Category: 2015 Season

Of Contracts and Cards: Bridging the Gap

By Louisa Li (16A13A)
Additional reporting by Teo Xue Heng (15S06C)

Hidden behind a veil of confounding and ridiculous sounding terminology (ruff, dummy) is the complex world of Contract Bridge: a realm where only the bravest dare enter, and where only the fittest survive. Over the June holidays, Raffles Bridge sent 2 teams to prove their mettle in the annual Hunger Games, or rather, the National Inter-Schools Bridge Tournament. They engaged in 2 grueling days of intense competition, fought endlessly from 9 in the morning to 7 at night, and eventually emerged from the fray with commendable results- as Champions.

The 2 RI teams consisting of 12 members in total duelled with the other 6 teams in double round robin matches. In an effort to amass Victory Points (20 points per round) to gain an upper hand over their competitors, RI pitted 4 members each round against their opponents, facing fierce competition especially from That Chinese School Near Bukit Timah Road, which sent 3 of the 7 participating teams. To win the tournament, RI had to match their results and beat them head-on as well.

However, it was not a smooth-sailing journey. After a horrifically unexpected 2-18 destruction by VJC in just the second match of the day, RI Team 1 (RI1) bounced back to beat HC Team 1 (HC1) 20-0. RI2, trailing close behind leaders HC1 performed stunningly well after two defeats by winning all the other matches on the first day, including a brilliant 20-0 win over VJC. Cheng Xingyu (16S06M) and Shi Jing Lin (16S06J) in particular played especially well as a partnership to bring in VPs. By the end of the first day, RI2 had propped themselves up to a comfortable 2nd place, trailing HC1 by a mere 4 points. As Bridge Chairperson Teo Xue Heng (15S06C) shared, “both RI teams performed beyond their expectations, except in different ways… so there were mixed feelings going into the second day playing a ‘catchup game’”.

It is with those feelings of trepidation and anticipation that the 2 RI teams went into the second day, and the tables were turned this time. RI1 got off to a very strong start with 20-0 wins over RI2, HC2 and HC3 and 16-4 win against NUSH, but HC1 played just as strongly and the VP difference still remained at about 5 VP before lunch. The turning point came when HC1 lost to RI2 6-14, allowing RI1 to overtake HC1 by 5 VP. The slim lead was maintained until the final game where RI1 had to play HC1 head on. HC1 had to win by at least 5 imps to clinch the championship title, and as an insider shared, “4 imps is almost a non-existent cushion… the scores were dangerously close.” And it did seem like the tides were turning. HC1 slowly built up a 12 imp lead, and all hope was almost lost – until Wang Tingxuan (15S06L) made a 3NT on the final board of the entire tournament to score RI1 10 imps. Despite HC1 beating RI1 by 2 imps, it wasn’t enough to prevent RI1 from clinching the title.

On the other hand, RI2 bounced back from an early 0-20 loss to RI1 to cement their position at third place, having a 19 VP lead over VJC in fourth place before their final head-on match. They could afford to lose 1-19 to VJC and still get third place, but it was not to be: the last set of 8 boards were tough and a slew of errors left them to a punishing 0-20 loss. Despite the good plays and the build-up, RI2 had faltered at the final moment to allow VJC to nick 3rd place away from right under their noses. RI Team 2 Captain Wu Hao Hsuan (15S06C) shares: “It was a really great experience for the team especially for the J1s who will have the opportunity to represent the school again in the Nationals next year. Although RI2 didn’t fare as well as RI1, I think all of us gave our best shot and that’s what really matters. I truly hope that the J1s would treasure this experience and dominate the event next year, bringing back glory to the school.”

RI Team 1 posing with their medals.
RI Team 1 posing with their medals.

All in all, Xue Heng reflects that the journey “wasn’t easy” as “all 3 partnerships in our team had partnership issues at some point or another during this 1.5 years.” Despite that, Raffles Bridge managed to rally together and pull through to emerge victorious, and the last win was “really emotional”. Raffles Press would like to congratulate Raffles Bridge on their victory, and wish them luck for the upcoming tournaments!

