OPA-SPI Games Carnival 2019
The OPA-SPI Annual Games Carnival is yet another proud tradition for both OPA and SPI which has been carrying on every year. This event normally takes place in the month of August but for this particular year of 2019, it has to be held earlier in the month of July due to the tight schedule of the school. A planning meeting was held in the school a month before that, which was attended by the OPA President, Secretary, the Sports Chairman with Puan Shantini Lingam, the Senior Assistant of Co-curriculum and Sports Teacher, Cikgu Haizzard representing the school. A very fruitful meeting of brainstorming and sharing of ideas on how we can add more spice and further improvement and the date was then set for 26th -27th July 2019.
Time flies and it has already been 6 years since the implementation of the Overall Champion or winner of “Mr. Ng Yee Tim Trophy”, duly named after the sponsor. The record as of today stand with OPA winning the Trophy back to back for the last 4 years compared to SPI winning only once. On both side of the divide, excitement begins with predictions of who will be crowned the Champion of Champion this year. As usual a total of 7 games will be played, namely, Badminton, Football, Hockey, Squash, Table Tennis, Basket Ball and Volley Ball. It has to be noted that there is also sponsored trophies for 3 other games, namely Tennis, Cricket and Billiards but sadly there is not enough or no players available for these games. Also, without the facilities available in the school, Hockey, Badminton and Squash have to be played in venues outside the school. Another thing to be noted is that Form 5 players will not be featured in any of the games this year due to the upcoming trial examination the following week thus giving OPA an undue advantage.
Badminton was played in Ma Hwa Hall on the 26th July, a day before the main event. It was a Friday evening and traditionally Friday has always been a “badminton night” for the old boys who have formed a group to play and socialize every Friday for some time now. The format was 5 sets of doubles play to suit OPA players in case these seniors can’t last the pace against the youngsters if singles were to be played. SPI have to carry the “underdog tag” in the absence of the elite fifth former players. Nevertheless, they have to be commended for their courage and fighting spirit only to lose out to OPA by a one game aggregate at 2-3. One up for OPA! After a short break and a brief address by the OPA President Steven Chan, Cikgu Noraziah was called upon and given the honor to present the trophy and medals to the winning team.
On the morning of 27th July, carnival atmosphere once again erupted in Mont LaSalle as droves of old boys thronged the school field after registering for their respective games. A light breakfast of mouthwatering fried meehoon, curry puff and vadai was served, organized by Puan Shantini. Music was blasting away through the PA system. What an awesome homecoming for the old boys! Indeed, a great occasion to meet up with old friends and at the same time given the opportunity to interact with newer ones. A total of 172 players from both side participated. An appeal was made to start off the games simultaneously as we need to finish up early and proceed to RSUC for the Squash matches and besides, the hockey match will be played in the evening as well in S2, so looks like it’s going to be a very long day ahead.
The whistle was blown for the kick off for the football match. Football as well as hockey is a game that involved lots of body contacts and disagreements on fouls and rough play is bound to happen in the absence of a good umpire. As such we have to engage the service of a certified umpire and 2 official linesmen to arbitrate. When it comes to football, OPA is always well represented with a team of season footballers, consisting of many from the Lobak Football team. Unlike in previous years, both teams are often evenly matched fighting tooth and nail until the final whistle with results which could have gone either ways. However, it was a one-sided affair this year. Even without their regulars, SPI team was in convincing form to deliver a 4-1 trashing leaving OPA stunned. Thus with this win, an equalizer for SPI with the overall score at OPA 1 - SPI 1. In the foyer of the ECM Libra building, the matches for Table Tennis was on going. The format was 5 sets of 3 singles and 2 doubles. A relief for the SPI team when Kenny Hereira, an ex-international was not on the list. Representing OPA was Captain Yam Kait Wah, ex-teacher Lee Yuen Loy, PIBG Chairman Woo Yew Kong and some regulars who happens to be from the Table Tennis section of RSUC. SPI prevails a better team winning with a score of 3-2, which now put SPI in the lead of the overall results at SPI 2 - OPA 1. On the other side of the field and sharing the same court, Basketball and Volleyball were to be played after one have finished and vacated the court. Favorite to win in basketball have always been OPA lead by well-known cager Kau Wai Hong an ex-school player. However, SPI must be commended for their grit and determination to win and created an upset with an impressive win of 82-73. With this win, SPI widen their lead in the overall score with SPI 3 – OPA 1. Immediately after the game, the match for volleyball took place. Noticeably seen was ex-teacher, the “evergreen” James Lee. To James, the OPA Games Carnival is something not to be missed. Past year winner was SPI and it remains to be seen if they can maintain a winning streak. However, OPA was in great form, probably motivated by James’s presence and went on to avenge their previous year defeat winning 2-1. With this win, OPA managed to narrowed the deficit in the overall score, which now stands at SPI 3 – OPA 2. Two more games left which is Squash and Hockey to be play later in the day. All SPI need is just to win one of these two games to re-clinch the coveted “Mr. Ng Yee Tim Trophy”, which they last won in 2014. Meanwhile, it appears to be an uphill task for OPA knowing very sure that what they need is a miracle to beat the magnificent SPI hockey team.
After a short break, all participants and guests was called to adjourn to the ECM Libra foyer for the prize giving and closing ceremony. Also present at the prize giving ceremony was Principal Mr Lee Boon Seng and OPA Vice President Mr Ng Yee Tim, also the sponsor for the Challenge Trophy. OPA President, Mr. Steven Chan gave his address where he congratulated the winners and explained the significant of the OPA-SPI Games where what matter foremost is the Paulian Spirit. Mr. Lee Boon Seng and Mr. Ng Yee Tim presented the trophies and medals to the respective winning teams. And finally, in line with tradition, the event was concluded with the singing of School Rally and Victory March.
In the later part of the day, the challenge continued with the Squash tournament in Royal Sungai Ujong Club. Senior Assistant for Co-curriculum Puan Shantini Lingam and OPA Vice President Lee Kok Keong were present to support. Looking very confident is SPI, hoping to grab a point here to clinch the overall champion title. Even if they don’t make it in Squash, it can be a sure winner in Hockey. However, there are surprises in stored for them. In the game for Squash, OPA Captain Gerald Singh was in no compromising mood after missing it out the previous year due to work commitment, as he mustered his team to trash the younger Paulians convincingly, winning 4 sets to 1. Looks like OPA have been well prepared. Overall score is now evened at SPI 3 – OPA 3, with SPI the hot favorite to win in Hockey. For the record, the SPI team is the reigning District Champion and going by past years results, OPA have never beaten them before in the last 8 years. Unfortunately, the team “stalwarts” are fifth formers and have been deprived to play and for exposure purpose, coach Lawrence organized a team of second stringers comprising players from Form 1 to Form 4. On the other hand, among those in the OPA line-up was 4 ex-international players namely Derek Fidelis, William Lazaroo, Raymond Tio and another. An exciting match ensued and at the final whistle, the score was 7-4 in OPA favor, meaning the “Mr. Ng Yee Tim Trophy” remains in OPA possession for at least another year. Bravo OPA!!!