As the Raffles Institution (RI) doubles pair of Charis Chan and Elisabeth Yaw watched their team-mate Hannah Tay play in the third tie of the Schools National A Division girls' badminton final yesterday, nerves started to creep in.
RI and their opponents River Valley High School (RVHS) had shared the spoils in the first two ties, meaning that Elisabeth and Charis, who were up next in the fourth tie, were under immense pressure to win it regardless of what happened in Hannah's match.
Thankfully for them, Hannah managed to defeat Yu Yi 17-21, 21-10, 21-17, meaning that the duo's responsibility was to clinch the title with a win, rather than keep RI's hopes alive.
And win the title they did, after battling through three games to edge out River Valley's Neo Yi Fang and Clariis Woon 15-21, 21-15, 21-18. RI's Chin Wei Yee took the final match as well with the overall score ending at 4-1 in their favour.
"We were very nervous and I'm glad we won the third game, which took some pressure off us," said Elisabeth, while Charis added: "It feels very good (to win), it was very stressful for us before the game."
RI's win was especially sweet, after they succumbed 2-3 to Hwa Chong Institution (HCI) in last year's semi-finals, a defeat which ended their 18-year title-winning streak.
Said captain Chung Shiqi: "After what happened last year, we were very upset and disappointed. Now that we've won, I'm very happy.
"As long as we carry the school's name on our backs, we will fight hard."
The victory also means that RI secured their first A Division badminton double since 2012, after their boys' team had also defeated RVHS 3-0 in the earlier final yesterday to keep their title.
RI's Zhu Bo Lin, who won the deciding tie 17-21, 21-14, 21-16 against RVHS' Lim Zhi Hong, said he was out to put up a show for the supporters, as it was his last year representing the school.
Despite losing the first game, he said: "I got into the game late, but I wasn't really disturbed by that. If you put in the effort in training, you can handle the moment."
For RVHS, making both finals was already a huge achievement. Said teacher in charge Tan Kim Chuan: "For both teams, our target was to get into the top four.
"We surpassed our targets by making the finals, and we pushed RI far."
Rounding off the medal winners were Anderson Junior College (AJC) and HCI in the boys' and girls' categories respectively. AJC's boys came back from two ties down to beat Nanyang Junior College 3-2, while HCI's girls beat Victoria Junior College by the same score in their third-place play-offs.