Team members:

Team 1: Liu Yuchen (15S06J), Yu Yuxiang (15S06J), Teo Xue Heng (15S06C), Liang Shi Yi (15S06G), Wang Tingxuan (15S06L), Ren Siyu (15S06L).

Team 2: Wu Hao Hsuan (15S06C), Ng Wei Jie (15S03F), Daniel Tan (15S06P), Reuben Foo (15S06L), Cheng Xingyu (16S06M), Shi Jing Lin (16S06J).

They won’t be kicked around: A Division Soccer Girls Finals 2015

By Monica Lee (16S06J)

Photos by Carla Mosqueda (16A03A) of the Raffles Photographic Society

The team huddling before the match begins.
The team huddling before the match begins.

“For our team, every match and victory was a hard-earned victory.”

On the 22nd of May, the Raffles Soccer (Girls) A Division team played their 3rd/4th placing match against Jurong Junior College at the Serangoon Stadium. In spite of the grey skies and humid weather, the team was pumped up and ready for the game. As the clock ticked down to 3 pm, the stands slowly filled with Rafflesian supporters cheering for the girls, and the commentators gave rundowns on JJC’s and RI’s teams. The two teams lined up along the stadium’s tunnel and together with the four referees, took the field to the announcement, “Without further ado, please welcome the teams of Jurong Junior College and Raffles Institution!”. As per usual, the teams engaged in the pre-match handshake in a show of sportsmanship. With a rousing cheer, the RI team broke from their last huddle and fanned out across the field, taking their positions. The stands quietened down, tense. The whistle marked the start of the match, and the fight for third place began.

Right from the kick-off, the team dominated the field, largely containing the game within JJC’s half of the pitch. RI’s attackers were strong and had many chances at the goal, but were unable to capitalise on their runs and passes – the opposing team was clustered in the penalty area, making manoeuvring – and scoring – difficult. Defensively speaking, the team was tight as well. On the occasions that the JJC attackers managed to kick the ball past the halfway line on the field, the team’s midfielders and defenders were almost always able to intercept the ball and send it flying straight back into JJC’s half.

The team displayed impressive footwork in their attempts to evade the JJC defenders. Side-stepping and feinting allowed the players to maintain possession of the ball and put pressure on the opposing team. They were handsomely rewarded for their efforts – RI drew first blood in the match 15 minutes into the first half through Beatrice Yip (#17, 15S03M), who scored the opener with a neat shot driving the ball into the back of the net. Simone Sim (#3, 15S03H) then scored the second goal of the match within a mere two minutes of the first, extending RI’s lead to 2-0.

JJC put up a valiant fight as well: for a few tense minutes, JJC’s players managed to press deep into our team’s  half of the field and sought to score a goal, but good defending on RI’s part by Captain Victoria Goh (#10, 15S03S) sent the ball out of our half and back into JJC’s territory. The next few minutes saw the ball in a constant back-and-forth between JJC’s and RI’s territory. It ended with JJC claiming their first goal of the match, kicking in a well-positioned shot past the RI goalkeeper. The team quickly regained their momentum and went back on the offensive, showing skillful control over the ball and deft footwork. The team made multiple good runs, but were unfortunately unable to get past JJC’s defence; the game went into the halftime break with RI leading at 2-1.

Just a minute into the second half, Simone Sim (#3, 15S03H) scored her second goal with an assist from K Keerthana (#7, 15S06D). RI continued to dominate play, riding the momentum to a fourth goal by K Keerthana (#7, 15S06D). In response, JJC rallied, putting in a well-placed high ball that gained them their second goal of the match and forced RI to go on the defensive. The team soon regained their advantage – solid defence and sharp attack prevented JJC from penetrating too deeply into RI’s half, and gave the RI attackers chances to further widen the scoreline.

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Goh Ming Wei (#9, 16S06F) taking a free kick.

25 minutes into the second half, the team managed to once again pull ahead of JJC, with Beatrice Yip (#17, 15S03M) propelling the ball past the JJC goalkeeper’s outstretched arms into the back of the net with a low shot. This brought the scoreline to 5-2 to Raffles. Tensions ran high as the game went into the last 10 minutes. Clashes and tumbles were not uncommon – at one point, a JJC player appeared to push one of our team’s players, prompting shouts of ‘Foul!’ from the stands. The team managed to contain JJC by constantly intercepting their passes, keeping gameplay in their half of the pitch. As the match progressed, JJC’s players appeared to willingly concede throw-ins, kicking the ball out of play whenever RI’s attackers got too close for comfort – most likely in a bid to halt the progression of the RI attackers.

