Im back. It was a hectic week trying to prepare for Pandan Lake Club Open. I don’t think I was the only one worried for this tournament. Lim was just as worried, if not worrying even worse than I was. He developed a jam on Thursday night’s usual training session. He couldn’t release his dart. So it was mine last week and his the week after that. What else could go wrong?
Anyway, we gathered at the club approximately at about 10am and everyone was ready. Hearts were pumping, the hands were eager and the competition around us looked tough. There was Dream Team Malaysia, Zouk Darters, Cee Jay’s Aristos, Flukers and Kiambang. 18 teams in total participated. It was 2 groups of 4 and 2 groups of 5. The format was the top four teams of each group to qualify for the second knockout phase on Sunday. Yes, technically we were through but it was about being top of the group to ease our way to the top 8. It was going to be tough one. Our goal was simple and realistic. Just to reach the quarter finals.
We managed to top the group that day, winning all our matches in quite a destroying manner. Everyone played their part in the team topping the group. Ricky Rozario, who joined us for this tournament as our fifth player played his part as well. If day one was tiring, tomorrow would be an even greater challenge. This was our scorecard at the end of the day;
I was a bit worried on Sunday. The Saturday afternoon was hot, the night continued its reign. I had problems sleeping. I was constantly waking up in the middle of the night, sweating, etc. Still, I managed to get 8 hours of interrupted sleep. I was still worried. I knew from past experience that it was the most important element of playing a dart tournament, good rest. Replaced my worries with some McD’s breakfast set and I knew that would keep my energy level. But for how long? Later that Sunday would tell.
The draw was made, and we were drawn with a team called Unicorn. A guy named Simon was the only one that worried the team actually. He is a player capable of playing some devastating darts. He is a 15 to 18 dart average player according to some players there the day before. The game started and we were off to a 5-2 lead before Jimmy Lee sealed it off in the second singles against Simon 2-1, making it 7-3 for a place in the quarters. At the other corner, the Aristos also made it through their match edging out Turbo Perfect.
Our next match was against the same team we played with during our preliminary rounds. Kiambang ‘B’, led by Lim and I’s former team mate, John Ravee. We decided to go with a different approach, which turned out having us losing 2-4 before Jimmy Lee could play his singles. That is where things got heated up. Jimmy Lee managed to stamp out a 2-1 win leaving things down to Lim and I at 4-5. Lim and I started out shaky but managed to crawl our way back from a topsy-turvy intense match and leveling the overall scores to 6-6 with our 2-1 win. This meant Lim needed to win his last singles against Kiambang team manager Ibrahim. Lim won convincingly at 2-0. We achieved our quarter final goal and were now in the semis.
If that wasn’t intense enough, our next match was against Kiambang ‘A’ who had an even stronger side than their ‘B’ team. That Kiambang side had the likes of 2 Malaysian Players, Selbaraju and Subra. So things were not going to get easy. We started the foursome with a bang and managed to nick the point for the 1-0 lead. Lim went up first this time, playing against Selbaraju. I couldn’t watch. Next thing I knew while I was resting outside the hall was Lim beating Selbaraju 2-0. This meant we had a 3-0 lead. Jimmy Lee and Lim partnered up front this time and proved to be too strong for the pair of Selbaraju and Subra, winning 2-1. This brought the total to 5-1 by the time Jimmy Lee played the second singles. Jimmy edged out Subra 2-0 and we were in the FINALS. This matched seemed easy but both sides played well and fortunately we came out tops.
By the time we played our back to back matches, the team was already showing signs of exhaustion. SkK and Jimmy Lee were slouching outside pumping water into their dehydrated bodies. Lim and I crashed at a nearby couch under the air-con. We got the news. We were going to play Dream Team Malaysia, Malaysia’s number one team. They comprised of Malaysian team players Tengku, Amin and Anandan, and led by former Malaysia team captain Ravi Sandiran. At this point I could feel the migraine I feared so much slowly building up in my head. I knew this was bad news. I was spot on, by the time we reached the finals, my head was throbbing. All I did was focus so hard at the board, that I would forget the pain. It worked, for a while. The team knew it had achieved its goal and surpassed it, now it was time to just go and give it our best shot.
The finals started and our foursome came out strong and we managed to scratch a point off Dream Team giving us the perfect start to the finals. Lim went up next and put up a great fight and lost 0-2 to Amin. Jimmy Lee and Lim also took charge of their doubles match only to be beaten 1-2. We were 2-4 behind with Jimmy Lee coming up. Jimmy Lee went up against Tengku, and he too put up a great fight that was appreciated by the crowd and lost his singles 1-2. This means we were 3-6 behind and needed to win the next 2 games to win. Unfortunately the pairing of Amin and Anandan proved too strong for SK and me and we were beaten 0-2. We had lost our first final together. At this point my head felt like I was going to explode and we were congratulated for our efforts in the tournament.
Overall it was the second time the team played in a tournament together and we achieved a semi final and a final. This is looking to be a great start for team HI5. Now the pressure is on us to maintain our level of darts and try and have a go at whatever comes our way. I would personally like to thanks the Aristos boys and Flukers for all of their support for the team and to Lim, Jimmy Lee, SK, and Ricky for all of their effort put into the team. Ram, even though you weren't here physically, you were in our heart. This is a special shout-out to Robin whose voice pushed us on every step of the way and Sugu who wanted me to mention him in the blog. Thanks and enjoy the pictures.
HI5. The Journey has now begun.