Written by: Gerald Lim
Edited by: Cheryl Tan
Tag numbers: 6 (Chong Fui Jin), 11 (Claire Tan), 16 (Susanna Yeo), 17 (Yi Ting), 22 (Charmaine)
On the sweltering afternoon of the 6th of January 2016, I gathered in a small and packed squash court in the NUS Kent Ridge Guildhouse. There were many supporters waiting outside the squash court and I had to squeeze my way in, fortunately able to grab a seat. There was not enough space in the three rows of the spectator seating area and many had to sit on the floor in front just to catch a glimpse of the match.
For those without prior knowledge of the game, the basic principle you need to understand is that one has to keep hitting the ball against the front wall within a demarcated area until the opponent cannot get it back any more. It is a very tiring game: according to the BBC, the ball can reach speeds of up to 170mph and players can burn off up to 1000 calories per hour of squash – higher than most other sports. You can only imagine the sheer intensity of the game. I had a new respect for the players after leaving the court.
Match 1: Fui Jin (KE) VS Tina (Eusoff)
Fui Jin was the first player on the female team and was off to a shaky start. It was clear from the start that Tina from Eusoff had more experience. However, that did not stop Fui Jin from trying her best – she remained optimistic, seeking advice from her coach on how to improve between sets and fought valiantly through all three sets. Eusoff eventually took the game.
Match Tally: 3-0 to Eusoff (11-1, 11-0, 11-0)
Match 2: 11, Claire (KE) against Emma (Eusoff)
The first set was intense and kept everyone on the edge of their seats as it was not apparent at any point during the game who was going to take the set. Claire from KE initially appeared to take the lead, and at one point she was leading 6-3. Soon after, Emma from Eusoff caught up and equalised 6-6. However, KE eventually prevailed and took the set 11-9.
In the second set, there was clearly some tension in the air. Both players had rather vexed looks on their faces. This time round though, the supporters finally started to warm up and there were cheers in the crowd for both Emma and Claire. However, this match was even more nail-biting than the first as the score eventually reached 10-10. However, Emma from Eusoff eventually won the match 12-10.
However, Claire was quick to learn from her mistakes, and soldiered on, displaying niftier footwork and more well-aimed shots. She eventually won the last two sets and took one match home for KE.
Match Tally: 3-1 to KE (11-9, 10-12, 11-9, 11-2)
Match 3: Suzanna (KE) against Joey (Eusoff)
Joey from Eusoff was off to a strong start in this first game. She impressed many with her skills in manipulating the angles and varying the intensity of the hits making it difficult for Joey from KE to take the ball. In spite of clearly being the underdog, Suzanna continued to remain positive and put up a spirited fight, but she eventually lost the set 11-6. However, she continued fighting hard in the next two sets, though eventually losing both.
Match Tally: 3-0 to Eusoff (11-6, 11-1, 11-3)
Match 4: Charmaine (KE) against Joey (Eusoff)
The first set was an entertaining treat for all the spectators. KE scored a very unexpected shot (it appears that Charmaine was not even trying) and a few misses by Joey got the whole crowd talking the could not believe how lucky KE got. Remarks from the crowd after the game include a ‘You gave us heart attack’ from the coach.
Charmaine fought on valiantly, after losing the first set. However, she eventually lost the last two. We applaud her for her great spirit!
Match Tally: 3-0 to Eusoff (11-6, 11-1, 11-2)
Match 5: Yi Ting (KE) against Priscilla (Eusoff)
The day was to end with most drama for the last match. In the second set, Priscilla from Eusoff, hit Yi Ting from KE in the face with her squash racket, while the game was tied at 10-10. However, Yi Ting continued to keep her spirit strong and fought on, despite the score reaching 14-14. She displayed commendable tenacity and endurance throughout this set, although Eusoff eventually took the set, and the game
Match Tally: 3-0 to Eusoff (11-6, 16-14, 11-5)
All in all, it was a great honour to be able to watch our KE Squash team do KE proud with an excellent show of perseverance.