Raffles scores a goal.
Raffles scores a goal.

In the dying moments of the game, JJC’s players fought hard to make a comeback, but were ultimately unable to narrow the gap in the scoreline. 3 minutes of extra time were called; despite finding themselves trailing 5-2, JJC commendably pushed on, striving to equalise the score – but they could find no chink in the armour of our team’s unyielding defense. The match concluded with the girls securing a decisive victory.

In the words of Captain Victoria Goh (#10, 15S03S), “The team worked really, really hard for this whole season. We are glad that the months of training have really paid off.” Indeed, the RI Soccer Girls team played wonderfully, ending the game on a well-deserved win of 5-2, and emerging victorious to claim 3rd place in the 2015 A Division Girls’ Football Championships. Even more impressive is the fact that soccer is not traditionally regarded as a girls’ game and so girls are typically not given a chance to learn it – with no DSA admissions, most of the team started out as newcomers to the game just last year. That they managed to pick up the game in the short span of a year stands as testament to the long, grueling hours of training they put in: at least 3 sessions a week, with trainings increasing in frequency in the lead up to their season. As the captain said, “I would really like to thank my team for training so hard and putting in their all, and just simply running for every single ball and never giving up.” She credited the team’s coaches and teacher-in-charge for their “commendable dedication”, adding that their victories “would not have been possible without our coaches, especially Mr. Leong, Mr. Man, and Mr. Iqbal, and also our teacher, Mrs. Cheng.” It was evident that afternoon that the team played not just for school pride, or for glory, or for the win; they played for the love of this beautiful, beautiful game. Raffles Press would like to congratulate the team for their victory and wish them the best of luck in their future competitions!

The team after a successful match!
The team after a successful match!

Scoring by half

RI vs JJC:

1st half: 2-1

2nd half: 3-1 (5-2)

Scorers:

Simone Sim (#3, 15S03H) – 2 goals

Beatrice Yip Kai Wen (#17) – 2 goals

K Keerthana (#7, 15S06D) – 1 goal

RI Roster:

Abinaya Mahatma (#1, 15S06H)

Vanessa Chen Hui En (#2, 15S03O)

Simone Sim (#3, 15S03H)

Low Fay E Reis (#4, 15S07B)

Syahirah Humaira Bte Amrun (#5, 15S07A)

Filzah Hanis Binte Osman (#6, 15S03T)

K Keerthana (#7, 15S06D)

Varenya d/o Uthay Kumaran (#8, 15S03L)

Goh Ming Wei (#9, 16S06F)

Victoria Goh Sze Hui (#10, 15S03S)

Chong Yan Wen (#11, 15S03F)

Sisyena Anusha Gunaravi (#12, 15S03S)

Ong Pei Jie Janelle (#13, 15S06B)

Guo Shibei (#14, 15S06L)

Liu Chen Yu Jessica (#15, 15S06N)

Leong Kylie (#16, 15S06C)

Beatrice Yip Kai Wen (#17, 15S03M)

Valerie Lee Sze Jie (#20, 15S06E)

Victoria Tan Yee Ling (#21, 15A01D)

Zahirah Rosle (#23, 16A01C)

Holding the Court: Badminton Finals 2015

By Adelyn Tan (16A01E), Choo Shuen Ming (16A01E) and Huang Jiawen (16S06G)
Photos by Hee Xin Wei (15S03I) and Chang Po Chun (16S03K)

20th May saw our Badminton Girls playing their finals against NYJC for a shot at 2nd runners’ up, and our Badminton Boys going toe-to-toe against AC in a bid to earn the championship title for this season. With four matches going on at once, the atmosphere in Toa Payoh Sports Hall was tense, with a strong show of support from spectators looking forward to intense performances from both the Girls and Boys’ teams.

