SINGAPORE - Having claimed the quartets title and the team championship at last year's National School Games (NSG), Anglo-Chinese School's (Independent) bowlers went into this year's competition with the aim of sweeping the titles.
The weight of these expectations proved too much to handle however and their B Division campaign got off to a disappointing start in the singles event earlier this week, when they missed out on a medal.
But they regrouped ahead of Friday's (April 8) doubles and put up an improved performance which saw Mike Ong and Zephyr Liew clinch the gold medal at SuperBowl Mount Faber at Safra.
They felled 2,556 pins, ahead of Westwood Secondary's Athan Lim and Chan Jia Wei (2,544). Maris Stella High's Ting Yu Cong and Ian Wong placed third with a 2,517-pinfall total.
Mike, 16, said: "We didn't do so well on the first day in the singles. We took it as a learning experience for the first day and we came back stronger today and that's what was most important.
"We were nervous going into the singles event. We had a lot of expectations going in on Tuesday as compared to today. I told the team and myself to go in with no expectations and do the best we can today."
Zephyr, 16, attributed the pair's success in the doubles to the backing of their teammates, coaches and teachers.
After a less than ideal outing in the singles, the Secondary 4 student said that their WhatsApp group chat was filled with messages of encouragement.
Their support for each other was evident on Friday as they cheered one another on after every shot, helping each other to remain calm even as they endured a nerve-wracking end to the six-game round that saw the title decided in the last frame.
Zephyr said: "With that support, today we felt way more calm and did better. Staying calm on the lanes is a lot more important than trying to force it."
ACS(I) coach Billy Choo was proud of the resilience that his charges showed, saying: "I'm very happy with their performance. They really worked as a team and I'm very pleased with that. After our first event, we didn't do up to our expectations but they didn't give up and continued to work very hard. Winning a medal is a bonus."
In the girls' doubles, the podium was filled by Singapore Sports School's (SSP) bowlers.
Lim Shi En and Ashley Lok claimed the title in 2,427 pinfalls, followed by Anna Fong and Felicia Leong (2,390) and Hazel Tan and Nur Irdina Hazly (2,372).
Shi En had won the singles gold with a 1,291-pinfall total earlier this week, while Nur Irdina claimed the bronze (1,270). Tanjong Katong Girls' School's Meagan Tan was second with her score of 1,275.
The boys' singles was won by SSP's Ryan Goi, who had a 1,346-pinfall total, followed by Catholic High School's Jalen Loh (1,344) and Temasek Junior College's Owen Ang (1,339).