Benjamin's extra-time try sees ACS (I) retain B Division title
Rugby 'convert' scores try in extra time to hand ACS (I) B Division title
When Benjamin Poey was nine, his godbrother introduced him to rugby as a hobby.
Three years later, the Anglo-Chinese School (Primary) pupil was already thinking of pursuing the sport competitively, only to run into a major roadblock - his parents.
"Back then, rugby was still very new to Singapore. Furthermore, I was a really scrawny guy, so they knew I would get injured really easily," the 16-year-old said.
But Benjamin managed to convince them that he was good enough for a place in the fabled Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) team, and that decision was vindicated yesterday.
In front of a 1,000-strong crowd, ACS (I) overcame Saint Andrew's Secondary School 17-12 to claim the National B Division title, with Benjamin scoring the crucial try in a nail-biting sudden-death finish.
After the match at the MOE Physical & Sports Education Branch ended 12-12 in regular time, the winger's swashbuckling run to the try line three minutes into extra time triggered wild celebrations from the ACS (I) faithful.
"I was quite awestruck; I didn't know what to do after I scored but I just felt very happy to end the season well," said the Secondary 4 student.
"My inside support drew the opponents away, so credit goes to my team who worked really hard and brought me to where I am now."
It could have been a different story for the defending champions had the Saints been slightly more clinical after the break.
After ACS (I) led 12-0 in the second half through tries from Benjamin Lim and Muhammad Nur Solihin Mansor, in addition to a Tristan Yeow conversion, their bitter rivals gradually grew into the game.
With seven minutes to go, Saints hooker Philip Joseph earned a try that was converted by Viviyan Philip, before Samuel Lee's touchdown drew them level three minutes later.
The chance then fell to captain and set-piece specialist Viviyan to complete a remarkable comeback, but the 17-year-old missed his conversion to allow ACS (I)'s fairy-tale finish.
"I'm disappointed I didn't put that in because if I did, we would have won," Secondary 5 student Viviyan said.
"But at the end of the day, it's about how I can learn from my mistakes and kick better under pressure."
Long-time ACS (I) rugby coach Adrian Chong was full of praise for his charges, especially after they were humiliated 22-0 by the Saints in the season-opener.
"After they equalised, we saw a few heads hanging," he said.
"(Viviyan's miss) was very crucial because that would have changed the whole course of the game, but the boys really dug deep to give the last run; that showed the character of the team.
"In sudden-death, a team will normally wait for a penalty to end the game, but they took a gamble and it paid off."