Badminton is a deceptively simple sport, requiring players to win rallies so as to score points; when a player wins a rally and scores a point, they then serve again from the alternate service court. The side that first scores 21 points, or 2 more points than their opponent in the event of a deuce, wins a game and wins the match once they win three games.

Wei Yee (16S03K) represented the RI Badminton Girls in their first match of the day. One would expect the very first player of the day stepping up to the court to suffer from bouts of nervousness, but Wei Yee was confident in her strokes, maintaining a comfortable lead throughout the game. Not long after the match had started, she managed to secure a win for RI, boosting the morale of the team and their supporters, setting the mood for the next game.

In the doubles, we had Kelly Tan (15S07B) and Charissa Wong (15S03G) in the first doubles, and Charis Chan (16S07A) and Elizabeth Yaw (16S06C) in the second. The coordination within each pair was seamless, enabling the RI girls to maintain strong lines of defense while directing their attacks at the blind spots in their opponents’ line of defense. Keeping up a steady momentum, both pairs sailed smoothly to victory with scores of 21 – 09, 21 -11 for the last games of the 1st and 2nd doubles matches respectively.

badminton1
Chin Wei Yee (16S03K)

Particularly intense was the RI badminton girls’ 2nd singles match of the day, the follow-up game to two winning streaks, played by Chung Shiqi (16S06O). A seasoned and experienced badminton player, Shiqi had a powerful smash that she often used to her advantage. After dashing to the front of the net for the shuttlecock and sending it flying to the end of the court opposite to where her opponent was positioned, she won the first game with a clean score of 21-13. At the beginning of the second game, while Shiqi initially had a lead, her adversary soon began to catch up. The crowd watched with bated breath as the match turned into a battle of wits, skill and strength with many impressive moves made on the part of both players. Despite facing intense pressure, Shiqi kept up the pace, edging her opponent out point by point. Finally pulling away from her opponent towards the 20-point mark, she ended the game with a decisive hard slam, securing the 3rd match for RI girls’ team with a score of 22-20. All the players held their own with impressive footwork and technique, never faltering under pressure and showing remarkable teamwork when playing doubles, clinching their well-deserved third place title for RI.

Likewise, the Badminton Boys fought the good fight, keeping their opponents on their toes at every turn. Their first two games were closely matched — with supporters cheering them on all the way, the players put in all their effort and never once gave up or allowed frustration to get the better of them. Our boys fought hard till the very end, leaving the court with their heads held high despite their losses in the first two games.

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Qi Xueqian (16S06F).

RI proceeded to turn up the heat in the next two games, beginning with the 2nd Singles game played by Chin An (15S07A) who kept the game all over the court, consistently keeping the pressure up. He made several drop shots, clearly outmatched his opponent with his skilful net play, and won the RI Boys’ team its first game of the afternoon with impressive scores of 21-8 and 21-3.

The strong play was sustained through the 2nd Doubles, with Li Zhengxi (15S06B) and Jackie Tan (15S03C) showing commendable coordination, keeping it point for point with AC from the very beginning. With three points scored by AC within the span of a minute early in the game, the tension in the hall was palpable, only heightened by AC equalizing with RI at the 14th point. A neck-and-neck game right from the very start, both pairs made many comebacks, keeping the scoreline extremely tight. With capable players on both sides, there was a great deal of skill on display, with the point gap steadily narrowing and culminating in an intense last bout. Despite the pressure, both players kept their cool, worked together, and pushed through to win their second game. (21-19, 21-19)

With the score at 2-2, it all came down to the final game between Daryl Ng (15S06S) and Ronald Yeo of AC. Arguably the most breathtaking game of the afternoon, the final Boys’ singles saw a huge variety of lobs, smashes and drop shots traded all over the court, with Daryl containing Ronald impressively well in the first set (21-11). The second set followed with both players keeping each other on their toes, the point gap closing rapidly as the minutes passed, equalizing at the 14th point. A series of deuces ensued with scores keeping both sides on knife-edge as an epic exchange ended the set, only ending when AC took a victory 24-22.

