Schools: Teamwork and support the key to MGS' C Division squash success

National Junior College's Dayna Choy (left) and Methodist Girls' School's Joy Ong in action during the girls' C Division squash final on Aug 15, 2019. ST PHOTO: KHALID BABA

SINGAPORE - One would think that cheers get louder in triumphant moments, but that was not the case at yesterday's girls' C Division squash final at the Kallang Squash Centre where Methodist Girls' School (MGS) beat National Junior College (NJC) 4-1.

Throughout the Schools National final, the boisterous MGS crowd rallied behind their team, increasing their vocal support for their schoolmates whenever they 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 that has stretched out over their successful C Division season, where they dropped only two points in the preliminary games, before yesterday's final.

It was especially important for the new-look team, considering that they had retained only three of the seven players from last year's winning outfit.

Having the support of their schoolmates 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. While the seven who got selected were overjoyed to be picked, they also felt disappointed that some of their closest friends had been excluded from the squad.

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 individual'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 like 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 where the cheers filled the stands as they stormed to their third consecutive C Division title.

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

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

Gracia Chua sealed the game for the defending champions 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.

But NJC's Dayna Choy salvaged a point for her school, overcoming Joy with an 11-5, 11-4, 11-4 display.

Tan, 56, praised his charges for their dedication and ambition, saying: "They're very disciplined, they know their mission, they know year after year, after winning the C Div, they want to defend the title.

"We're into our third year and it's been successful for us. Hopefully, in the years to come, we want to continue with this trend."

Despite the loss, NJC assistant teacher-in-charge Simon Tan remained proud of his team as they made it to their first-ever C Div girls' final.

It was also an improvement from their earlier clash in the preliminary rounds where NJC lost 5-0 to MGS.

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."

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