Reported by Zachary Low
Edited by Celine Yeap
Squash – a game which I am now marginally more familiar with, compared to the squash noob who was writing the initial IHG men’s squash article. This article finds me reporting for the men’s squash semi-final: KE7’s first trip to the semis in any IHG sport. Such a declaration sounds rather sad, but let the squash team be a reminder to us all that the adidas tagline does run true (see below).
As dusk settled around the NUS campus, KEVIIans made their way to the SRC squash courts. The squash team was there going through their preparatory mechanics: stretching, warming up, getting their groove going, et cetera. Our lineup for the evening’s entertainment: Ben Tham, Joan Martos Gracia, Weng Shian, Feng Fei, and Bryan (in order of appearance). The semi-finals are more gruelling than the group stage: instead of a best-of-three series, each match would be a best-of-five. Before the match, I asked Joan about what he thought of being called the Spanish Sensation, a moniker which is gaining popularity around KE7. Our spicy Spaniard replied that he “really liked the name”, and that he was confident about the upcoming game. At the same time, he did note that there was no room for complacency.
First up would be KE7’s Benjamin Tham against Kent Ridge’s own Benjamin. When asked about how he would approach the first game, Ben Tham provided a reply that deserves a paragraph of its own.
“With Unnaa here, I can play my best.” – Tham, 2012.
And of this, there was no doubt. Ben stepped onto the court and won his games handily, with a final score of 11-3, 11-3, 11-7. The first match went to KE7 – a sign of things to come!
The Spunky Spaniard was the next up. Joan’s opponent was KR’s Daniel, a left-hander no less. This alternate configuration was some cause for concern – left-handers in most sports pose a whole new slew of challenges for their opponents, squash being no exception. Yet this writer’s fears were allayed as Joan put on a scintillating display of skill, even returning a shot with his racquet between his legs, a move that draw “oohs” and “aahs” from the crowd – certainly an ESPN SportsCenter-worthy moment. As Joan won his game 11-0, 11-1, 11-6, cheers from a certain Jerusha Lieow could be heard distinctly amongst the cries of support from the KE7 supporters. Could this be the start of something new? Please check out the following video to see what I mean. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awTNak6w0gs
Joan’s victory put KE7 on the cusp of guaranteeing a spot in the finals. Weng Shian would be the next KEVIIan to step onto the court, facing KR’s Vincent. Our precocious player’s talent was on full display as he won his match with a convincing scoreline of 11-1, 11-1, 11-6. Weng Shian’s win meant that KE7 would be advancing to the men’s squash finals – a fact not lost on the many KEVIIans present as wild screams and hoots of victory greeted Weng Shian’s final point. Our very own hall master, Prof Ho, was spotted cheering enthusiastically and waving his arms in the air in support of his own son. Weng Shian’s crafty play, which included a demonstration of his arsenal of trick shots, lead KE7’s very own Hall Beast, Mitchell Yeo, to mention that ‘he’s [Weng Shian] my idol.’
With our victory all but assured, the other two matches were mere formalities. Feng Fei, facing KR’s Glenn Koh in the fourth match, won 11-4, 11-2, and overcoming physical fatigue to clinch the third set at 11-9. In the final match, our squash team captain, Bryan, played it calm and cool to win 11-3, 11-3, 11-3 against KR’s Jin. The men’s squash semi-finals concluded in KE7’s favour 5-0 – a resounding victory indeed! A big shout-out to Kent Ridge for being great sportsmen, with smiles everywhere and being gracious in defeat, demonstrating the true spirit of the Inter-Hall Games.
The squash team will face Temasek Hall in the finals. Make sure that you’re there to support them in our first finals of IHG!