It was down to the final set to determine if RI would win the championship title. It was one which saw RI not get off to a good start, with a 1-4 scoreline in AC’s favour during the first few minutes. At this point, Daryl put down his racquet, took a bit of a walk on the court, took a drink, and then came back in every sense of the phrase. Within moments, it was evident that his form was much more on point, with a series of smashes that led to a 6-6 equalizing comeback. A few more rallies brought us to a scoreline of 8-9, and a realization that this RI-AC match was the only match in the entirety of the hall which was still on. A long rally between the players saw total silence from all within the four walls of the sports hall. A kind of magic hung in the air, as everyone watched a stunning display of agility and grace, spellbound, and the only sounds were those of the skids and hits as they played – a stark contrast to the how the RI supporters erupted in thunderous cheers when Daryl scored to equalize after that particularly intense rally. The spectators held their breath when the scoreline reached 20-14, and a final quick smash brought RI to a score of 21-14 and the championship title for the Badminton Boys

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Captain Daryl Ng (15S06S).

“We really wanted this. We wanted to make it count,” as quoted by Kelly, the Girls’ captain. The afternoon truly was a triumphant battle of wits, endurance and strength from both the Boys and Girls’ teams. Perhaps best summed up by Vice Captain Zhengxi: “We came here. We did our job. Job well done.” Indeed it was. From us here at Raffles Press, well done, Badminton teams! Our sincere well – wishes for all future competitions following an incredible season this year.

“Raffles is golden, witness the moment.” – Daryl Ng, Boys’ Captain (15S06S)

Raffles Badminton 2015:
Boys: Daryl Ng (15S06S), Li Zhengxi (15S06B), Eng Chin An (15S07A), Jackie Tan (15S03C), Nigel Siew (15S97B), Ong Xing Xiang (16S06N), Zhu Bolin (16S03F), Neo Wei Ren (16S03M), Qi Xueqian (16S06F), Deo Teo (16S03S)

Girls: Kelly Tan (15S07B), Lee Shu Zhen (15A03A), Charissa Wong (15S03G0, Chin Wei Yee (16S03K), Charis Chan (16S07A), Elisabeth Yaw (16S06C), Goh Jia Ling (16S06S), Agnes Tan (16S06N), Zuo Hao Lin (16S03N)

Finals Lineup:
Boys:
1st singles: Zhu Bolin
1st doubles: Deo Teo & Qi Xueqian
2nd singles: Eng Chin An
2nd doubles: Li Zhengxi & Jackie Tan
3rd singles: Daryl Ng

Girls:
1st singles: Chin Wei Yee
1st doubles: Kelly Tan & Charissa Wong
2nd singles: Chung Shiqi
2nd doubles: Charis Chan & Elizabeth Yaw
3rd singles: Lee Shu Zhen

All in for Raffles: A Division Netball Finals 2015

By Gladys Lim (16S03K)
Photographs by Hee Xin Wei (15S03I) and Gabrielle Jeyaseelan (15S06A) of Raffles Photographic Society

Raffles Netballers huddle with River Valley Netballers after the game.

Raffles entered the last game of their season unbeaten, but not complacent. Despite the clean sweep of their last 7 games, the team had trained hard and stayed dedicated this year, and the fighting spirit blazed in each one of them that afternoon on 22 May, as they readied themselves for the pivotal match of their season. The final match was against River Valley High School (RV), whose team had been credited for making it to the finals with only 9 players, and to boot, had clinched victory against tough opponents from Hwa Chong Institution. But in spite of this, the Raffles team was determined to put on the best fight of their season.

Once the match commenced, RV started off with the first centre pass, but a missed catch by their team’s Goal Attack (GA) coupled with a quick pick up by our team’s GA Tessa Wong, and an accurate shot by Goal Shooter (GS) Isabelle Belanger put our team ahead of their opponents. This boosted the Rafflesian team’s morale and steadied their play. Jeimin, who played in Centre position, provided good support for the team with her effective leaps and considerable reach. Timely runs and good flow on the attacking side allowed the team to take a comfortable lead of 14-6 at the end of the first quarter.

Wing Attack (WA) Freda Mah in a leap to catch the ball.

