Two-goal Qurratu’aini secures victory for Teck Whye
Two-goal heroine leads comeback but credits team for never-say-die spirit
They went into the break 1-0 down, but Qurratu'aini Azhari scored twice to give Teck Whye Secondary School a 2-1 win over Crescent Girls' School in the Schools National B Division Girls' hockey tournament yesterday.
Last year's losing finalists were heading towards a draw before Qurratu'aini swept in a penalty corner two minutes from time.
Speaking to The New Paper after the game at the Sengkang Hockey Pitch, the two-goal heroine said: "It's not just down to my effort; it's the whole team and our resilience to come back stronger."
Crescent, who finished third last year, started on the front foot, forcing their opponents into defensive errors in the sweltering afternoon heat.
They went ahead when Rachel Chua capitalised on a defensive mistake to score after 13 minutes.
But Teck Whye gradually got back into the game and their relentless attacks led to four penalty corners in the second half.
Seven minutes after the restart, Qurratu'aini showed quick reflexes to equalise from a penalty corner, before grabbing a late winner from another.
"I was a bit worried (about going a goal down) at first, but I think the team put in a lot of effort," the 16-year-old said.
"We made some mistakes, but we improved in the second half."
The Secondary 4 student, whose team lost 2-0 to CHIJ St Theresa's Convent in the final last year, is not ruling out going one better this time around.
"I'm confident about winning the title because for the past six months, we've been training very hard to get this good," she said.
"I think that we can be better than this in the next game."
Teck Whye coach Redzuan Ponirin said his charges have to improve defensively if they are to lift the trophy.
"We have been training to prevent such mistakes. Being kids, they tend to make all these mistakes under pressure," he said.
"But it's a good lesson to learn.
"We're too dependent on some players."
Despite that, Redzuan praised his side's determination.
"The good thing is, even though they know they are under pressure, they still go for it," he added.
"I think that spirit is always in us, and again we deliver right on time.
"Even though it's a heart attack for the coaches, I think they deserved to win."
Teck Whye next face St Theresa's Convent on Tuesday, with the top four in the six-team group progressing to the semi-finals.
The final will be played at the Sengkang Hockey Pitch at the end of next month.