By reader June Yeoh
An SP player grabs a pass while an NYP opponent defends. (Photo 1 courtesy of June Yeoh)
Seng Kang, March 20, 27, 2010 – 13 schools from across the island gathered on the first day of the Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) Ultimate Frisbee Invitational Games 2010 group stage.
Affectionately known as the Institute-Varsity-Polytechnic (IVP) of Ultimate Frisbee amongst the schools, NYP Ultimate has the honour of hosting and organizing this annual competition that has grown from a mere three teams in 2005 to nine teams in 2009.
NYP were looking to defend their title for the third consecutive year, having won in 2008 and 2009.
Hopes of retaining its crown were on every NYP players’ mind. However, it was just Day 1 (the Round-robin format) of the two-day event and NYP had to win all their games in order to proceed straight into the quarter-finals.
Shortly after warm-ups, a drizzle started, and the wet conditions affected some players' ability to throw well. NYP however, were unfazed and displayed great control of the disc in their warm-up drills.
Day 1 Highlights
The first game started with NYP up against Raffles Institution. The atmosphere was buzzing and everyone was eager to do their part for the team. The game ended quickly with a score of 11-1 to NYP. A break ensued, giving the NYP players a rest before their next game against Hwa Chong Institution (HCI).
The drizzle continued in the game between NYP against HCI. Once again, NYP showed no mercy and won the game 11-1.
The raindrops didn't seem to bother the NYP Reds and they took it in their stride and used it to their advantage in the game against Anglo-Chinese School (Independent), their last and final game for the day.
ACS(I) were the dark horses of the tournament, the ones to look out for. Layouts, skying-attempts and great defense and offense were displayed. The combination of Douglas (NYP # 72) and Xiao Lun (NYP #11) stood out and when the final point was scored, the NYP Reds erupted with hysteria at the 11-0 win.
Day 2 Highlights
The second day of the Invitational Games on March 27th, the knockout phase, started bright and early for NYP, the first-seeded team, and Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP), the eighth-seeded team, playing the first quarter-final game.
NP are a relatively new team to the sports of Ultimate Frisbee, with this being their first invitational games. However, they were not to be taken lightly having come so far in the competition with barely a year of playing together.
NYP started on defense with NP receiving the first pull. The match started off strongly with a tight defense put up by NYP. NP displayed their tenacity and fighting spirit when they managed to put a few deep throws into the end zone but NYP proved to be much too strong. NYP won the game 11-2 to proceed to the semi-finals.
The semi-final between NYP and Singapore Polytechnic (SP) was a game to watch. SP had lost a game to Nanyang Technological University (NTU) during the round-robin stage but came back to impressively beat NTU 9-6 in the quarter-finals.
The year before, NYP had defeated SP in the round-robin stage so SP were certainly looking to even that score in this semi-final match. Captains of both teams agreed that the semi-final matches would be played with a time cap of 75 minutes instead of a score cap of 11.
The semi-final match saw cheers from the sidelines from supporters of both schools. It was raw Ultimate intensity shown by both teams - sharp cuts, quick pivots and fast throws. NYP used a zonal defense against SP and SP went back to basics with a hard man-marking defense. Every point scored was accompanied by cheers and screams from the crowd.
At half-time, NYP led 7-2, leaving SP with a mountain to climb in the second half. SP gave all they had as evidenced by the increasing number of their players who were faced with muscle cramps during the game. With fatigue setting in, the game saw a high number of unforced errors by both teams resulting in constant turnovers.
Time was slowly ticking away as SP scored three more points to draw closer at 5-7. However, it was too little, too late for SP as the game reached the time cap of 75 minutes, leaving NYP 7-5 victors.
Though SP suffered yet another defeat, they had indeed put up a very commendable and tough fight against NYP.
With the National University of Singapore (NUS) beating the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) 9-7 in the second semi-final, the stage was set for a repeat of last year's final between NUS and NYP. NUS had won the trophy in 2007.
The final was played with a point cap of 15, which meant that the team which scored a total of 15 points first would become the champions.
NYP took an early lead of two points with some awesome defense in the end zone. NUS picked up the pace and closed the gap by scoring five points straight to lead 5-2. NYP took a needed timeout to discuss their strategy and came back stronger and evened the score with NUS before walking off with a half-time lead of 8-7.
Players were cutting and running hard to get open while throwers had to pivot out wide and fast to break free to allow continuation of throws to their team mates. There was also certainly no short of immense deep play with speedy runners and long deep throws. It was a very good display of team work by both sides.
This match also witnessed many layouts, men and women alike, defense in the air and very hard man-marking. It also had the competition's first Callahan score in a final (a Callahan is where a player on defense catches the opposition's disc while in their end zone).
Though it was a neck-and-neck in the first half, the second half proved to be entirely different. NYP gained in strength in the second half to pull away, limiting NUS to only one point to finally win 15-8 and successfully defend their title.
NYP 15 NUS 8
SMU 9 NP 8
An NYP player looks for an open teammate in the semi-final against SP. (Photo 2 courtesy of June Yeoh)
An NYP player prepares to throw while an NUS opponent man marks him in the final. (Photo 3 courtesy of June Yeoh)