ACS(I) regain C Div title

ACS(I) flanker Timothy Tan carrying the ball during the C Division final at Yio Chu Kang stadium. He scored two tries against St. Andrew's Secondary School in a rematch of last year's final.
ACS(I) flanker Timothy Tan carrying the ball during the C Division final at Yio Chu Kang stadium. He scored two tries against St. Andrew's Secondary School in a rematch of last year's final.ST PHOTO: AZMI ATHNI

They complete rugby grand slam with 22-17 victory over St Andrew's Secondary

Last year, Timothy Tan watched helplessly on the bench as his Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) team-mates fell to longtime rivals St. Andrew's Secondary School in the Schools National C Division rugby final.

ACS(I) had won the A and B Division titles last year, and the C Division team's 15-18 loss meant the school was denied the rugby grand slam - the treble of titles.

Yesterday, however, the 14-year-old Timothy not only played the entire C Division final, he also scored two tries in his team's 22-17 victory over the Saints.

As the final whistle blew, cementing ACS(I)'s clean sweep of this year's A, B and C Division rugby titles, the yellow-clad ACS(I) supporters swarmed the pitch in celebration.

Speaking to The Straits Times after the match at the Yio Chu Kang stadium yesterday, an elated Timothy said: "I'm grateful to the coaches for letting me play the entire match, and today's win feels pretty good because we've all been training hard the entire year.

"The Saints have held the trophy for a year, and getting it back for ACS is a really good feeling - it's really a team victory."

Both sides were cheered on by a raucous crowd of about 700 supporters armed with school flags and banners, taking turns to chant school cheers and yell encouragement to their respective teams.

ACS(I) drew first blood through Timothy, whose try put his team 5-0 up in the opening minutes.

Although the Saints led briefly by two points after scoring a try and successfully kicking the conversion, ACS(I) fired back with another try to lead 10-7 at the end of the first half.

The latter started strongly after the interval.

Captain Matthew Lim opened the second half with a spectacular try after running almost half the length of the field.

The Saints' penalty delighted their supporters, but did little to close the gap as Timothy replied with another try.

The final whistle blew after the Saints' last try of the match, sealing ACS(I)'s dominance at this year's Schools Nationals rugby competition.

Despite the loss, Saints coach Alan Wee was pleased with his charges' performance, calling it "one of their best games in the season".

The 58-year-old said: "We defended well and our boys tackled very well.

"Overall I think we lost to a better team and ACS played a good game, but I'm not too disappointed with my boys. They stepped up and played pretty well."

ACS(I) head coach Adrian Chong was equally complimentary of the Saints team.

He said: "They have always been worthy opponents and over the years the rivalry between both schools has always been a friendly one, with a lot of respect for each other.

"They've got a good set of coaches and a lot of good rugby boys getting into the school, and I think they are doing very well to groom them."

On the topic of clinching the rugby grand slam, the victorious 49-year-old coach said: "It's never easy to win a grand slam for any school.

"So to have been able to do it in 2008 and 2011, and now 2016, it is always something to be cherished."

• Additional reporting by Jean Iau

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 24, 2016, with the headline 'ACS(I) regain C Div title'. Print Edition | Subscribe