepping up their game, Raffles marked the players on the opposing team with dogged tenacity. Their efforts began to pay off, as Raffles’ score inched closer to that of SA’s. At the fifth minute, a good shot by Goal Attack (GA) Dawne Lim levelled the score at 15-15. From there, things only got better for Raffles as the team fought even harder. Good passes and intercepts by Centre (C) Amelia, as well as great teamwork between two of our talented shooters, GA Dawne and Goal Shooter (GS) Richelle, propelled Raffles into the lead with a total score of 25-23.

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The fight was even more intense in the third quarter. The players on both teams were noticeably fatigued with more frequent stumbles and missed catches, but neither team let it dampen their spirits. This quarter saw considerable interception by Goal Defender (GD) Tasneem and Wing Defender (WD) Natalie, as well as strong defence by Goal Keeper (GK) Shiying, helping Raffles gain possession of the ball. GS Richelle delivered an amazing scoring streak, ending the quarter with a total score of 37-35, maintaining Raffles’ lead of 2 points.

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Raffles started off commendably in the last quarter, widening the score gap to 5 points with a total score of 44-39 by the tenth minute. After a short break, SA returned to the court with a vengeance, making long, ambitious passes across the court. As tensions drew high, both teams began to show signs of strain. A slight miscalculation in distance by SA allowed Raffles to gain possession of the ball, with GA Dawne scoring at the twelfth minute. At this point, the pace of the game was visibly slower, but both teams were determined to persevere till the end. Good passes from Wing Attack (WA) Elizabeth to Richelle coupled with more interceptions by GD Tasneem scored 5 more points for Raffles, ending the game on a high note with a final score of 49-41.

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Both teams displayed exceptional skill and spirit, but our girls did us proud by putting in their best effort and fighting till the very end. Despite facing a tough first quarter, they held their faith and pressed on, eventually catching up with their opponents and finally, gaining the lead. With great teamwork and perseverance, the girls were able to maintain their lead throughout the match. Raffles Press would like to congratulate Raffles Netball on their win, and would also like to wish them all the best for their season next year.

Boys’ Basketball Team Beaten 44-37 by AJC in a Spirited Display

by Arintha Adelina (14S05B) and Seraphine Chanentia (14S06N)

Photographs by Ng Chong Zheng (14S03L) and Nicholas Koh (14S06E) from Photographic Society

On 20 May 2013, the Raffles Institution basketball team lost a hard fought game to Anderson Junior College (AJC) by a final score of 44-37, eventually finishing overall 4th. While they may not have emerged champions, they certainly did not come out as losers. Our team kept fighting till the end, showcasing admirable perseverance and great sportsmanship.


The match started with AJC drawing first blood with a well-taken shot, eliciting an almost instantaneous response from the RI team when Daniel Lee swiftly countered with a skilful shot of his own. It was to be a breathless first quarter, as both teams appeared to be evenly matched. With both RI and AJC intent on preventing their opponents from scoring, the match soon stagnated at 5-5 as uncontested shots were few and far between. However, the deadlock was dramatically broken as AJC scored in the last few seconds of the quarter, giving them a 7-5 lead going into the break.

Yao Zhong (RI) driving play forward


Our opponents started the second quarter strongly by putting together an unanswered 8-point streak, widening the gap to 15-5 within the first three minutes. Yao Zhong finally managed to halt the momentum of AJC’s attacks, adding two points for RI with his layup. However, this was merely a blip in an otherwise dominant AJC display, as they strengthened their lead by blowing open a 17 point gap with a score of 24-7 heading into the last minute of the quarter. Nonetheless, our boys persevered and managed to claw back points during the last few moments of the quarter, ending the first half of the game with a score of 24-11 in AJC’s favour.

 

Lim Mingjun (RI) tries to dribble past two defenders


But the team was not disheartened in the slightest. We started the second half with a bang as our basketballers sought to close the 13 point gap. Through a combination of tireless running and intelligent pressing, they forced a number of successive turnovers, showing that our team not going to throw in the towel any time soon. This fiery motivation brought out the best in our players. In a spectacular display of individual prowess, Antony Raharja made two free throws and even sank a shot from outside the 3-point arc. The boys attempted to leverage on this late surge, scoring a total of 10 points but were unfortunately unable to catch up to the AJC team, which stuck to its offensive gameplan. The third quarter closed with 36-21 as the final score.

