Written by: Fui Jin
Edited by: Shabira
This season saw Squash made its first entrance in the IBG arena. “Usually Squash is not included in IBG, but Clyde (the males’ captain) didn’t say no on the [whatsapp] group,” Yi Ting, the females’ captain, remarked when asked about previous editions.
Hailing from the prestigious boarding school Harrow, Squash found its way to our very own KEVII Squash courts last Monday. Amidst the constant buzz and nervous energy from the players, it was apparent that most had never held a squash racquet before, let alone played squash before. For many, it was their first experience with this lesser known sport, one which this writer feels, will leave its lesser known days behind very soon.
Clyde started off the session by ushering the players into court 1 where he explained the rules of the game. Only single matches consisting two sets of 11 points each were to be played. In the event that the players from both teams won a set each, there would be a sudden death round to determine the winner of the match. Following that, the games began.
F vs GH
From the get go, De Sheng of block F powered his way to a 4-0 lead with a string of powerful serves. However, his streak came to an end when the ball bounced off the court on his 5th serve, resulting in Yu Jin of block GH gaining his first point, bringing the score to 4-1. De Sheng was quick to recover though, and raced ahead yet again, dropping only one point from another service error to lead with a score of 7-2. Not one to give up, Yu Jin produced a series of strategic drop shots, placing himself back into the game at 7-5. Unfortunately for him, De Sheng upped his performance and took the opening set with the final score being 11-8.
The second set contrasted from the first in that the score was progressing neck to neck from 2-2, to 4-4 until De Sheng led the game with a score of 7-5 by his strong, purposeful backhands. Yu Jin held his own with a few deftly placed shots and deep lunges but was ultimately outplayed by De Sheng who closed the second set with a score of 11-6. This win not only gave F block a headstart – it also provided an exciting start to a night of squash.
AB vs CD
Next, it was time for the girls to battle it out. Representing CD was Fiona and Gin Wen played for AB. As the tie progressed, it appeared that Fiona did indeed have some background in racket sports as seen from the confidence of her hits. Gin Wen was not one to be outdone as she hit a deceptive shot just out of Fiona’s reach to level the score at 2-2. However, any doubts of Fiona’s abilities were quickly squashed (pun intended) as she produced a variety of flat and fast shots that nestled themselves at the corner of the rectangle, making it extremely difficult for Gin Wen to retrieve. With that, Fiona wrapped up the first set with a total score of 11-4.
Having found her rhythm, Fiona was unstoppable as she raced ahead to a 7-0 lead in the second set. As much as Gin Wen tried her best to stay in the rallies, Fiona proved too agile, returning each of her shots with ferocity. Despite laudable attempts to halt Fiona in her tracks, Gin Wen was unable to prevent Fiona from emerging victorious with an 11-3 win in the second set.
E vs GH
Charmaine from GH dominated the first set with a plethora of deceptive and strategic shots. These shots proved to be quite tricky for E’s Wan Qi to fight against. Eventually, Charmaine closed off the first set with a deep serve, bringing the final score to 11-2.
Determined not to let the outcome of the first set to affect her, Wan Qi fought back bravely in the second. Quickening her footwork, she reached for every shot and the rallies grew more substantial. Charmaine, however, remained calm and composed and she ultimately sealed her win with an 11-1 triumph in the second set.
Overall, IBG Squash was both a great exposure session for those new to the game as well as a good opportunity for those already with experience to pit their skills against each other. Let’s hope that next year’s captain will forget to “say no on the [whatsapp] group” again.
Photos courtesy of KE Vision