Joshua 'Lionheart" Goh by Dad Bear
Joshua ‘Lionheart” Goh, a photo by Dad Bear on Flickr.

ACS (I) has been blessed in recent years to have good players who don the number 9 jersey. Bernard Chan in Secondary 3, Hilman Iskandar Wong in Secondary 4 and now Joshua Goh in Secondary 1 (playing in the C Div team), are 3 such players. If you look at them under the microscope, you will notice 3 different individuals who bear similar traits: namely, pint-sized pocket dynamos, strong and capable of competing above their weight class, fearless in the tackle and an eagle-eyed vision of play on the field. Not one who will back away from a challenge, they are 3 players who play hard and simply hate to lose. I am sure we will hear more of these 3 young men and the achievements on and off the field in the enar future.

Today saw ACS (I) play Saints in the C Div preliminary round robin match. Below is my official article submitted to RedSports.sg:

Round 2 of the National School C Div Rugby competition saw the marquee matchup between title favorites, Saint Andrews Secondary School and ACS (Independent). In a match which featured 2 potential semifinalists and even finalists, it was a match to feel out the opponent and of course, to steal a psychological edge over a rival, should they meet again in the latter stages of the competition.

Played in the blazing hot sun, on the unforgiving synthetic pitch of Republic Polytechnic, it was Saints who quickly settled into their rhythm and laid siege to the ACS (I) defensive third of the field. They took the lead when they successfully converted a penalty in the 10th minute of play. ACS (I) tried hard to reply, but bad handling errors as well as numerous controversial calls by the referee saw them hand the initiative firmly back to Saints. Saints pushed and probed and further increased their lead when they scored from open play after numerous phases. The try was duly converted. HT 10-0 to Saints.

In the second half, it was ACS (I) who came out with fire in the belly, no doubt having being read the the riot act by their head coach, Coach Adrian Chong. From a lethargic display in the first half, they were quicker on and off the ball and were soon knocking on the Saint’s try line. Saints defended lion-heartedly, refusing to let the ACS (I) forwards through. From a ruck 2m out, Saints stole the ball, albeit a very strong suspicion of “hands in the ruck” not spotted by the referee, and marched the ball into the ACS (I) half, ACS pressure and initiative over. From then on, it was Saints who dominated play in the remainder of the second half. They had the luxury of missing a penalty before their hard work reaped further dividends. This time, one of their backs going over the line after neat inter-passing from their players. The conversion hit the right upright, and bounced harmlessly out of play. Saints then saw the match out, with the young men in blue and white letting out a cry of joy at the final whistle.

It was a good game of rugby played in gentlemanly spirit, between 2 powerhouses of Singapore Schools rugby. Final score 15-0 to Saints.

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And that was the sanitized version. I had to water it down under orders from my eldest son J, who insisted that I at least try to make it sound like a neutral person wrote it.

Here in my blog, I am free to write as I feel.

The match was a farce. Saints wanted to win more than the ACS (I) lads. They were faster into the tackle, they were smoother in their passing and they used the field better. In contrast, the ACS boys were sluggish, not coordinated, with many appearing static and not even challenging in the rucks. The ACS boys dropped balls they do not normally drop, leading to the undoing of any good work done. Saints won most of their lineouts and many of ours. Their forwards bossed our forwards in the scrum, causing us to be pushed back repeatedly. No doubt many decisions went against the ACS team, justifiable or unjustifiably so, but a good team is capable of playing under any conditions, no matter who officiates the games.
The second half was a better picture of what the ACS team were capable of, however they were clearly second best to Saints on the day. Let’s hope that Captain Mike Yee and his band of merry men will grow from this experience. We pray that they will remember the pain they feel today and never forget how bad it feels.

More pics from today’s match can be seen here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tanyongkuan/sets/72157627014559667

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