26 February 2016 — Valhall
Friday. A typical day of relaxation and peace also happened to be the day of the much anticipated Law-Med Floorball (W) match, which was anything other than relaxing and peaceful. After weeks of deliberation by the Sports Directors and the captains of both teams, the match was finally set at Valhall, a notoriously small court which was to host the massive courage of our 8-woman squad against the favourites Medicine who boasted an impressive squad of 10+ players.
The game started as was expected, with Medicine dominating the early exchanges and possession but to no ado, much like the Manchester United side of 2015/16. A tactical innovation saw Law adopt an unorthodox defensive 1-3 formation, designed to soak up pressure and then strike on the counter-attack. The Medicine team was clearly bewildered by the strange formation, as their attempts on goal were repeatedly thwarted by the uncompromising Law girls who swiftly issued notices of eviction to any Medicine player who approached the Law goal.
In particular, Maria (Y3) and Sim Hong (Y1) were extremely vocally passionate, barking out orders and commands to their teammates with all the aggression and fervour of an intoxicated lawyer in a taxi. The record-breaking 4-man strong crowd of Law supporters struggled to maintain straight faces, as more colourful curses rang out around the floorball court than in the Battle of Hogwarts. The first period ended 0-0, much to Medicine’s frustration and Law’s joy.
The second period soon began badly for Law, as they gave away a penalty amidst a goalmouth scramble. Shahirah (Y4) was adjudged to have stepped into the goalkeeper’s crease (a small box within the penalty box that nobody but the keeper is supposed to step into) when she made a vital goal-line clearance. Such sacrifices are par for the course in such sports. (see: Luis Suarez in the 2010 Fifa World Cup and more recently, Marcus Ting in the 2016 Lawrence Quahe Inter-year Soccer League).
A Medicine girl, of Singapore Floorball League Division 1 fame, stepped up to take the penalty against Law’s goalkeeper, Qiu Ginj (Y1), who looked nerveless and completely unfazed in the midst of such pressure. A taunt by loyal supporter Seetow Shiun Yang (Y4) “She’s only Singapore’s number 1 goalkeeper” (she’s actually Malaysia’s number 1 goalkeeper) was swiftly rebuked by a Medicine girl, but the mind games had done their damage. The Medicine penalty taker was dominated by Qiu Ginj, who blocked her shot with consummate ease. At any rate, the incredibly fair and impartial referee would have disallowed the goal had it been scored anyway because the Medicine girl had pulled the ball back before taking her shot (in a floorball penalty, the ball should only move forwards).
A missed penalty in floorball restarts with a powerplay, which means that Medicine had a 1 woman advantage for 2 minutes. In spite of Law’s numerical disadvantage, their defensive capabilities were an insurmountable shield comparable to promissory estoppel. Qiu Ginj was in particularly inspired form, as her deft hands plucked Medicine’s shots out of the air with unerring consistency. Law’s game-plan continued to work to perfection, as Sharon (Y2) managed to make quick breakaways on a few occasions to trouble the slightly shaky Medicine goalkeeper.
Deborah (Y4) displayed great tenacity in her final game for the Law team, while Vanessa (Y1) and Anmol (Y1) gave spirited performances on their debut appearances. Their youthful perseverance was a key factor in making the Medicine defenders constantly turn back and reset the play.
The second period finished goalless as well, which worried the referee to no end as the court booking was only up till 8pm and he had to consider the fastest way to determine a winner. It was already 7.40pm at that time, which made the traditional coin toss the favourite.
The third period began with renewed ambition from Medicine, who laid siege to the Law goal as usual, throwing everything including the kitchen sink at Law’s defensive sentinels. Somehow, a combination of legs, sticks, and Qiu Ginj’s colossal performance held firm. The game grew more intense, with players penalized for slashing and incorrect pushing offences. The Medicine players complained to the referee about being pushed around, but the referee brushed off their complaints, citing the Bolam test as support for his unquestionable authority.
Alas! Disaster struck with 5 minutes left on the clock, The Law team’s figurative supply of apples finally ran out, as a defensive lapse finally allowed the Doctors to score from close range, with Qiu Ginj helpless at the blind side. The Medicine team celebrated their 1-0 lead wildly, while the Law players looked utterly disappointed. It was a sucker punch which appeared to have knocked the wind out of their sails. Qiu Ginj gave a quick pep talk to the Law girls, demanding the continued effort of which they had been supplying bravely for so long.
This proved to be a highly effective team-talk, as soon after the restart of the game, Maria went on a mazy run through the Medicine team, fending off slashes and failed bodychecks before unleashing a fierce drag shot past the despairing goalkeeper to tie things up at 1-1. The Law supporters were undoubtedly impressed, as that run-and-shot through a technically superior team was arguably even more difficult than obtaining a TC in today’s job climate.
The game ended on an anti-climatic note, as the terrible rink at Valhall meant that the ball kept rolling out of play, which necessitated restarts via consecutive face-offs. Before long, regulation time had ended and so began the determination as to how to settle the winner. The referee tried to reason with the Medicine team that penalties were the faster and more efficient way to go, since it was already 7.57pm and someone else had booked the court for 8pm. However, the Medicine team demanded an extra period of sudden death golden goal, which the Law team opposed. In a breakdown of negotiations reminiscent of my LCS Negotiation Evaluation, Medicine said they would not consider penalties and Law said they would not consider sudden death. The penalty for such indecision (it was already 8.03pm at this point) was the sudden death of the game, as some outsiders took over the court and the referee was forced to conclude the game as a draw.
It was a great performance by both teams with contrasting styles, and much credit has to go to our women’s team for holding their own amidst the many difficulties which were elucidated by team captain Sharon at the post-match handshakes. In the end, a Medicine girl who was also the IVP vice-captain succinctly said that Law-Med is about two faculties coming together to play a friendly game and bonding through sports, so a draw was okay, which warmed the hearts of many. I am not sure I agree though.
Written by: Gan Guo Wei (Y4)
Photos by: Seetow Shiun Yang (Y4)