Antony Raharja (RI) trying to start yet another attack


The deficit might have seemed nearly insurmountable, but neither our team nor the supporters gave anything less than our all. In the 3rd minute of the last quarter, Yao Zhong was the victim of a heavy tackle from an AJ player after contesting for a loose ball. He crumpled to the court and struggled to get up, clearly winded by the sliding challenge. In true Rafflesian spirit, he managed to get back up and fight on, spurring our team onward. In a display of grit, tenacity and ability, the boys succeeded in battling back and quickly narrowed the gap to 7 points. However, the AJC side managed to hold firm, maintaining their slim lead over RI. Undaunted,  the team pressed on and again tapered the gap to a razor-thin margin of 5 points. In the end, though, our comeback was not to be. The whistle blew with a final scoreline of 44 – 37.

Though we lost the match, both players and supporters left the venue with their heads held high, knowing full well that they had tried their best and given their all for RI.

 

Antony attempting to deceive AJ’s defenders

 

Raffles Press would like to congratulate the guys’ Basketball team for an intense and well-fought match, and would also like to wish them all the best for next year’s season.

Fighting for Every Inch: Hockey Boys Edged Out on Penalties

By Beverly Goh (14S03F) , Carol Yuen (14A01A) and Yu Xin (14S06L)

The Hockey Boys' Team posing for a team photo with their first runners' up medals
The Hockey Boys’ Team posing for a team photo with their first runners’ up medals

Having won 2-1 in last year’s finals against Victoria Junior College, the RI Hockey boys’ team set out to defend its title last Thursday. RI’s endeavour looked promising since the team had triumphed over VJ in a friendly match earlier this year.

VJ asserted their dominance as soon as the match began, bearing down on the RI team with relentless focus. Fortunately, our boys replied in turn, not succumbing to the intimidating challenge. As Jesse Hoo, captain of the team, commented, “We fought them like champions, united as one, fighting for the same vision we had been dreaming of for the past 5 years.”

RI had its opponents under control for most of the game. The players attacked and defended as though they had a full team even when they were three men down in the second half, a result of harsh decisions made by the referees. Three of their key players were sent off within a span of two minutes for minor infractions, whereas the opponent seemed to get away lightly with their fouls.

Venu scored a goal in the first half, to the delight of his teammates and us supporters. However, the referee disallowed a second goal because of obstruction of the first runner by RI players, bewildering spectators who thought RI was 2-0 up. Jesse lamented after the match that this decision came without sufficient explanation and a chance to demand for one.

Cheers from the Victorian crowd were overwhelmingly thunderous compared to the relatively passive Rafflesians due to a significant difference in numbers, but the hockey boys remained intensely focused on the match. While VJ had a reputation for strong short corners, converting almost all of them into goals in previous matches, the RI side valiantly fought back all their attempts and kept the scoreline clear. Even as frustration was building up on the VJ side, a lucky break  for them led to RI conceding a goal in the last two minutes of the match.

With the score tied at 1-1, the game went into extra time. The exhaustion experienced by the players was evident as they made use of every rest opportunity to stretch. Several players had to rely on team members to relieve the cramps in their calves even while the game was ongoing. Tired as they were, they pressed on and performed to the best of their abilities.

Disappointed but not discouraged, they fought back and the score remained even for the entirety of the extra time. The game ended and it was down to the shootout, something they were unprepared for and did not expect. In the shootout, Venu and Benjamin managed to flick the ball into the goalpost and Hakeem, the goalkeeper, successfully denied one of the flicks from the VJ side. However, this was not enough to claim back the golden trophy as players from the VJ side strategically aimed the flicks right above the keeper, while two RI players made mistakes and failed to convert the flicks into goals.

With two misses by RI, the VJ team knew they had won, immediately rushing to hug and celebrate with each other. VJ supporters from the stands sprinted onto the pitch to join in the celebrations. It was a solemn moment for Raffles, as we, students, teachers, councillors, cheerleaders, all stood sharing the pain of the disappointed players on the field. For a long time, we did not budge. Eventually, we slowly made their way onto the pitch to console the team and show our support. Even as we sung our Institution anthem, we knew that nothing would make up for the deep anguish they felt.

