Wednesday, March 5, 2014

IHG Floorball by Sean Lim

v Hall 7 WIN 5-0 (Prelims)
v Hall 6 WIN walkover (Prelims)
v Hall 3 WIN 7-1 (Quarters)
v Hall 15 WIN 3-0 (Semis)
v Hall 16 LOSE 2-6 (Final)
Tuesday, 4 March 2014
Our floorball team finished overall 2nd in the 2-day long unofficial IHG Floorball competition.
With no actual IHG ranking points at stake, the 2-day long event really lent itself to the spirit of fun, entertainment and bonding. In spite of that, there was no letting up on our team's part; when you put on that white jersey (with the exception of waterpolo; trunks in that case), you have an obligation to defend the pride of Hall 2.
Arun Vinoth, who is fast becoming Hall 2's sporting equivalent of an odd-job worker, was again pressed into emergency service as a goalkeeper. Whereas he had at least played in goal for soccer during his JC days, V was starting from scratch this time. Being a floorball goalkeeper is a different beast altogether, such is the immense stress of being on your knees and wearing a padded suit, so V deserves a lot of credit for performing so well in such an awkward situation.
Led by Captain/legend Muhd Azhari and closely advised by Senior Advisor/legend Shukri Abdul Jalil, our floorball team was quite the fearsome prospect. In the team also were SUNIG/IVP players like Abdul AdibClarice YungShireen Pj and Abdul Loves Wafiy, who will also be starring as a peasant in Bookends this weekend. Ambush marketing aside, at full flow our team was simply unstoppable.
The first game was a fairly straight forward win, in which our team used to get used to a floorball stick again; we also had many experienced players, but most if not all of them have not touched a stick in close to a year. In a 3-team group, the non-appearance of Hall 6 meant that Hall 7 and ourselves qualified for the quarters automatically, where we would renew our rivalry with our brethren in yellow.
Perhaps we were too focused on trying our best, but the 1st line somehow allowed Hall 3 to score within 30 seconds of the start, which was the exact opposite of how things were supposed to go. Visibly affronted at the sheer audacity of our air-conditioned friends to actually score against us, the team spent the rest of the game making sure our friends in yellow regretted it. Before long, we had equalised and pulled away into the sunset, but even then the pressure was relentless, such was the determination to get back at the goal conceded.
The semis against Hall 15 was a different thing altogether. Aware that they played with their 3 strongest male players at the back, the plan was apply unceasing pressure on the backline to not even give them a sniff at our goal via the counterattack. On that count we were fairly successful; Hall 15 had about 2 shots on V, both going over, while we had as much shots in this game as we had in the rest of the games combined. Their goalkeeper kept them in the game, making save after save after save. Eventually though, our pressure told as we managed to carve out some gilt-edged chances that even the best keeper in the world would have no chance against.
As we expected, our final was a very tight affair. 16 generally controlled the game, while we focused on keeping our defensive shape tight and looked to spring Nicholas Tai and Zeng Shiting on the counterattack. At 1-0 down, we kept our heads up and eventually managed to tie the game at 1-1. However, a fluke goal that was basically a mis-hit pass that was swung at wildly by 16's forward, distracting V, meant that we went down again. On the balance of play the game was fairly even, but the difference was the cold-blooded clinical finishing of Hall 16, whereas we were guilty of spurning some open chances.
Nevertheless, 2nd place is a commendable achievement, and it is an improvement over last year's 3rd place. With so many players still only in their freshman year, one can expect next year's team to be an even better one. The most important thing, however, was that the team as a whole enjoyed themselves, proving that fun and competition can go hand-in-hand.

Friday, February 28, 2014

IHG Track Finals by Shukri Abdul Jalil

Track Finals
Overall 1st

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

This year's track finals was unlike any other Hall 2 has ever experienced, primarily because it was the first time in three years that we had a very strong chance of breaking Hall 3's dominance on the track. This was evident from our performance in the heats, where we qualified top for 3 events.
A last-minute change of date, however, threatened those chances as this meant that strong runners such as Toh Wee HongAngela Yap and Mainisah Buang would not be able to run for the hall due to other commitments. The team, though initially demoralized, quickly picked themselves up and used the disappointment to fuel their desire to win the championship in spite of the circumstances. They hit the track almost every night doing disgusting workouts no one knew was possible.
The loss of Mai and Angela also meant that the girls 4x100m team was in need of 2 more runners, which was not an easy task as all. Clarice Yung and Pei Ying were only drafted in as replacements 3 days before and baton passing training was only done on Saturday night, a mere 9 hours before the finals.

