Written by Hariharasudhan Ayyappan
Edited by Ong Hui Shan
Sunday evening marked the end of the KEVII badminton team’s IHG campaign as they played their final group game against Sheares Hall at MPSH 5. With KEVII being grouped with Eusoff Hall and Sheares Hall, qualifiying for the semis was definitely going to be a tough task, but we were not going down without a fight. Confident of a good showing, the team warmed up with some grueling practice. The format of the competition was as follows: three singles and two doubles matches adding up to a total of 5 matches between the two teams.
The 1st match kicked off at around 7:45pm with the KEVII captain Yeo Yun Han taking on his counterpart from Sheares hall. Within minutes, his opponent had raced off to a 7 point lead with the score at 11-4, displaying his technical prowess through a wide variety of shots. Though Yun Han put up a spirited fight, he lost the first game 8-21. In the second game, Yun Han was unfortunate, injuring his knee while trying to retrieve a drop shot. His injury dashed any hopes of a comeback as SH wrapped the game up 2-21 to obtain a 1-0 lead.
The first doubles match of the competition saw Colin Peers and Haojin from KE7 take on Min Hau and Keith from SH .It was a good display of aggressive game play by both teams. Nevertheless, the experience of the Sheares team was evident from their victory in straight games 21-10, 21-13.
Next, Sudibyo Gunawan from KE7 played against Yu He from SH – this was a crucial game as we had to win it to remain in the running. The left-handed Sheares athlete dominated the game as he first took a 5-0 lead and then an 11-2 lead with his accurate cross-court smashes. Gunawan was unable to recover from the onslaught of attacks from his opponent, and lost the first game 7-21. Though he improved considerably in the second game, he was unsuccessful in stopping Yu He from winning the game 21-11, sealing the deal for SH with an unassailable 3-0 lead.
In the 4th game, Fang Hau and Gregory took on their opponents from SH in hope of a consolatory victory. They took some time in finding their feet and conceded the first game 21-10. However, they took their opponents head-on in the second game: after some breathtaking rallies, the score was evenly poised at 6 points on both sides. In a see-saw battle, they conceded 4 pts on the trot but made a spirited comeback to lead 18-17. In another twist of events, SH took a couple of quick points only for Greg and Fang Hau to return the favour. This nail-biting sequence of alternating fortunes carried on till both teams were tied at 22 points. What followed was a beautiful back-and-forth which ended in KE7 taking the game 24-22. However, the previous game had worn the players out, and they lost the deciding game 12-21.
In the final game, KE7 was still fighting for a win with Jet Chun taking on Kaya from Sheares. Both players gave their best and Kaya prevailed in the first game 21-10. Nevertheless, Jet Chun hit back with a stirring comeback as he outplayed Jet Chun with some superb smashes and well-disguised drop shots to win the first 5 points, making it 11-3. He then took the game 21-14 with a particularly jaw-dropping sequence of 4 well-earned points. But alas, it was not KE’s fate to earn a victory: Kaya won the last game 21-6.
In retrospect, the badminton showdown on Sunday was one of those matches in which the scorecard was a bad indicator of the game quality. Even though KE7 was outplayed 5-0, all the games were fought to the tooth and nail, with our players displaying technical prowess and agility. Kudos to the KE7 team for playing their hearts out! We are confident of a much improved showing in the coming year!
IN KEVII, WE BELIEVE!!!