SINGAPORE - CHIJ Secondary (Toa Payoh) held off a gutsy challenge from St Hilda's Secondary to win the Schools National C Division netball title on Thursday (April 19).
CHIJ, the 2016 champions, defeated first-time finalists St Hilda's 33-23 to wrest back the title after finishing second last year to Dunman Secondary.
Said CHIJ captain Seraphina Low: "We badly wanted to show everyone that we have what it takes to be the champions. Even though we lost last year, we really wanted to be strong and get (the title) back."
CHIJ never trailed during the match at Hall 1 of the OCBC Arena, although their opponents levelled the score at 21-21 in the third quarter. But mistakes from the St Hilda's players in the last quarter saw CHIJ surge ahead to lead by 10 goals - the widest gap during the match - and eventually prevail.
St Hilda's captain Dian Nuriqqah believes poor communication and a slew of missed passes in the fourth quarter cost her team the match, but said she had no regrets.
"I'm very proud of my team-mates for coming this far," said the 13-year-old.
"I felt we could have won today, but it just wasn't our day, so we'll come back stronger next time."
CHIJ goal shooter Klara Ong admitted that St Hilda's equaliser had given her a scare, saying: "They really played a good game and I was scared they would catch up and beat us.
"I was also nervous because we've never played against them before... but before the fourth quarter started, our coach told us to go all out and give everything because it's the last match of the season."
There was double joy for CHIJ, as their B Division team then retained their title with a 49-26 defeat of the Singapore Sports School.