Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Simplified Report of Training

If you've ever visited the BBC Sport website and followed the live text commentary on football, tennis, etc. you'll find that they sometimes change reporters when the one on duty has to cover another event. Now you get the simplified report because those BBC reporters are super awesome and this writer is nowhere near them.

It's seemed like ages since the last Saturday training was held. The team of Frontliners 300 were too busy upsetting the books in Penang League. Training was also cancelled last week as more than half the players in Frontliners were students. So as you can understand, an air of suspense and impatience was hanging over the players before training. Especially when word got out that there would be a different coach for the day.

No taskmaster Jason and perfectionist, mad genius Kuan Yang to drive the players crazy? No wonder so many players showed up that day.

The coach that day was none other than Nicholas Teoh Ping Hooi.

So training started off with passing, and with both Sharron and Soon Khai around, the players took shots to warm up the keepers. The goalposts, however, were missing, so Michael ingeniously stacked three benches on top of each other.

The next few drills were various combinations of passing and shooting.

Following the pass-shoot, something like that drill, was 2-on-1. Stand-in coach NIcholas then pitted the Div. 1 and Div. 2 players against each other. The D1 guys, of course, took full command with their super speed and 'where did that come from?' shots. True to their never-say-die attitude, Julian and Tristan did put in some goals although most of the time they would find themselves upset by the benches. More than often the ball would end up hitting the benches (or Steven) four or five times before one of them eventually decided to lob it high enough to go in.

With the absence of influential centre Michael, things were a little shaky but they soon picked up pace, with Sachin even getting a hand in goal with a lob from his own half.

Training ended when players started dropping like flies. Okay, maybe not falling on the ground unexpectedly but they were tired and there were no more players to substitute. After that, a few words from Steven and money collection from the new ah long, Kenneth (accidentally called Caleb by Steven).

And everyone is encouraged to attend training sessions to make sure there will be no slacking off with the next game only in 2 weeks.

Friday, February 20, 2009

300 G3: Pictures

Koay Yi Lin in no mood to be nice today!

Home (Griffins) in Black; Away (300) in Yellow.

Coach Oliver of Griffins surprised.

I'm with sexy.


Ooooo... Frontliners! and Let's Go Griffins!

Face-off: Griffins vs 300.
Referee imposing himself early on.

Great view from here.

First two minutes inevitably goes to Griffins.

Captain Michael mobbed by his teammates after opening the scoring.

Griffins congratulating Gim Hoong (shaking hands with keeper) after his equaliser.

Ztec Griffins 1-1 Frontliners 300

Julian in one of his rare ball-chasing moments.

Finally got the wall all sorted out.

Yet another two minutes for Griffins.

Apparently, Julian has other things on his mind...

Ever-gaya Kuan Yang giving some pointers to Michael.

...What's there to laugh about? Well, Coach said laugh...

Would you look at the size of that mouth (Coach Jason's)! ...as others try to duck for cover.

Second-half face-off: Has Lin Ken changed his shorts?

Captain Mikey with his trademark hands-up celebration as the team comes running out to celebrate with him.

2-1 to 300; let's hope it stays that way!

Coach Jason reorganising his team after being reduced to four.

Fortunes reversed: Griffins down to three.

Griffins' three players on court all in defence.

Megan fighting off Daniel Boey.

Gim Hoong outmuscling Megan who looks shockingly underweight here.

Captain Michael doing what he does best.

Time-out called by Oliver to revitalize the Griffins.

An anxious but quiet Coach Jason.

Julian at his best: getting into open spaces but lacking the finishing touch.

Captain Michael watching on as yet another shot is saved by Amos.

Gaffer Oliver pacing the sidelines, shouting instructions... where's the chewing gum?

A relieved and jubilant Captain Michael at the final whistle.

Three cheers for Frontliners 300.

"Good game... good game... good game..."
300 thanking the crowd for their ever-present support.

300 G3: Lucky 300?

Scrappers, both of them (300 and Griffins), but in the end it all boiled down to individual pieces of skill between the two players-to-watch, Michael of 300 and Gim Hoong of Griffins. Whose star would shine the brightest, and whose would fade in comparison?