The pain on missing out on the championship title is written all over Benjamin Ang's face. Mr Azmy helps him up.
A bitter loss for Raffles Hockey.

The hockey girls, who did not pass the second stage and reach the semi-finals this year, were ardently supporting the guys in the match and sharing the pain of their loss. Despite the result, they were extremely proud of the boys because they knew that the game was theirs and they tried their best. “Even when the odds were against them, they continued to play as a team and we feel that that is all that matters. Well done boys, you guys were inspiring.”

Ask any sportsman, and he’ll tell you that losing is something all athletes have to deal with at some point in their career. Though we may have lost the match, Raffles Press would like to congratulate Raffles Hockey for their fine display of teamwork and tenacity, as well as wishing them all the best in reclaiming the title next year.

Raffles Press, along with the rest of the RI community, wishes Hockey the best of luck in their competition next year

Soccer Girls Strike in Extra Time

By Jonathan Tan (13A01C) and Regina Marie Lee (13A01B)
Additional Reporting by Mr Caleb Liu

Having narrowly lost to Victoria Junior College in the semi-finals the previous week, our soccer girls took to Jalan Besar stadium on Thursday, determined to win their 3rd/4th placing match against Meridian Junior College. “We came in knowing we needed to beat MJ and end the season on a high note,” said Choo Yunting.

The team was confident heading to the match: “Our plan was to play the usual game,” admitted captain Heng Suyun. “After having played the strongest team VJ before this game, we came into this knowing we could do it.”

Team huddle before the match
Team huddle before the match

Still, the game started off cagily with both teams reluctant to commit players forward and keeping the majority of players behind the ball. Neither side could control possession for significant stretches with kick and chase tactics being used to try and open up the opposing side, resulting in a rather scrappy opening ten minutes.

When Raffles did manage to go forward, the majority of our attacks came down the left flank where winger Koo Hui Fen stood out with her good close control and ability to get past her marker. It thus came as no surprise that the best chance of the half came from that route. After some neat interplay down the left flank, Hui Fen managed to get to the bye-line and beat her marker, playing a teasing ball low across the face of the goal from the left edge of the penalty area. With the crowd rising in anticipation, the cross just barely eluded her two waiting teammates who were looking to apply the finishing touch. The Meridian defence gratefully cleared the ball, ending the danger.

Koo Hui Fen skillfully dribbles the ball past a defender
Koo Hui Fen showing good close control

Still, Raffles continued to press on. Midfield dynamo, Liza Tay, in particular, was strong in the tackle, harassing the Meridian players into conceding possession. Her ability to win possession was often a springboard for the Raffles team to surge forward, and led to a few half chances. One of the best came when she won possession on the right, and spotted striker Emiline Elangovan darting into the box. She played a precise through ball, but a heavy first touch from Emiline allowed the Meridian defence time to recover.

Overall, Raffles had the better of the first half with arguably the two best chances, although they didn’t manage a shot on target. Meridian found themselves increasingly pegged back and were limited to two pot shots from well outside the box, which were comfortably dealt with by goalkeeper Chiew Wenqi. Much of the credit for that must fall to a solid Raffles defence, who with the support of their midfield, were able to close down space effectively. Suyun explained, “Our plan was not to panic, hold our ground, and wait for them to come to us. When they (Meridian) were still fit at the start, they could attack us. Hence, we ensured our defence was solid.”

Goalkeeper Chiew Wenqi saves a goal
Goalkeeper Chiew Wenqi collects the ball as her defenders look on gratefully

The second half saw a tactical change by the Raffles team as they brought on Jane Ong on the right. Jane had been kept out of the starting line-up due to a knee injury and her introduction clearly made a difference, with Raffles starting to show more attacking intent. A track and field athlete, she was able to use her pace to good effect, and was noticeably the fastest player on the pitch, despite her injury. The Meridian defence, and the left back in particular, found it increasingly impossible to cope with Jane’s surging runs and ability to drive to the bye-line. Within a few minutes of the restart, the left back was pressured into giving away possession to Jane in a dangerous area, and Meridian was lucky to escape when Jane just failed to find a teammate in the box.

