Written by Stephanie Yeo
Edited by Ong Hui Shan
“Keep calm and carry on” was the mentality that our squash males had in this second round of preliminaries against Sheares Hall (SH). The lineup for the day: Feng Fei, Joan, Benjamin, Jianan and Weng Shian. The team warm-up was truly an eye-opener: 4 people volleying in an incredibly small court with the ball ricocheting off the walls. The KE squash team is truly a dynamic bunch and they constantly gave each other advice and encouragement, betraying no signs of anxiety.
Our first win (11-6, 11-3) was clinched by Feng Fei, who maintained a cool demeanour throughout the match. His opponent was clearly desperate for points and a little unnerved by Feng Fei’s calmness, but a worthy opponent nonetheless. The next game saw Joan breezing his way through the match 11-0, 11-1. He gave SH no chance of scoring points as he directed his shots into hard-to-reach corners. He also wowed the spectators with unexpected rebounds and powerful strokes. His prowess is, however, not surprising given his 2 years of squash training and some tennis experience under his belt.
KE scored her hat-trick as Benjamin, one of our seasoned players, went up next. Despite feeling a little under the weather, he still managed to win the first set 11-6. It was a nail-biting experience for everyone when he conceded the second set 6-11 – how was he going to fare in the tie-breaker? Every mistake would cost precious points. Benjamin managed to slow down the pace in the third set but match point proved elusive as the score margin closed 10-8 to KE. A very timely mistake by the SH player, who accidentally dropped his racket, provided a window for Benjamin to score the Big Eleven.
But it wasn’t time for our squash boys to get complacent just yet. Jianan faced off with the Sheares captain in the second last game of the day. Unfortunately, his nerves affected his gameplay, and the Sheares captain capitalised on this – KE eventually conceded 8-11, 7-11. Nevertheless, Jianan must be applauded for his determination and eagerness to improve. He put up a brave fight despite having only trained for 3 months.
Last but not least, our Young Master Weng Shian, topped the icing on the cake with an 11-0, 11-2 win. A squash player on his JC’s school team, he displayed admirable skill which overpowered his opponent in the blink of an eye in the first set. Sheares came back with a vengeance after the break, but made several mistakes, giving him ample opportunities to widen the score gap.
Victory has never tasted so sweet. The team trained hard, gave their all and most importantly, proved that hard work and determination do pay off. We look forward to their semi-final games against Kent Ridge Hall.