A new generation of Rammers Rugby
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by Emir Suleiman
The MSSNM Rugby 10s Championship. A contest of 12 rugby sides from the whole of Melaka, to determine who’s best. For the U-15 Rammers, everything we had ever played for was on the line. A two-day tournament that would determine what we are was just what we needed after a rough loss against Victoria Institution at the start of the season.
The tournament commenced on the 9th of September 2022 at SMK Telok Mas. Once we arrived, we wasted no time and started with our team warm-ups supervised by our head coach, Mr. Khairul Ashraf. As time went on, more teams arrived on the field.
Undoubtedly, the boys were on edge. We had little to no idea of what these teams were capable of doing since this was the first state championship held after the pandemic.
The KYS RAMMERS’ first game of the grouping stages was against SMK Munshi Abdullah. We ended our first match with a 17-0 victory with tries scored by Solleh Aqlan, Imran Haafizh, and Airiel Mariez. After a quick team talk and a few words from Mr. Khairul Ashraf, our second and final match of the grouping stages was inbound.
We were up against SMK Paya Rumput. A team with immense size, each of their players towering over us all. Nevertheless, Rammers pulled through with a 21-0 win with tries scored by Airel Danish, Solleh Aqlan, Najmi Hakim, and two tries scored by Adli Imran. We ended day 1 of the tournament at the top of our grouping which sent us to the Cup Final playoff to be held on day 2.
With the responsibility of defending the title as Champions of Melaka, the boys were surely under lots of pressure. Our next match, the quarterfinals of the cup category was against SMK Bukit Baru, an unfamiliar team to us, but definitely not a team to be taken lightly.
With the kickoff whistle ringing in our ears, a sudden reality set in. Every decision, every action, even the slightest of mistakes, would cost us a spot in the cup final. SMK Bukit Baru put up a good fight against us, the score was tied 5-5, up until the last play when a pass was given out-wide to Solleh Aqlan for an explosive run down the right side of the pitch. The KYS Rammers secured a huge win, ending the quarter-finals with a score of 10-5 with the other try scored by super-star Adli Imran.
Then came the semifinals, against the Giants of Melaka, Malaysia’s powerhouse, SMK Telok Mas or better known as AKRAM. The tension amongst the players was unimaginable. Mr. Khairul Ashraf had recalled a few strategies to overcome the undefeated team and had demanded we utilize their weaknesses on the pitch.
The boys knew they had to put their bodies on the line to secure a spot in the finals. We stepped onto the pitch with confidence, keen on victory. During the first half, we did well holding our territory with our drift defending. Unfortunately, a line break led to a try by the opposition, AKRAM.
After an uplifting talk from Mr. Khairul Ashraf during halftime, we resumed our clash in the second half. We continued our non-stop defense tactic throughout the whole period, but alas, a try was scored from the opposition after a blindside run off the scrum. SMK Telok Mas walked away with a ticket to the cup finals. We were at a loss for words.
Our last game of the tournament was just around the corner, we were up against MOZAC, our longtime rivals. The boys had to pick themselves up and continue their battle on the pitch. Our captain, Airiel Mariez asked us to forget the previous game and reminded us of how we should work as one unit in a match.
The 3/4th cup playoffs decided which team qualifies for Kejohanan Ragbi Malaysia in Johor in February 2023. Both teams were determined as they started the match. The first try of the match was in favor of the KYS Rammers, scored by Emir Suleiman. After that, we were unstoppable. The game ended with a score of 21-0 with tries scored by Najmi Hakim, Mohar Rais, and another try by Emir Suleiman. The KYS Rammers’ final placing was 3rd in the cup category.
On behalf of the KYS Rammers, I would like to thank our coach, Mr. Khairul Ashraf, and our manager, Mr. Amir Ashraf for enabling us to showcase our potential at the state level championship.
Although the U-15 Rammers could not defend the championship title, we have continued the KRM qualifying streak for KYS. Defeat didn’t worry us, we’ve been knocked down enough times to know that what truly matters, is our performance on the pitch.