In the opening minutes it appeared to be all 300, who took the initiative right from the start. Captain Michael, as usual, could already be seen covering every inch of the court. And whenever Griffins regained the ball, they simply presented it right back to 300's ever-improving defensive partnership of Sonia and June.

So it was no surprise when, after Griffins were reduced to four for somewhat inconspicuous slashing called, 300 took the lead through none other than their top scorer, Michael. His low shot beat keeper Amos and sneaked into the bottom right side of the goal.

Griffins had finally gotten the wake-up call they needed, and they responded in the best possible way, by scoring after 300 failed to clear their lines. Gim Hoong, who had the ball in the dangerous and crowded centre, checked his shot and fooled Michael in the process. Then with a neat turn, he drove the ball past unsighted keeper Soon Khai to level the scorelines and dampen 300's soaring confidence.

That goal was a sucker-punch for 300 and it seemed that there was no better time for Griffins to quickly put another past 300. However, Griffins looked to be satisfied with getting back to level terms and settled into their early match languor again.

Griffin's scorer Gim Hoong almost went from hero to villain after he was sent out for slashing, but Griffins held on to frustrate 300 and ended the half all level at 1-1.

In the second half, both teams sprang out of the blocks immediately, contesting every ball that was up for grabs and putting muscle into every challenge. Even the girls were inspired; Ruth of Griffins going through Roselyn as if she weren't there and knocking her out of the court, in her quest for the ball.

Of course, the referees would stand none of that nonsense.

A very Kuan Yang-esque shot from a freehit saw 300 go one up again and Michael cementing his position at the top of the scorer's charts.

Griffins upped the tempo of the game as 300 got both slightly complacent and tired. They appeared to have the upper hand when Julian was sent off for incorrect distance, but trust Captain Michael to come flying in, take the ball up to the right corner and hold it there for a long, long time.

Also getting two Griffins sent off for slashing.

And suddenly, Griffins' advantage was overturned. It was now 300 who outnumbered them by four to three. So Coach Jason decided to take this opportunity to rest Megan and Michael rather than increase their lead, a decision that was greeted with surprise by the crowd who was urging him to send the double-M's on.

If not for good fortune and reflexes by Soon Khai, Coach Jason's decision could have gone the wrong way altogether. Griffins, in the last five minutes that seemed to last for eternity, resorted to whacking the ball up high from deep inside their half then sending all five men to chase for it.

This proved very effective as it penned 300 inside their own half. But Griffins spurned more than half the chances that came away, often the culprit being Brandon who would send his shots flying up into the basketball board.

And so when the final whistle went, 300 could finally breathe a collective sigh of relief for having snatched all two points in a match whose outcome could have been so different.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

300 G2: Pictures

Soon Khai organising his wall.

Guilty party of two.

Half time: 1-0 to 300.

Aiks, referees already putting up their feet?

Take a breather, gulp down that water... now what did coach just say??

Come on, 300/Bullets!

Face-off for the second half.

Julian the provider, squaring the ball for Megan to score.

The entire team celebrates Megan's goal.

Captain Michael celebrating a superb goal, 300 are 3-0 up in no time.

Soaked in sweat but still fighting: Isaac Ng.

Captain Michael going in a little too strong on Hai Chin.

Subsequent freehit by Sheryn.

Resilient Bullets: always together, win or lose.

Sweet, sweet victory.

The making of fine orators in the later years of life, hey?

Bullets gracious in defeat.

One for the record books: 300 record their first ever win in Penang League.

Grateful players from both teams thank their supporters.

A bushed-out but contented Captain Michael.

Two very contrasting ways of celebration by Julian (left) and Tristan.

Warming down those tired legs.

S-t-r-e-t-c-h those muscles...

Proof of a very thorough and effective warming down.

The smiles are out after 300's historic win over Bullets.

300's two yellow warriors.

Not forgetting, of course, Soon Khai's clean sheet: something of a rarity.

And finally... (to appease Coach Jason's complaint over not having enough pictures of himself) take a good look at the brains behind 300's first ever victory.