I promised Coach Adrian Chong that I would definitely be at the finals should ACS (I) make it to the A Division rugby finals. I was glad that I kept my promise. Simply said it was a cracker of a match and nobody really knew who the winner was going to be until the ref blew for the final whistle.

Below is the report I had written and submitted to Redsports, (awaiting approval).

More pictures can be seen @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/tanyongkuan/sets/72157626571422563/

Saint Andrew’s Junior College met ACS (Independent) in the final of A division Rugby Tournament 2011. The match was held at the Home Team Academy Field and was well attended by partisan crowds from both schools.

Saints had defeated ACS (I) 11-0 in the preliminary rounds of the competition, so coming into the final, Saints were the marginal favorites to take the championship.

After Saints had performed their traditional Haka dance, ACS (I) kicked off the match. From the opening whistle, it was clear that the game would be a war of attrition with few scoring opportunities, and the team making the fewest mistakes and able to make the most of their opportunities, likely to emerge victorious.

ACS (I) took the lead 10 minutes when number 8, James Morgan, converted a penalty from the left of the post. He had missed a harder one just minutes earlier. Saints hit back almost immediately, when they breached the ACS (I) backline to score the opening try of the game. Saints unfortunately missed the conversion. Following a slew of missed penalties (2 from ACS (I) and 1 from Saints), the teams went into the break 5-3 in favor of Saints.

In the second half, ACS (I) missed another kick at goal before Saints increased their lead with a penalty 2 minutes after that. That penalty seemed to spark the ACS (I) team to life. They went on the offensive and were rewarded with a penalty at the Saints 5 metre line. Number 8 James Morgan took the penalty quickly before Saints could react, and went over next to the corner flag. Number 10, Calvin Ying had taken over kicking duties by then, narrowly missed the conversion from next to the 22 m flag. Score 8-8.

With 10 minutes to go, Saints had a put in for a scrum some 10 metres from the ACS (I) tryline. When the ball came out, Saints had the crowd buzzing when their standoff coolly slotted home a drop goal from about 20 meters out, which curled in just inside the right goal post, giving Saints a 11-8 lead.

Just when you thought that the ACS (I) was out for the count, they upped a gear and marched the ball down the Saints half. From a penalty lineout, Number 10 Calvin Ying received the ball, evaded a couple of desperate lunges and touched down for a try just next to the left goal post. He then dusted himself down and coolly took the conversion successfully. ACS (I) leads 15-11

With 4 minutes to play, Saints went for broke, attacking relentlessly but the ACS (I) lads held their line. They conceded 2 penalties in succession to Saints, but needing a try to win, Saints elected to run the ball, but to no avail. On cue, the ref who had a good game, then blew for time, sending many of the boys in blue and gold onto their knees in tears of joy. The disappointment on the Saints lads’ faces was plain to see. They played their hearts out, and they had nothing to be ashamed off. Both teams will meet again to compete another day, but for now, ACS (I) had earned the right to call themselves champions.