The Kent Ridge Warriors
The dust has settled since the hype of the recent Inter-hall Games. Tears of joy and sorrow were shed and friendships strengthened as the Kent Ridge Warriors fought the war. Looking back, we interviewed several Captains on their memorable IHG experience:
Netball Vivien “Poh”
How was your season?
Vivien: Honestly going into the season we didn’t really expect much, we took each game as it came, we studied all our opponents well and we knew the finals would be a tough fight. Say real we could have won but we were lacking on the offense side, as one was forced to play a position that she was unfamiliar with. The void in the position handicapped us. Nevertheless, we fought our hearts out and we were very satisfied with our placing this year. Their stamina were better than us.
What was the most memorable part of the season?
Vivien: Before the KR TH match, we were very nervous. The make-up match that we had showed what we could do. There was a lot of frustration and nervousness during that match, but the rain extinguished TH’s fire and we comfortably took the lead during the make-up match.
How did it feel like when you were cutting people from the team?
Vivien: We made our decisions based on the efforts that each person put up. There were individuals like Ying Tong and Yu Qing who were genuinely passionate and came for many trainings. The cutting process was very hard, especially for those who had good attendance.
How do you feel sacrificing your holidays to train?
Vivien: We did not mind coming down for training as we felt that it was necessary. And netball is a team sport, where chemistry is very important on court. We had to make sure that everyone knew their positions and their role in the plays.
Handball (M) Shawn Poh
How was your season?
Training was rocky at the start owing to administrative matters. This resulted in trainings not being as productive as they liked it to be. Thankfully, Kent Ridge handball alumni Alan stepped in to coach the team. Starting the season, the team had 2 goals – to win IHG and to bond the team. Throughout the season, the team was very bonded, they trained and suffered together. Although the team did not get the championship, the nights of bonding together and crying together was testament of a bigger battle that they won.
How was the cutting?
The cutting process was particularly painful as the captains saw potential and effort in many of the players. They intentionally delayed the cutting process as they wanted to give the players a chance and they appreciated every player taking their time off and giving their all in the trainings. The captains strongly encourage the players that did not make the team to keep trying, and there would be many more years with many more chances ahead.
What were your expectations before the season?
The handballers were in it to win it. The team’s line up was formidable, and they expected to put up a strong fight against the opponents this season.
Most memorable moments
During the match against Eusoff Hall, one of their players committed a flagrant foul by aggressively tackling Mathew. The team then came together to express their dissatisfaction about that play, and concern for Mathew. This reflected the team spirit that the team shared. Beyond just being teammates, the handballers genuinely looked out for each other.
During the match against Temasek Hall, Shawn Poh was marking the opponent’s Ace. The captain quickly realised that the opponents were more than prepared for the Kent Ridgean’s offensive strategy. The team played their hearts out but unfortunately suffered a defeat to the men in green. Devastated, the Kent Ridge warriors came together for a debrief, where they shed tears and moved on from the defeat.
“13-2, never forget, the loss still leaves a bad taste in our mouth, but we got to come back stronger. Yam and my biggest regret is not having to play one more game with the team”
Takraw David Chew
Touch Rugyby (F) Sandrine Ong
What were your expectations at the start of the season?
David: As we retained a lot of the seniors, me and Zong Luck thought this year was our best chance of getting gold. Although that should be expectation of most teams anyway! Another thing we wanted to groom the freshies who would join our team. Lastly, since the Takraw team has always been close, which I noticed in my first year, so me and (Zong) Luck wanted to keep it that way, first and foremost. That was most important thing, that we bonded as a team.
Sandrine: We were more focused on (creating) a bonded team rather than winning. I felt the friendships you forge with the rest of the team was more important than winning. Also, we wanted fun during IHG. I actually didn’t want to focus too much on the winning aspect.
How was it like deciding your final squad/needing to cut certain players?
