School sports

Loud MSG Win Third Title On The Trot

Methodist Girls' School's Gracia Chua (in blue) hitting a return during her win over National Junior College's Ong Rui En in the C Division squash final at Kallang Squash Centre. ST PHOTO: KHALID BABA
Methodist Girls' School's Gracia Chua (in blue) hitting a return during her win over National Junior College's Ong Rui En in the C Division squash final at Kallang Squash Centre. ST PHOTO: KHALID BABA

New-look Methodist Girls' C Division squash team, backed by supporters, beat NJC in final

One would think that cheers get louder in triumphant moments, but that was not the case at yesterday's Schools National girls' C Division squash final which saw Methodist Girls' School (MGS) thrashing National Junior College (NJC) 4-1.

Throughout the match, the boisterous MGS crowd at the Kallang Squash Centre rallied behind their team, increasing their vocal support whenever their players lost a point.

On this, captain Victoria Ann Fox said: "It's good to cheer your teammates on because you never know if they need it."

Being united has been a theme in their successful season, as they dropped only two matches in the preliminary rounds. It was especially important for the new-look team, considering they had retained only three of the seven players from last year's winning side.

Having their schoolmates' support also helped the MGS players deal with the difficulty of juggling school and training.

Whenever things got too much to handle, co-captain Joy Ong said they could turn to each other for help or even a shoulder to cry on.

Getting selected for the team was also an occasion of mixed emotions for many players, who were disappointed that some of their closest friends had not made it.

Joy, 13, said: "Everyone was desperate for a spot but only seven could make it. We are all very close so it's not pleasant to have that separation."

Being close also helped in building each player's confidence.

Coach Jazreel Tan said: "Many of them don't know their calibre but, as a coach, I can see that they are playing together as a team right now. So I feel we just need to give them confidence, which we did through encouraging them to forge bonds and develop more as a unit."

This was evident in yesterday's final with cheers filling the stands as they stormed to their third consecutive C Div title.

Victoria drew first blood by beating Facey Teo 11-5, 11-0, 11-2.

The second match was a closer fight but Johanna Lien doubled the lead, defeating Saambhari Harimaran 11-3, 11-9, 11-10 (12-10).

Gracia Chua sealed the title for MGS after brushing aside Ong Rui En 11-1, 11-1, 11-1.

It was another emphatic win in the fourth game with Lee Zi Fang defeating Tejaswini Natarajan 11-3, 11-3, 11-3, before Dayna Choy salvaged a match for NJC by overcoming Joy 11-5, 11-4, 11-4.

Tan, 56, praised his charges for their dedication and ambition, saying: "They're very disciplined, they know their mission. We're into our third year and it's been successful for us. Hopefully, in years to come, we can continue with this trend."

NJC assistant teacher-in-charge Simon Tan was proud of his team who made it to their first C Div girls' final. The result was also an improvement from the two sides' meeting in the preliminary rounds when NJC were whitewashed 5-0.

He said: "It's a historic achievement. Today the girls played better than they did in the preliminary rounds. They tried to fight for every point and I was happy with their display."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 16, 2019, with the headline 'Loud MSG Win Third Title On The Trot'. Print Edition | Subscribe