Emiline with the ball
Emiline sprinting towards the goal

As the match wore on Raffles increasingly came to dominate possession with Meridian largely pegged back in their own half. They were able to put balls forward for their wingers to chase, and Liza was able to make a few good probing runs at the Meridian defence from midfield. Where Meridian did manage to clear the ball, it inevitably fell back to a player from the Raffles team, in particular Suyun, who was effective in a midfield anchor role. On a few occasions, crosses from the flanks or Liza’s mazy runs down the middle yielded half-chances, but Raffles’ attack found themselves up against a stubborn Meridian defence which successfully prevented the Raffles players from getting their shots away. It was frustrating for the players, even as they continued to put the Meridian defence under increasing pressure.

Jane takes a free kick
Jane confronts the tough Meridian defence as she takes a free kick

Then came the moment that everyone thought would win the game for Raffles. After good movement down the right, Emiline was able to brilliantly turn her marker and cut the ball back towards the penalty spot. Liza was perfectly placed and struck the ball sweetly, only to see it cannon downward off the crossbar and into the grateful grasp of the Meridian goalkeeper.

Tiredness was visibly getting the better of the players and the match began to peter out, with Meridian conceding possession far too cheaply in their own half. The Meridian striker cut a lonely figure as the rest of her team packed the defence, with up to seven players in their own box. Raffles resorted to trying their luck from distance, with Jane and Liza taking shots from 20 yards without really troubling the keeper. The final whistle saw both teams deadlocked at 0-0 despite Rafflesian dominance.

Meridian came out flying at the start of extra time, showing renewed attacking intent. After largely being on the defensive, they managed to break down the left flank before center-back Shayna Kam made a last-ditch tackle to snuff out the danger. With tiredness affecting both teams, the game become more open and Raffles responded with a break down the left of our own. Hui Fen made a purposeful run down the left, making a neat turn to leave her defender trailing. Ghosting past another defender, she dribbled into a dangerous area, but the Meridian defenders successfully managed to nullify the threat.

Then came the defining moment of the game. With the end of the first period of extra time in sight, Liza picked up a loose ball in midfield, jinked past three defenders on the right and drove in a low cross that fell to Emiline in the box. Unable to turn or get a shot away, she laid the ball off to Hui Fen who found Jane, in space, at the right edge of the penalty area. Jane took one touch to control the ball before sending it curling towards the goal, where it flew over the despairing dive of the Meridian goalkeeper and nestled in the bottom left-hand corner of the net. Jane fell to the ground, her arms raised in both ecstasy and relief, and was soon mobbed by her teammates.

and she scores!
the winning strike

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Later, Jane told us, “I’m really surprised it went in. I was really glad, but I didn’t expect it, because I’ve just come back from an injury and am very unfit.” But nothing less was expected from the team: “I was very relieved when the goal came, but I knew it was coming, I believed that someone would score the goal,” said Suyun.

From then on, Meridian was playing catch-up and much of the exchanges were scrappy. Raffles, playing with ever greater confidence, had a chance to put the game away, when Liza played an excellent through ball to Jane, but her shot lacked enough power to trouble the keeper. They were almost made to pay when a rare defensive lapse led to a Meridian breakaway and a clearance from Shayna fell kindly to the Meridian striker. Thankfully, the Raffles keeper, Wenqi was alert to the attempt to chip her.

There was to be no other moments of high drama, with Raffles showing good discipline and teamwork until tension was finally relieved by the final whistle. The team fully deserved the victory, after a well-organized, astute and dominant performance. It was a solid team performance with everyone working hard for each other. They had a clear game plan to first soak up the pressure and then attack, and this was carried out very effectively. “They played well”, commented Mr Man, their coach, “the defence played well, but for us today, attack was the best form of defence”. I am sure the exhausted Meridian team would agree.

The soccer girls with teachers Mr Leong Chee Mun, Mr Man and Ms Jo Chan
The soccer girls with teachers Mr Leong Chee Mun, Mr Man and Ms Jo Chan

Photos courtesy of the soccer girls.