David: We value training attitude very highly, so that was our main factor in choosing players. Also, fielding was an issue during game day was more of an issue, since out of our squad of 15, only a maximum of 9 are able to play in any given game. Even up until game day, we would still be deciding. For each game, we had to look at merits of our players vs merits of our opponents, and make a decision based on that. The team was very understanding, and during match days we worked to ensure there were no hard feelings among any of the guys.
Sandrine: Mainly we looked at passion- which, if you had, would result in regular attendance. To me, it doesn’t really matter if you’re damn good individually. It’s a team sport, so if you can’t work together with anyone. There were some had experience playing touch rugby before, but if I chose not to keep them if they didn’t come for training. For some (of the girls) who never play before, they showed the commitment to learn, improve and became a valuable member of the squad.
How did it feel sacrificing some of your time during the holidays to train?
David: We managed to train three times a week, three hours each session, but it wasn’t as much as we wanted.
I’m not sure how others would feel; as for me, honestly, it wasn’t too difficult. Since my two sports (Football,Takraw) are something I really enjoy, I saw it more as an opportunity rather than sacrificing time.
Sandrine: We didn’t train a lot in holiday. But anyway it was freaking stressful! Friendly was two days before IHG, our team was so bad!!! We only had two friendlies throughout. One of them was against RC4, only two days before the tournament; it went so badly, and our coach was angry. She told us that if we played like this, we shouldn’t play (in the tournament) on Sunday. We kept on dropping balls, let a lot of tries in… we had the skills, but the mentality wasn’t quite right, since we were so scared and unprepared.
Did you ever have to deal with nerves during the actual matches/tournament?
David: As a captain, you view it differently as another player. One thing for pressure of me and (Zong) Luck having to decide exactly what team to field. Eusoff (2nd group game) was the main one; it could potentially determine how far we could get, and the game could have gone any way. Since the nerves were there for that game, it felt so shiok after (winning) the fifth set! But anyway, we had faith in the squad.
Sandrine:Let me share the story of Pineapple! It was one of our team’s code words: to prevent nervousness whenever we had the ball, we insisted that the ball always came first. Especially at start of game, when we were all nervous, whole team shouted ‘pineapple’ as our code word to chill. Opponents thought was a legit move, but actually we were all shouting really chim words to fool our opponents into thinking that we had all these moves.
Most intense moment?
David: Personally for me, it was the final. That day we felt tension in the air, it was so tangible. Both us and them were very prepared, we knew was a damn close game. I talked to TH captains quite a bit, discussing stuff, and there were so many fans from both sides!
Sandrine: That would be the game against Eusoff- champions for three years straight before this, were honestly strong (drew 0-0). It was almost like we played all the other halls just for this!
How do you feel at the end of it all?
David: (deep in contemplation) I’d say it feels bittersweet. It was definitely a good season, where we all good attitude, commitment, and the togetherness of team was there. We all did our part, but in the end didn’t get gold, which I really wanted more than anybody else, so (losing the final) definitely does sting. Tough pill to swallow, but of course still proud of team, and proud of what they did. Also proud of what (Zong) Luck did for team.
Sandrine:(Jokingly) I felt quite accomplished. (slightly emotional) Okay, but seriously, this process brought a lot of challenges. We had players who went overseas, then cannot come training. Our trainings would only have 9-10 people, and we couldn’t even play games amongst each other. Being captain is quite shag; must plan trainings, go trainings, de-conflict etc. It isn’t just the case with me, I’m sure with all the other captains, we seriously neglected our studies at one point. I was forced to reflect to myself at one point, wondering if it was worth it.
Other than achieving gold, we also managed to achieve main goal of bonding as a team.
Last thing, shoutout to Rachel Sin who tore ACL during Sheares game!
It has been a long journey for the athletes of Kent Ridge and despite the fact that some may not be happy with the results, we can take refuge in the fact that the friendships will be a bigger win than any that the match can offer. Sure that they will come back even stronger next year, the Kent Ridge Warriors sharpen their blades and toughen their shields as they prepare for the next war.