by Crystal Chang
Some people say touch rugby is a gentle and mild version of rugby, where you touch your opponent instead of sitting on them. Last Friday’s versions of touch rugby at Tanjong Beach, though, were nowhere near a gentle sport when touching and ramming suddenly became synonyms. But there is nothing wrong with that, in fact, the roughness made it all the more fun to play and interesting to watch! Coupled with the great level of sportsmanship shown by the players, there was nothing to worry for, only exciting and fast paced action to watch.
The boys’ results were pretty mixed but Kirin, the winning house of the day, emerged as the champion in the end. The girls’ matches were more straightforward, with most of the games getting draws and the Bennu girls dominating with their two wins and one draw – 1-1 against Drakon.
The sudden onslaught of rain and the never ceasing harsh sunlight were a dampener for the event, but they certainly did not affect the players’ hype and morale. Games were stopped twice while everyone squeezed under the tentage, taking the time to have some well-deserved break for well-needed food. When the games resumed, the now fully fed players resumed their oomph factor and returned to the games with as much, or more, zest than before.
Top scenes of last Friday definitely included Drakon’s tradition of sliding to victory: diving facedown into the sand with the ball in their hands, hoping for a touchdown, without, of course, any one touching them. Xiao Qi, from the girls’ team, was one of the players most apt at that and was constantly spotted rolling in the sand.
Wen Qi, from the winning girls’ team Bennu, made an incredible intercept in the match with Homa and after which made a free run straight to the scoring line and scored her team the only point in that match. She said, “You see their eyes and you’ll know where they’ll pass to – basketball skills.”
The boys’ matches often saw amazing catches, ridiculous intercepts and full on body on body ramming. Their games were extremely fast paced and possession of the ball continuously switched sides. While it was interesting to watch, it definitely was not easy to umpire. As expected from games, players tried their luck, incessantly, much to the irritation of the umpires. With the booming sound system right next to the touch rugby court, the incredibly fast-changing matches and the rowdy players the umpires tried their best to keep order and to the rules but occasionally found themselves drowned by all the noise. All ended well though, with the umpires learning to beef up and scold players one and a half times their height, fiercely.
As the day drew to a close, it became obvious that touch rugby was a game where the teams with the best teamwork won. On the touch rugby court, the “heroes” hardly ever won. All teams played their hardest with the one goal of scoring as many points as they could for their house. Despite the scores, the players came together at the end of every game for the customary handshakes – a personal favourite – with smiles and compliments for the opponent team only. So here’s to the commendable spirit all the players displayed in true Dunmanian fashion, on court or not! The guardians appreciated it!