This also meant that Hall 2 running queens, Esther Bobby Ng and Wang Ling Toh will have to run 2 lactic-overloading events back to back; one does not simply run a 400m and 800m consecutively just like that. The body’s lactic threshold needs to be of a formidable level to perform such a task. As such, Captain/Coach Shukri took it upon himself to train these two queens for such a grueling task. This included doing long distance sprints such as 300s and 600s over and over again. But their bubbly personas meant that they pulled through with ease.
All was not sunny for the guys either, though they manage to qualify first for both 4x100m and 4x400m during the heats without Track King Wee Hong. Knowing that other halls will overhaul their relay teams to challenge them meant that our guys’ team needed to do so as well.Terence Cheng came to their rescue to replace the unavailable Wee Hong for 4x100m but this also meant that the race strategy had to be overhauled as no one as is as fast as the Track King/IVP Captain/IVP Champion/Legend. The 4x400m guys had to make do with they have and trained to prepare themselves for a tight battle to come. Clinton Chua Ming KianEmmanuel Chia and Lewis Kun all cut seconds during training leaving Captain Shuk as the only burden to the team both in terms of looks and improvement.

With all the trainings and hard work put in the last week, it was time to prove to the rest of the halls that even without our best, we are still the best.
Sunday. Our trackers hardly muttered a word as they started to warm up. Anger and hunger could be seen in their eyes as they did their drills and race preparation.
First up was the 4x100m F. Camellia Goh did a very good job in giving our hall a good position when she passed the baton over to Clarice, however faster halls quickly caught up leaving Clarice 5th or 6th by the time the baton was handed over to our track/hockey queen Shireen.Shireen Pj did an excellent job burning the curve to quickly catch up to second place and it was all left to Pei Ying. The girls lost out to a podium finish by a photo finish; it was that close. Our girls came in 4th and it was a very proud performance by our under-strength 4x100m girls team.
The guys’ 4x100m was next. Things were according to plan as Captain Shuk’s strong start gave our hall a slight lead over the other halls. Terence ran a superb second leg but ironically it was because he ran too fast that cost us a few seconds. He was too fast that by the time he reached Soon Chuen, both were not even in the legal passing zone to hand over the baton. For a good 3 seconds, there was a circus performance going on between the two of them and by the time Soon Chuen had the baton (legally), he had a mountain to climb and climb he did. The track almost melted from his tremendous speed passing the baton to our shining star Fadli in 3rd position. But it was a case of too little too late as he only managed to overtake another runner, helping the team (legally) finish second. The track was on fire from his speed though; they had to douse it with some sand and water afterwards.
The fact that Hall 3 was without their SEA Games runner for the 4x400m F meant that we had a chance for an upset. Camellia dubbed the "pom cha cha" 400m runner was very disappointing as she was so fast that she didn't had time to dance for us in the last 100m unlike in the heats. Jokes aside, she improved by 5 seconds from her heats, which was quite amazing, to handover in 4th position. Shireen made no fuss in closing up the gap, improving by 2 seconds to push the team up to 3rd. Esther was up next, overtaking Hall 3 in the process, but disaster struck when the runner she overtook accidentally stepped on her shoe, causing her to lost her shoe and stumble in the process.
What she did next was what Hall 2 is about. A true reflection of our sportsmanship, she ran back to her shoe and removed it from the track, preventing it from obstructing any runners. Though she lost precious seconds, she still managed to handover the baton at 4th. Just like Esther, Wang Ling too ran her heart out despite also having an 800m race coming up. But the gap left by the accident was one too big and despite her best efforts, our girls finished 4th yet again, just 2 seconds behind 2nd placed Hall 3. It has been that kind of day.

