Tuesday, April 16, 2024
HomeschoolsRaffles seal first C Division boys’ hockey title since 2016 with comeback...

Raffles seal first C Division boys’ hockey title since 2016 with comeback win over Seng Kang

SINGAPORE – Not all heroes wear capes. In the case of Raffles Institution’s boys’ hockey team, one wears a chest protector and padded shorts.

Goalkeeper Luth Firas Mohamed Firdaus played a starring role, alongside captain Hady Naufal Hafiz and left-winger Alif Ayden Aidil Sharil, at the Sengkang Hockey Stadium on Friday as RI came from behind to beat Seng Kang Secondary 2-1. It was also the school’s first C Division title since 2016.

And it was Luth who received the loudest cheers from the 500-strong supporters when the team received their gold medals. After all, the 14-year-old had rescued Raffles with a vital save when they needed him most.

Leading 1-0 and with 3½ minutes left in the third quarter, Seng Kang were awarded a penalty stroke.

A two-goal advantage beckoned as their captain Mohamed Aahil Mohamedjahir Hussain, who had scored earlier in the same quarter through a penalty corner, strolled forward to take the shot.

But he failed to beat Luth this time, much to his disbelief. The goalkeeper said: “I felt the pressure to save it, especially because in a penalty stroke, the odds are stacked against (the goalkeeper). And especially when we’re 1-0 down, I was actually terrified.

“I was like wow, if he’d scored it would’ve been 2-0, and with 15 minutes left in the fourth quarter, there wouldn’t have been a long enough time for us to score.”

His save seemed to galvanise RI and they started the fourth quarter in the perfect way. Just 30 seconds had elapsed when Ryan Vir Singh Sandhu equalised through a penalty stroke.

That set the stage for Alif, who had scored only once in the preliminary stage this season in a 3-0 win against Woodlands Ring Secondary, to be the match winner.

With just under nine minutes left, he scored off a rebound after Tan Kai Jun’s initial effort hit the post. He said: “I couldn’t believe it, I thought I was dreaming and had to pinch myself. It was incredible to score the winner not only in a match but in a final.

“This is definitely one of the best moments of my life.”

Skipper Hady credited their “fighting spirit” and highlighted how coach Ahmad Bakri Marfi’s team talk at the end of the third quarter was a simple yet effective one.

He said: “He told us to relax because he feels that when we’re enjoying ourselves, then it’s the way to go.”

For Seng Kang, a silver medal was some consolation after a season in which they scored 74 goals and conceded only three in eight matches prior to the final. Captain Aahil said: “I’m still proud of the team, we kept on pushing until the end.”

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