BKC_9514 copy by Dad Bear
Break Out, a photo by Dad Bear on Flickr.

The pre-season friendlies kicked off with match against Saint Andrews Secondary. Saints had quite a few players still recovering from injuries, and fielded a fairly youthful team. ACSI got off to a blistering start with captain and winger, Matthew Quek, going over the line for the first try in the left corner. With a failed conversion, ACSI led 5-0 with nary 2 minutes on the clock. Not contented to sit back, MQ outran the Saints backline again 8 minutes later score the game’s second try. Another missed conversion meant the score remained 10-0 to ACSI. Saints in a typical fashion then increased their intensity, in search of a score to narrow the deficit. However, the ACSI defence held firm and from a quick break, Joel Lim completed a neat interplay of passes, to score in the right corner. A third conversion meant Saints remained within touching distance at 15-0. Just before the end of the half, flanker Gabriel Koh finished off another move by the marauding pack in Gold and Blue. It was fullback Joshua Chan who finally converted the 4th try, albeit a shaky one with the ball crawling over the bar, after hitting it from 10 m left of the posts. HT 22-0.

In the second half, Saints came out roaring, and had ACSI pinned down in their half. ACSI had to their credit never panicked and continue to hold their line, often having to put multiple bodies on the line. When the Saints backline failed to collect a clearance from the ACSI final 22, it was MQ who capitalised on the opportunity, running in another try to ACSI, putting more daylight between the teams. Failure to convert the try meant that the scores remained at 27-0. The heat continued to sap away the stamina of both teams. And a lack of awareness, coupled with fatigue saw Saints having the last say with a decent try in the last minute.

Final Score ACS (I) 27- Saints 5

Takeaway points:

A good result for the first match of the season. Even if there was nothing at stake except for pride, bragging rights and a psychological advantage.

Both sides were missing key players. ACS(I) had Prop Daniel Goh and number 8, Richard Keim nursing injuries. Saints still have their captain, Kevin Yeow recovering from a knee problem.

The ref had a good game. He was quick to call fouls, and yet adept at playing the advantage to allow a smoother game. He was able to communicate well with the players, and was in command of the situation throughout.

The heat was stifling, for both sets of players. Perhaps a few more water breaks in each half would have been advisable, to prevent the possibility of heat exhaustion and even heatstroke.

ACS really needs to improve the accuracy of its kicking. No doubt, most of today’s kicks were from near or around the touchline, a return of 1 out of 5 is definitely not championship form.

The Saints forward pack were in good form, and more than held their own in the scrums and the lineouts. They will be a force to reckon when the competition proper begins.

Overall a good solid performance from both ACS(I) forwards and backs.

More pictures from the day’s match can be seen here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tanyongkuan/sets/72157628905519567/with/6709165561/