In the second quarter, our team’s defence increased the intensity of our play. Good coverage by our Wing Defense (WD) Yvonne Goh, enabled Goal Defense (GD) Rukimini Roy and Goal Keeper (GK) Ayshath Zaseela to intercept and make turnovers for the team. Our tight defence cut off RV’s offensive path, making it tough for them to advance their attacks. The pressure led to a held ball that gave Raffles possession. Nearing the end of the quarter, GD Rukmini Roy made a dash out of the goal circle for an unexpected interception from their opponent’s Wing Attack (WA). The second quarter concluded with Raffles putting in 17 shots and RV putting in 5 shots.

Goal Shooter (GS) Isabelle Belanger taking a shot.

Entering the third quarter, Raffles continued their lead but RV did not give in. A long lob into their goal circle was successfully shot in by their GA. Yet, we stayed alert and WA Freda Mah was able to make an interception and score. The shooters and mid-court players communicated well during a smooth trade of passes between WA Freda Mah and GA Tessa Wong. They were assisted by Eyu Yan Yan, who took the court as a Centre. She displayed keen foresight and made quick runs into free space. Tessa Wong also executed swift movements in the goal third with GS Isabelle Belanger who helped put in shots. With a score of 42-19 in favour of Raffles, the quarter drew to a close.

For the last quarter, the coach substituted some players in to give all the team members an opportunity for court time and to experience the adrenaline on court. Nadia Quek took on the position of GA and scored an accurate shot a fair distance away from the goal post. Natalie Rodrigues who entered as a WD also put up a good show with her skilful deflections and interceptions. On the defensive side, GD Grace Tay made some powerful jumps against her opponents in the goal circle. Geraldyn Leong played as WA and did exceptional feeding of the ball to the shooters, ensuring that the opponent’s defenders could not challenge the ball. River Valley on the other hand, made conservative short passes to put in 8 more shots. The game ended with a score of 52-29 to Raffles, securing our girls a triumphant victory.

To the spectators, the competition faced by Raffles Netball may have seemed insignificant – judging from their seemingly easy victory. But they undoubtedly faced much internal pressure to succeed. For this season, the team’s regular coach, who had been out due to the upcoming Southeast Asian Games, was substituted by a former national coach, Mr Goh Seck Tuck. Tessa Wong (15S07A), Captain of the Raffles Netball team says, “Coach was very serious, dedicated and experienced. He was straightforward, and expected only the best from us, yet was understanding of the struggles we went through. He has taught us to fight against the odds, and helped us to enrich our capabilities, such as by challenging us [through giving] new drills.” Indeed, their coach had impressed the beauty of overcoming obstacles not as one, but as a whole, upon the Netball team. For everyone, it had indeed been a memorable season as each had a unique takeaway and renewed passion for the sport, especially after constant and tiring – but meaningful – trainings to amp up for the match. There was one thing the team would be sure to remember: the sky’s the limit. Every process determines the outcome, and indeed it was a well-deserved championship title for Raffles Netball.

A very proud Raffles Netball team.

List of Players:
Ayshath Zaseela, Isabelle Belanger, Grace Tay, Natalie Rodrigues, Freda Mah, Eyu Yan Yan, Geraldyn Leong, Rukmini Roy, Tessa Wong Ting, Yvonne Goh, Tang Jeimin

RI Cricket Dismantles ACS (I) with a 9-wicket Win

By Shikhar Gupta (15S06M)
Photos by Shikhar Gupta (15S06M) and Choo Shuen Ming (16A01E)

Right from the very start, this had been RI’s game to lose. Having defeated ACS (I) in the group stages previously, the mood was buoyant in the pavilion of an RI victory. Even then, ACS (I) showed an initial spark of fighting fire as the first four balls saw three boundaries off Vinay Gupta’s (15S03J) spin. Not much happened after that, with ACS(I) generally restricted to a run-rate below 6 runs per over (RPO) – a par score for the ‘A’ Division level – and wickets falling at a steady rate.

Following the 12 runs conceded from the first over, ACS (I) found the spin-pace duo of Vinay and Himanshu Kubal (15S06G) difficult to hit, and lost their first wicket on the first ball of the 3rd over to a sharp catch at slip by Vivek Tadikamalla (15S06M). Even with the fast outfield aiding them, the boundaries for ACS dried up, leaving them with just a single boundary outside the six fours that the openers shared between them.