The second last event was a pretty exciting featuring our good-looking (especially Captain Shuk) 4x400m runners. It was going to be a close affair right from the start. As expected, Captain Shuk was a burden when he pulled his groin as he was going out of the blocks. Clearly slower and struggling (from 51.1 secs to 51.7 secs), he finished his leg tied with Hall 16 at first and Sports King Emmanuel Chia did not have such as straightforward a job as he did in the heats. Despite that, he still did fantastically, improving by a full second and handing the baton over to Hall King Clinton Chua again tied first with Hall 16. Clinton’s determination gave him the lead for a good 200m but the tactical Hall 16 runner waited till the last 100m to get back the lead. By the time the baton reached our final runner Lewis, guessed what? We are again almost tied for first with Hall 16 but Hall 3 having a stronger last runner meant that Lewis had to defend second place from the fast-approaching man in yellow. Only upon hearing his second name "Handsome" from the crowd did he realise that he needed to speed up and left the Hall 3 last runner in his wake to finish 2nd. Again they were clearly disappointed but it was a 3 seconds overall improvement by the boys from their heats performance. The boys decided to cheer themselves up by claiming that it was better without Wee Hong as the race would have otherwise been too boring; Wee Hong would have shaved 10 seconds off by himself.
The final race was the grueling 4x800m medley featuring Wangling, dancer Jordan, Esther and Commando Basketballer Ansong. Wang Ling gave a good start to Hall 2 as she run an IVP-level timing of 2:50. Giving Jordan a good base to dance his way through, he was so fast it was unclear if he was dancing or running but the end product was he finished his leg second behind Hall 3 with a time of 2:13. Esther on the other hand had a tougher job as she was sandwiched by 3 IVP runners and it was no surprise that she came in 4th at the end of her leg with a good time of 3:05. Commando Ansong was up and Hall 14 who was 4th had a long lead for him to claw back, which he did. He kept eating away at the lead but realised he was too full 1cm before the finishing line, hence finishing 4th with a personal split of 2:14. Yet again it was a close miss for a podium finish. But this was the best ever 4x800m performance in Hall 2 history. Never before was there a Top 8 finish so it was an excellent job by the 800m runners.
Overall Hall 2 got 29 points from the finals, finishing 2nd behind Hall 3. However, this was before technicalities got in the way. It was deemed that Hall 3 had two cases of obstruction, one in the 4x100m guys and another was in the 4x400 girls where it was against our very own Esther. As a result, Hall 3 were disqualified from both events, leaving Hall 2 champions with the following results from the races:
4x100m F 4th
4x100m M 1st
4x400m F 3rd
4x400m M 2nd
4x800m Medley 4th
We hence conclude this report with one word: K****.
Word count: 1577
Masters Thesis written by Shukri Abdul Jalil

Thursday, February 27, 2014

IHG Soccer by Sean Lim

Soccer Finals vs Hall 3
Lost 2-2 (0-3 Penalties)

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Hope is a very powerful tool. In the wrong hands, it can be used to threaten and blackmail. In the right minds, however, it is the source of miracles, the inspiration for the comeback of a lifetime. And tonight, our Hall 2 Soccer team so nearly did it.
Conceding right at the stroke of half-time was a bitter pill to swallow, an end-result of an offside trap went wrong. The Hall 2 backline stood statue-esque as the ball was played into the area, hands raised in appeal. However, the most crucial thing, the linesman’s flag, did not. Hall 3’s forward was left with an easy finish inside Vinoth's near-post.
Disappointed, yes, but still they believed. Down but not out.
No one would have blamed them for throwing in the towel after the 2nd goal was conceded in equally disappointing circumstances. The ball was sent back into the mixer after Yong Geng Tan headed it out, with the defence again failing to step-up in time. Amidst a sea of confusion, Hall 3 had scored again. Game, set and match?
Not quite. Farhan Azmi had been feeding on scraps all game, a result of
wingers Dalston Leong and Nicholas Tai having to place stopping the Hall 3 wingers as their main priority. When an innocuous-looking punt from Vinoth arrived in his and his 2 markers’ vicinity, he had no right to expect anything. But Farhan still believed. This belief led him to gamble on his markers fluffing their lines, which they did. Now with the ball but with 2 markers on him, and 25m out, Farhan could do nothing but to gamble again. A sidefoot shot that lobbed over the keeper, Hall 2 had pulled one back. Farhan had helped Hall 2 believe again. Game on.
With the wind in their sails, both metaphorically and literally, there was a sudden spring in Hall 2’s steps. After a tactical reshuffle that saw Brendan Liang join Farhan up top, with Satyajeet Akhilesh dropping into defence and Wong Zi Hao Billy moved to the right, Hall 2 suddenly seemed so much dangerous.
And this was to prove the pivotal change. A cross by Billy towards the near-post seemed to have fallen just short being threatening, but Farhan was on to it in a flash. Taking one touch to control the ball while under pressure from a defender and the onrushing goalkeeper, he took another to flick the ball in the general direction of the goal. Time seemed to crawl to a standstill as the ball took an eternity to approach the goal. Surely but slowly, the ball then nestled in the net. Hall 2 are level. Cue wild celebrations of joy and exhilaration.
From 2-0 up and dry to 2-2, with the lottery of a penalty shootout coming right up, the mind of a Hall 3 player was definitely not the best place to be in at the end of regulation time. But they had their keeper to thank, as he pulled off 3 jaw dropping saves to get the shutout he could not achieve in regulation time, and secured the championship for Hall 3.
A Hall 2 win would have made the comeback story complete, but history is littered with teams that are fondly remembered despite having never won: Hungary 1954, the Magical Magyars that taught England a breathtaking lesson. Holland 1974, where Johann Cruyff and his band of free spirits taught the world the wonders of pressing, ball retention and positional rotation. Brazil 1982, simply for the unbridled joy that their football contained.
This is not quite on that level, but what this team will be remembered for is their belief in the power of hope. Even if it was only for a fleeting moment, thank you for making us believe again.

