St Andrew's bag 1st hockey title in 8 years to erase bad memory

A St Andrew's player (right) challenging his Seng Kang opponent. St Andrew's won 2-0 to make up for last year's disappointment.
A St Andrew's player (right) challenging his Seng Kang opponent. St Andrew's won 2-0 to make up for last year's disappointment.ST PHOTO: AZMI ATHNI

St Andrew's Secondary School claimed their first national B Division hockey title in eight years when they beat Seng Kang Secondary School 2-0 yesterday at the Sengkang Hockey Stadium.

The victory came after a disappointing defeat in last year's Schools National B Division hockey boys' final.

St Andrew's netted early in the first half, when Daryl Tan converted a penalty with a rattling shot that cannoned off the back of the board.

The second half was more intense, with both teams engaging in end-to-end action. With just a minute left on the clock, Naveen Kumar of St Andrew's squeezed in a goal to make it 2-0 in what was virtually the last play in the game and confirm his side as the national champions.

"There was only one minute left for the game to finish, so I already knew that we were going to win," Naveen said.

"After scoring the second goal, I was really happy as it meant we were finally going to win it (the championship) after eight years and make school history."

Another hero for St Andrew's was team captain Hariraj Naidu, who was an ever-present force in the victory as he tirelessly ran up and down chasing every ball. He was also part of the same side who lost 0-1 in last year's final against Raffles Institution.

"I'm really proud of the team. They didn't give up on me, and I also didn't give up on them," the 16-year-old said. "Last year's defeat didn't stop us. We really wanted to prove everybody wrong by showing them that we can make it to the finals and also win it after eight long years."

"I can't really explain how happy I am because it's my last year in the team and it's great to have finally won the championship."

Hariraj also walked away with an award for best sportsmanship, based on his conduct during games.

St Andrew's hockey teacher-in-charge Gene Yeo was relieved after his team overcame Seng Kang to clinch the national title.

He said: "It's been a long time coming. The boys have really trained superbly hard. They've put in the effort and they deserved it."

"When we drew Raffles in the semi-final - the team that we lost to last year - that was a big mental hurdle to the players, but going through them gave the team the shot of confidence that was needed for the final."

Meanwhile, in the B girls' final yesterday, CHIJ St Theresa's Convent defeated CHIJ St Nicholas Girls' School 2-0 to win their second national title in two years.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 01, 2016, with the headline 'St Andrew's bag 1st hockey title in 8 years to erase bad memory'. Print Edition | Subscribe