Skip to content

From opponents to teammates

20 Jan 2023


They ran on to the court in their red jerseys, lobbing and passing the ball with ease, to emerge second runner-up in the South Zone of the National School Games. You wouldn’t realise that the girls didn’t know each other just two weeks earlier.  Here, their journey from strangers to teammates, and the lessons learnt along the way.

By Jacquelyn Ng

Just two weeks before the 2022 National School Games (NSG), the Primary 6 Netball girls from New Town Primary School (NTPS) had a setback: due to injuries, there were insufficient members to field a team.

This would be their first and last opportunity to play at the NSG at the primary level as the Games had been suspended for the last two years due to Covid-19. Would all their prep come to nought?

Just as things seemed hopeless, their Team Manager got to know, at a pre-competition briefing, that the River Valley Primary School (RVPS) was in a same situation. Both Team Managers looked at each other and thought: “How about forming a combined netball team?” 

WhatsApp Image 2022-08-23 at 3.11.46 PM

Mixed feelings and new teammates

“The girls were initially apprehensive,” says Ms Loh Yan Ping, teacher in charge of Netball at NTPS, “but they quickly understood the rationale and got on board.”

Says Eng Yu Xuan, P6 captain of NTPS’ Netball team, “The news of forming a combined team was exciting, but also scary because we had never trained with the RVPS girls. But this NSG was the only chance for my team to compete before we graduate. It was the same for the other school, too.”

To foster a sense of unity, the captains of both schools took turns to lead the warm-up and cool down exercises. Ms Loh also observed that the girls would voluntarily stay back after training to exchange netball tips.


To present a united front, the combined-schools team donned red jerseys for their NSG matches. 


Game experience

There was only time for four combined training sessions prior to the first match, but the team emerged second runner-up within the South Zone.

Yu Xuan says, “My greatest take-away from this experience was learning from the coach and players from RVPS. I had seen the RVPS players as just ‘opponents’ before we formed a combined-school team. Training and competing together grew my respect for them as a school team, who also works hard towards their goals.”

When the Games ended, the girls wrote notes of appreciation and autographed each other’s face towels to commemorate the experience.

WhatsApp Image 2022-08-23 at 12.13.35 PM

“At first, we were disappointed when we thought we could not play,” says Yu Xuan. “Now, we have this special memory of a unique experience of competing with new teammates from another school! We fought hard, encouraged each other when we made mistakes, and celebrated each other’s successes.

“These are memories I will never forget.”

For more stories on the National School Games:

Every student a martial arts practitioner 

Winning isn't everything 

Achieving dreams through sports 

The joys and friendships in sports 

Building friendships through sports 


We are on Telegram! Subscribe to our channel: