Story by Jasmine Goh/Red Sports. Photos by REDintern Jerald Ang
Singapore Polytechnic, Saturday, September 27, 2014 — Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) pulled off an upset after a huge second-half effort to beat defending champions Singapore Polytechnic (SP) 20–18 in the Polytechnic-Institute of Technical Education (POL-ITE) Handball Championship.
With the victory, NP, who were runners-up for three years, are likely to conclude the season as champions.
Leo Chong Sing (#3) and Tan Hong Rui (#15) of NP scored a joint game-high of five points. SP’s Teo Kee Chong (#7) and Brandon Khoo (#9) had five points apiece as well.
Both teams started the match cautiously and settled down early in the game. NP put on a more dominant display as they managed to take the lead in the first half.
NP drew first blood with Chong Sing (#3) scoring off a cut-in. His drive-ins and powerful wing shots throughout the first half helped him score four goals to fuel his team’s fast start.
SP scored their opening goal through a cut-in by Kee Chong (#7). Lee Jiaming (SP #11) managed to score two successful 9m shots to help narrow the score deficit.
The game was physically intense. Players from both teams went out to engage their opponents early by going for the contact and clamping them down. This tactic saw NP get three yellow cards in the first half through Karl Vincent (#4), Timothy Teo (#10) and Goh Jun Wang (#13). SP’s Ng Yong Rae (#3) was also awarded a yellow card much later into the game. Subsequent warnings were given in the form of two-minute penalties.
Tan Hong Rui (#15) of NP was able to capitalize on two penalty shots awarded to his team which widened the lead. NP took a 12–10 lead at the end of the half.
After half time, SP stepped up their defense and were determined to come back from the two-point deficit. NP, however, did not back down on their attacks and managed to pull off their wing shots and cut-ins. They also played aggressive defence and consistently broke the momentum of SP’s offense.
Chong Sing (NP #3) was awarded a two-minute penalty and the team was left to play with five outfielders. Taking advantage of the situation, Brandon Khoo (SP #9) went on to score off a cut-in and took a successful penalty shot for his team. His shot that was lobbed over the keeper found the back of the net nicely and tied the score at 14-all.
This boosted the morale of the team as SP’s Lee Shyh Woei (#24) converted to give his team a crucial two-point lead.
Unfazed by SP’s defensive press, successful cut-ins from Chong Sing (#3) and Teo Shi Han (#7) helped NP to draw level at 17 apiece.
SP also faced much difficulty getting past an in-form Hazwan bin Zulkilfi (#16) in front of the NP goal. His quick reflexes blocked off many shots from the SP onfielders which resulted in several SP turnovers.
The final stages of the game had everyone on their edge of their seat as earlier fouls committed in the first half came back to haunt the players. Penalities and free throws were given in quick succession as both teams upped the pace in the dying minutes.
After matching each other point for point with three minutes to go on the clock, a powerful 9m shot by How Neng (NP #9) levelled the score at 18 apiece. He went on to fire another one into the net to give NP a 19–18 lead.
With less than 30 seconds to go, Chong Sing (NP #3) drew the first red card of the season – after being awarded three two-minute penalties in the game. However, that did not affect NP’s performance as they knew that the victory was theirs to take by then.
The game ended off with a cut-in by Goh Jun Wang (NP #13), scoring one for his team before the final whistle.
The NP bench erupted into cheers as the players were visibly elated with the win.
NP captain Teo Shi Han (#7) said, “We are ecstatic. We’ve been training hard all year round since our previous three defeats in POL-ITE.”
Goh Jun Wang (NP #13) added, “Our team’s morale was affected by our previous game with ITE. We drew with them, which came rather unexpected for us. We knew we had to come back stronger this time round.
“The game was really challenging. I felt that we could have committed more to our own defense and conversation rates,” said Harry Naing (#1), SP’s captain. “All in all, it was a great game. I’m sure every one of us learnt something from it.”
“NP did a really great job in both their offense and defense. Their determination to win the game was really commendable and I think that pushed them all the way. They truly deserved the win. Congratulations to them,” he added.
Scoring by Period
NP vs SP
First half: 12–10
Second half: 20–18
Leo Chong Sing (#3) — 5 goals
Tan Hong Rui (15) — 5 goals
Teo Kee Chong (#7) — 5 goals
Brandon Khoo (#9) — 5 goals
Hakim (#1), Lewis Syn Jun Hao (#2), Leo Chong Sing (#3), Karl Vincent Dimaunahan (#4) Yong Yi Kang (#5), Liang Hui Han (#6), Teo Shi Han (#7), Chen Tse Yu (#8), Liang How Neng (#9), Timothy Teo Ser Hao (#10), Duran Song Ming Yuen (#11), Kevin Guacena (#12), Goh Jun Wang (#13), Galvin Leow (#14), Tan Hong Rui (#15), Hazwan B Zulkilfi (#16)
Harry Naing (#1), Ng Yong Rae (#3), Roth Voo Qin Gui (#6), Teo Kee Chong (#7), Guey Zong Lin Lucas (#8), Brandon Khoo (#9), Joseph Hoo Kah Ming (#10), Lee Jia Ming (#11), Ian Kyle Lee Kah Yeong (#12), Darren Gerald David Jedur (#15), Chong Zhao Hui (#17), Daryl Ng Yong Chuan (#20), Jordan Tay Jin Jie (#23), Lee Shyh Woei (#24), Bryan Leong Qi Wei (#27), Chua Zhong Hang (#30)
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