Writer: Siow Yi Sheng
Layouter: Siow Yi Sheng
As the atmosphere in Sheares Hall’s multi-purpose hall heated up, I noted that our table tennis team this year was a very strong one, with superb players filling out the whole roster. Five matches were played that day, and we needed to win three to increase our chances of advancing on to the semi-finals. If we lost, we had only one chance left to avoid elimination by beating KE7 in the next preliminary match.
The air in the MPH was stuffy and still, but it was filled with tension, as both sides were going to be fighting hard to bring glory to their hall. The matches alternated between singles and doubles play, starting and ending with singles. For each match, players had to win three sets out of five to come out victorious, so there was plenty of action to be witnessed.
Yi Guo represented Raffles Hall in the first singles, evenly matched by his KR counterpart. Each point was decided quickly, as both players had good service balls which were difficult to receive. I watched in awe as neither player could gain a great advantage over the other, and the leads for either player never lasted long. After two sets, it was dead even at one set apiece. The third set was a nail-biter, as both players fought tooth and nail to gain the lead in the set. The points went from 11-11 to 16-16, as one player needed to get two points ahead of the other to close out the set. Unfortunately, the opponent from KR managed to inch his way ahead and won that set 18-16. Yi Guo came back in the fourth set to even it out at 2-2, but the opponent won the last set to give the first point to KR. Score: lost 2-3, KR leads 0-1.
Mu Cun and Yinan teamed up for the first doubles, trying to pull one back for RH. Right from the outset, I saw that both sides were equally strong, as the points kept swinging this way and that, just like the first singles. The RH supporters and team members cheered loudly for each point that we won, before quickly settling down to remain silent before the next serve. We managed to win the first set, but then the opponents seemed to gain a boost of power and accuracy, and they came back to win the next three sets to put RH 0-2 down. Score: lost 1-3, KR leads 0 – 2 KR.
Yue An stepped up to the table for the second singles. If we lost this match, it would be lights out for RH in this preliminary encounter. Yue An was bold and ambitious with his smashes, but was not as consistent as his opponent, who won the first game 11-5. Despite the RH supporters cheering him on from the sidelines, the opponent was too good this time, winning the next two sets to end the match in KR’s favour. Score: lost 0-3, KR leads 0 – 3 KR, next two matches to play on.
Jia Long and Yan Han continued to play in the other doubles match, in which they put up an impressive performance and showed their synergy around the table. They won their match convincingly in three straight games. Score: won 3-0, KR leads 1 – 3, last match plays on.
Ni Qi moved to the table confidently for the third singles. His stance and very air showed that he was fully ready for his opponent. Even in the short warm-up strokes before the actual game, it was evident that his opponent was simply outclassed. Ni Qi demolished his opponent quickly in three straight set. It was evident, after the match, that had we met with a bit more luck, we would come out victorious that day. Score: won 3-0, KR wins 2 – 3.