School sports

Poor start, then Putri fires Queensway to perfect finish

Putri Nur Syaliza scoring for Queensway Secondary in yesterday's Schools National B Division final against Bowen Secondary at Our Tampines Hub.
Putri Nur Syaliza scoring for Queensway Secondary in yesterday's Schools National B Division final against Bowen Secondary at Our Tampines Hub.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Queensway Secondary players celebrating after winning 7-1.
Queensway Secondary players celebrating after winning 7-1.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

This was unfamiliar territory for Queensway Secondary School, defending champions and overwhelming favourites for the Schools National B Division girls' football title.

Just six minutes into yesterday's final, the team with five Singapore national players in their starting XI to Bowen Secondary School's none, were already a goal down.

The 2015 champions Queensway had also not conceded this season - over seven games and 490 minutes in the group stage and semi-final.

Led by star midfielder Putri Nur Syaliza, they recovered and relied on their experience and quality to prevail 7-1 at Our Tampines Hub.

Tournament top scorer Putri scored twice to bring her season tally to 27 goals, while striker Dorcas Chu finished her last B Division match with a hat-trick.

Putri, 16, said: "We let in the goal because we weren't warmed up properly and focused yet. We arrived late because there was a traffic jam, so everything was rushed."

That initial disorientation led to Rachel Chan being unmarked in the box and the Bowen striker calmly slotted past goalkeeper Hazel Lim.

The lead lasted only four minutes. Midfielder Atikah Ardini put away a penalty she earned herself. And, 13 minutes later, Putri dribbled into the box and scored despite three defenders closing her down to give Queensway the lead.

Left wing Summer Chong added a third on the stroke of half-time while Dorcas and Putri completed the victory after the break.

Dorcas, 16, was thrilled with her contribution and dedicated her opening goal to teammate Lim Yoke Peng, who missed the final due to injury. She said: "It's my last year in this school so I'm glad I ended it with a bang."

Putri added that her team needed time to get comfortable on the field.

"We were very shaky initially, but we slowly built up our confidence and focused on our tactics," she said.

The score may have been one-sided, but Bowen captain Eva Rushdina, 15, was nevertheless proud of her team's attitude.

"During training, we would work on passing and building up play. We managed to execute that in the final despite not really doing it in the previous matches," said the defender.

"We put in our 100 per cent and, if this is what the scoreline is, then there's nothing much we can do."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 13, 2019, with the headline 'Poor start, then Putri fires Queensway to perfect finish'. Print Edition | Subscribe