Photo Credits: Benedict Ong

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

IHG Basketball (M) Finals

Basketball M vs Hall 6
Lost 63-72

Monday, 24 February 2014
SRC Sports Hall 2, NTU

In the men’s finals, Hall 2 fell 63—72 to Hall 6 in a pulsating final that will live long in the memory of those present.
Chua Kian Kok and Choon Hao Wei had their usual stellar displays, always at the heart of everything good about Hall 2. But the strength of the opposition meant that they were also able to display the steely defensive side of their game that was not really needed until today. Overall, it can be said Hall 2 generally had more control of the ball, but Hall 6’s defense held firm and their superior 3-pt shooting more than made up for their relatively lack of incision into the paint.
Similar to the women’s team, the men were slow to get out of the blocks, with Kian Kok still in the restroom when the game started. Don Tan Cheng Ye had a bright start though, getting the first 2 points on the board, and then emerging high out of a congested area for another layup. A cagey first quarter ended 14-12 in the Sixers’ favour.

The second quarter was a lot more exhilarating. First KK, having finally warmed up, scored a 2 after a brilliant steal by Hao Wei. Captain Jiahao Lim also joined in the scoring stakes with Hall 2’s first 3 of the night. Coming off the bench, Thomson Liu also had his best display of the season, first with a blindside pass to Hao Wei at the low post, then following up with an easy layup after stealing the ball. A rather more exciting quarter ended 30-29 to Hall 6.
The most exciting play of the 3rd quarter was a rejection from behind against the boards by Kian Kok, who was sprinting back at top speed to defend a fast break. Hall 2 also started to shoot a lot more from 3-point range, with Kian Kok again impressing the crowd with a fadeaway 3.Yangzhi Zhong also had a good post-up move. With the end of the game approaching ever closer, Hall 2 were still 3 points down at the end of the 3rd quarter.
Disaster struck at the start of the 4th, however. After conceding a 3-pointer, on the next possession the ball was carelessly stolen, and Hao Wei was forced to foul on defence. Hall 6 was successful from the free-throw line, and before they knew what was happening, Hall 2 was 8 points down.
Hall 2 tried their hardest for the rest of the 4th quarter to close the deficit, but Hall 6’s defence kept them at bay, and just when the gap was getting too close for comfort, the Sixers’ would get a 3 in to widen it again. By the time the final buzzer sounded, Hall 2 was 9 points down, and had come off second in what was a very tight game.
Despite the defeat, our boys can be proud of the manner in which they contributed to a very exciting final. These are the moments we remember, the memories that will live on, whatever the colour of the medal.

IHG Basketball (F) Finals

Basketball F Finals vs Hall 8
Lost 35-55

Monday, 24 February 2014
SRC Sports Hall 2, NTU

The championship ultimately proved a bridge too far for our Basketball girls as they succumbed to Hall 8 by a score of 35-55 in today’s Basketball Finals.

Things did not get off to an auspicious start at all when our girls found themselves 13 points down without reply from the get-go, and it was not until Faith Gloria Khong scored 2 free-throws did Hall 2 finally get points on the board. YiHui Low added another 2 but Hall 8 further stretched the lead to end the quarter 22-4 up.
After that slightly underwhelming first quarter, Hall 2 came out with all-guns blazing in the 2nd. Gan Li Ping managed to steal the ball off their tallest player for a fast break. Cunfang Chua also started to grow into the game, first scoring a 2 and drawing a foul, though she failed to complete the 3-point play. On the buzzer, she then managed to draw a foul at halfcourt, sending her to the free-throw line for 3, of which she converted 2. Before that, Pei Ying executed a Eurostep to draw a foul, but again the free-throw was disappointing. The overall play in the 2nd quarter improved, but poor transitions were letting the team down, and they ended the quarter 31-16 down.
For the next 2 quarters, Hall 8 gave the impression of simply doing enough to maintain the lead, which was a pretty sizeable one. Cunfang became Hall 2’s most potent weapon as the game went on, with a particular move involving spinning her marker before lifting the ball in rather impressive.
But in the end, Hall 2 despite their best efforts, were beaten by the better team. Nevertheless, the team should be proud of having played so well enroute to the finals and we hope they return next year as an even better team.