RI’s wicketkeeper Harish Thiyagarajan (16S03F) runs out the last ACS (I) batsman on the final ball (Photo: Shikhar Gupta)

RI did have lapses of concentration in their fielding, with a missed run-out, two dropped catches and a couple of overthrows, but the tight bowling kept the runs from bleeding and the wickets falling. Eventually, ACS (I) were bundled out for 88 runs, losing a wicket to a run-out on the last ball.

Striding out to bat, Ameen (16S06M) and Kaushik (15S06G) plundered 20 runs off the first over with three 4s and a 6. The next over saw another 16 runs, and by 2.4 overs, RI had brought up their fifty score. Balls were continually peppered down leg-side by the ACS (I) bowlers, and the fact that they were short of length just gave Ameen and Kaushik every excuse to send them screaming over the leg-side boundary.

Ameen plays a shot on the leg-side (Photo: Shikhar Gupta)

Occasionally, ACS (I) bowled deliveries on the middle and off-stump, but the deliveries hardly gave the RI openers any trouble, with Ameen clobbering one ball over cover for 4. There were also a few deliveries stopped well by point and short third man, but it hardly did anything to stem the tide of runs. By the end of the fourth over, RI had been blasting away at 14.75 RPO, and the required runs had fallen to a mere 20 off 96 balls.

Sixes were aplenty in the RI innings, with Kaushik blasting the first one off the second delivery he faced, pulled strongly over fine leg. Ameen did not hold back either, with a strong pull giving him his first 6 of the day. The poor ACS (I) bowling also conceded 15 extras, propelling RI even more quickly towards the 89-run total.

Ameen scored 52 runs (not out) off 24 deliveries (Photo: Shikhar Gupta)

Throughout the match, Kaushik was firmly in control of the RI innings, and provided a steady anchor with ones and twos. Over at the other end, Ameen unleashed a flurry of attacking strokes to bring up his 50 in just 20 balls, reaching the landmark through two consecutive sixes on the leg-side. There was a minor bit of drama, as the ball could not be recovered after one of Ameen’s sixes. This situation, coupled with the impending rain, raised fears that all of RI’s efforts would be for naught if the game was washed out with just 7 runs to win. Soon after, play resumed, but after bringing up his 50, Ameen defended the next four balls to give Kaushik the chance to hit the winning runs.

In a bit of an anti-climax, ACS (I) managed to claim the wicket of Kaushik on the first ball of the 6th over as he tried to slam the ball over long-on, but found himself clean bowled. It was a wicket for ACS (I), but a completely inconsequential one, for the game ended two deliveries later with a bye.

RI displayed complete dominance, in both bowling and batting. Deservedly, Kaushik and Ameen were the stars of the day, scoring 74 runs and taking 6 wickets between them. Even the coach was effusive in his praise, calling their performance “splendid”.

The team poses for the post-match photo (Photo: Choo Shuen Ming)

Even with his brilliant innings, Ameen was modest after the match, pointing out that “doing it for the team is more important than the individual achievement”, but added that all his shots were being pleasantly hit by the middle of the bat, allowing him to race to 52 off 20 balls.

As the rest of the team strode onto the pitch in a boisterous manner to celebrate, Kaushik had tears in his eyes and hugged Ameen tightly, citing the fact that in the past few seasons he had “let [the team] down, and this [game] was a good send-off”. Evidently, his plan to bowl dot-balls to build up pressure had worked very well and had snared him 4 wickets.

Sidanta Gunasinghe (15S03K), the Captain of the RI team, gave credit to ACS (I) for putting RI “on the back-foot right at the start” with 12 runs off the first over. However, he showed faith in his bowlers’ ability to “take on any opponent” and was rewarded handsomely with all ten wickets.

The game was a one-sided affair, but had plenty of action to satisfy neutrals and the RI support. For a team to be cruising at a run rate just below 17 RPO is tremendous any way you put it, and it is now up to next year’s team to pick up the mantle from where it has been placed. The win is even sweeter as it sees the title return to RI after the loss last year. In the meantime, let’s congratulate the RI side and join them in celebration.

Final Scoreline
RI 89 for 1 (Ameen 52*, Kaushik 22) beat ACS (I) 88 all-out (Santosh 15, Kaushik 4-16, Ameen 2-18)