Story by REDintern Christy. Pictures by REDintern Vanessa.
Republic Polytechnic Sports Complex, Thursday, July 10, 2008 – Although Innova Junior College (IJC) were new to the game and Yishun Junior College (YJC) had one of the top teams last season, IJC issued a strong challenge to YJC and made YJC fight long and hard for their 3-2 victory.
Just seconds into the game, the YJC captain Ding Jun (#8) opened accounts by volleying a powerful shot straight into the back of IJC’s net for a 1-0 lead. YJC Nikhil (#11) widened the gap to 2-0 when he scored another goal at 07:42. With 3 minutes left, a YJC player got fouled and IJC had a chance to score during their power play. However, despite IJC’s perseverance in searching for a first goal, YJC were not letting up on their assaults with even a ball getting crushed due to the intense defending by YJC.
In the second period, it was time for IJC’s comeback. At the 10:27 min mark, IJC Charles (#8) received a ball and scored stunningly from mid-court with no blocking whatsoever from YJC to make it 1-2. This totally caught the YJC goalkeeper Yan Shi (#5) unaware as just seconds ago the ball was actually in YJC’s possession in the opposition half. This goal elicited joy from the IJC team and all team players rushed to congratulate the scorer. The second period was the most aggressive of the game – in fact due to the fierce tackling, an IJC player actually fell out of the court and knocked down a few boards. Even the game had to be stopped to put up the benches. Nevertheless, despite the intense game, both team held their grounds and denied all the chances at goal.
In the third period, IJC changed their strategy, adopting a full-court pressure on YJC to get turnovers to yield chances for an equalizer. Unfortunately for them, it seemed that the strategy had no effect on YJC as they calmly played on and at 04:28, YJC Farhan (#18) fired a potent high ball which eluded the IJC goalkeeper Zakaria(#69) to make it 3-1. Again, it was IJC Charles (#8) who kept his team’s hopes alive by scoring another goal at the 11:59 mark to make it 2-3.
Although IJC continued to put up a tough fight in the last three minutes with even the IJC goalie Zakaria(#69) coming out for an attacker for the remaining few seconds of the match, it was a matter of "too little, too late". Ironically, it was this reason that allowed YJC to score again. The ball, however, went in just a second too late after the whistle and was not counted. Nonetheless, it did not have any impact on the game as YJC had already won 3-2.
One could see great leadership skills by YJC captain Ding Jun (#8) who commanded a strong presence in the field and directed the team to victory. Although YJC was the team with better skills, it was IJC that showed more determination and spirit to win despite being the underdogs. Indeed, it goes to show that it is always too early to give up if the final whistle has not been blown.
Editors note: If you recognise yourself or your team mates in any of the photos, feel free to leave the names behind in the comments section and we will update the captions accordingly. Names of the players mentioned in the article will also be very much appreciated. Thanks!