Raffles Tennis: Champions Once More

By Sushma Pai (14S03R) and Divya Muthiah (14S06C)

Photographs by Zhang Ziyu from the Photographic Society

After a gruelling 3 hour fight, Steve Ng from RI threw out a long shot that secured RI’s 5-0 win against ACS(I) in the tennis group finals. Immediately after the winning shot, he collapsed on the ground in sheer exhaustion as his teammates rushed towards him with beaming faces.

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Steve Ng launching the tennis ball

Steve’s match was the longest out of the ten matches that were played at Kallang Tennis and Squash centre on 9th May. Both matches were played against perennial arch-rivals: ACJC for the girls and ACS(I) for the boys.

The boys’ team put up a stellar performance. In the singles rounds, Lee Kai Yi won with a score of 6-0, 6-2 and Tan Jun Sing dominated his sets 6-0, 6-4. Of our doubles teams, Tan Jia Wei and Benedict Chua finished their games 7-6, 6-1 in an excellent display of teamwork while Basir Koh and Chris Wu put up a solid front as well, winning 6-3, 6-0. Steve Ng also defeated his long-time rival with 6-7, 6-4, 6-1 to top off a series of remarkable victories.

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Lee Kai Yi’s singles

The girls’ team were not to be outdone, coming out ahead in 4 out of 5 games. The three singles matches comprised of Rehmat Johal who made a clean victory, winning 6-0, 6-0, Jennifer Wu, who won 6-4, 6-1 and Hannah Chew who persevered, but unfortunately lost to her opponent, one of the top tennis players in Singapore. In the first doubles, Stephanie Wong and Ting Yang Gin together won 6-4, 6-2. The most exciting match for the girls team was the doubles played by Sabrina Tan and Jean Iau, who played for 2 hours, winning 7-6, 6-7. 6-2.

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Stephanie Wong and Ting Yang Gin in their doubles

The players were ecstatic about their well-deserved victory, being quick to thank their coach for his guidance and support. Yang Gin, when asked if she had expected to perform as well as she did, remarked “Before our match our coach gave us a prep talk and that really boosted our confidence. He made sure that when we went in, we played our best. Even though we can’t control the results we can control how we play. All we had to do was to play our best. So we were confident of winning since we played our best.”

Jennifer and Jean, captain and vice-captain respectively of the girls’ team released a joint statement, “Today was truly amazing, everyone fought their hardest and gave all they had. We couldn’t be more proud of the team for this very difficult win. We also want to thank all our friends and supporters who helped us throughout this season especially when the going got tough.”

For the boys, Jia Wei and Mitchell, the captain and vice-captain had this to say, “From the score line it may seem like a comfortable victory but it was a really tough game for us. We were lucky that we got a favourable lineup too! Really pleased that the team fought back really hard as some of the matches we came back from behind and won! Big thank you to the supporters that came down and CCAD for being constantly behind and supporting the team!”

While the fervour displayed on the tennis court was remarkable, the camaraderie between players outside the court was unforgettable as well. Once players finished their matches, they went on to support their other teammates playing regardless of how tired they themselves were. Every point scored by Team Raffles would be invariably followed by a volley of cheers and encouragement from their ardent supporters. The team spirit and selflessness between the tennis players made the victory all the more impressive.

Supporters were divided into two camps- the RI side and ACS family. Both sides screamed their hearts out, continually waving banners and also breaking out into cheers every now and then. Raffles supporters were more dispersed as we had players in all ten courts whereas ACJC supporters were concentrated around 5 courts and likewise for ACS(I). Despite this, our Rafflesian supporters still did a great job of keeping the Team Raffles spirit raging by roaring till their throats were sore.

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Our Rafflesian supporters

Controlled playing and mental stamina were the keys to success in the tennis matches today. The head coach, Mr Weber Oh said the 5-0 that the boys scored was “one of the epic, best results so far” and was unexpected. Both teams scored better than what they were aiming for. He added that he was really proud as they had worked extremely hard for this day. When enquired about the secret of their success, he remarked, “The line-up was very good. That was an added advantage for us,” and for Steve, the fact that the opponent cramped before he did, helped him. He said “Both of them were equally good, but Steve held his nerve better than his opponent, which can be very difficult under such pressure with so many people watching.”

Raffles Press would like to congratulate the Raffles tennis team for their impressive performance, wishing them the best of luck for next year’s season.