KUCHING: Sekolah Agama Sheikh Othman Abdul Wahab (Shoaw) are in seventh heaven after achieving a historic win in the Boys U17 Sevens category Milo-NDRP Rugby Carnival held at SMS Selangor from Jan 19 to 20.
It was a major breakthrough for the state school rugby powerhouse in the National Rugby Development Programme (NDRP) Carnival and also in a major competition at the national level in West Malaysia.
Shoaw’s U14 squad made the bowl semi-finals in 2017 and 2018 while the school team were bowl runners-up in 2017 at SSTMI.
In the NDRP East Malaysia Sevens in 2017, they were Plate champions but went one better in 2018 by winning the Cup.
Shoaw first represented Sarawak in the COBRA School 10s in 2006 in the U16 category.
For the U17 category, their first national meet was the MCKK Premier Sevens in 2011.
“The closest result we achieved before was at the MCKK Premier 7s in 2012 when we lost the Cup semi-final 17-19 to SSTMI.
“I would like to congratulate the boys for a job well done in the tournament. It was a brilliant performance by the boys throughout the two day tournament,” said an elated head coach Zulkaranainhisham Sarbini.
This was because it was a milestone for the SHOAW WARRIORS U17 Squad to win the Cup Final in a major tournament in the peninsular and it was a first time for Shoaw.
“This achievement is made possible by the hard work done by the team management and players in preparation for the tournament.
“The boys showed maturity in their games. They gelled well as a team and carried themselves superbly in their matches from the very first match to the final,” he said.
In Group C, the opening 40-0 victory against SM Sains Sembrong of Johor gave a major boost.
Winning their crucial match against favourite SM Sains Selangor was brilliant. Although SMSS scored an unconverted try to lead 5-0, eventually Shoaw showed character to come back with three tries and two conversions to win the match 19-5 and top the group.
On the second day, the boys showed a strong performance to win the quarter-final 14-0 against SMK Jalan 3, Bangi.
They continued to play well to beat MOZAC of Melaka with three tries and a conversion 17-0 in the Cup semi-final match.
The Cup final was the best performance that the Shoaw Warriors had displayed. Trailing by an unconverted try 0-5 versus favourites SAS of Putrajaya who had beaten powerhouse SEMASHUR 14-12 in the other Cup semi-final, Shoaw bounced back brilliantly with a try under the post and converted to make it 7-5 at half-time.
After the breather, the Warriors showed what they were made of and controlled the match with excellent teamwork to score another try but it was not converted. The scoreline was Shoaw 12, SAS 5.
They could have scored another try from their brilliant defence and fast counter attacks but the full-time came. When the referee blew the final whistle, they were jubilant and celebrated a famous victory.
“I would like to congratulate SAS for showing a high quality of sportsmanship by giving us the Guard of Honour during the medal presentation ceremony. It was a marvellous and awesome atmosphere for us to cherish,” said Zulkaranainhisham.
He also thanked Shoaw principal Norlela Bujang who had been supporting the squad and development of the team through the years.
“Besides, I would like to thank MSN Sarawak especially head coach Nathan Seniu for supporting us in training since Shoaw has been a Centre of Excellence for Rugby for MSNS for a number of years.
Three of the players Saiful Daniel Mohd Khairi, Ahmad Lutfi Mohamad Yusuf and Syahyurizan Norudin have been selected to join the U17/U18 NRDP Elite Training Camp 1 (ETC1) at UPM during the Chinese New Year break from Feb 6 to 9.
Shoaw’s only two U16 players in the squad Ahmad Fadhlan Zuhdi Suaibon Shamsuddin and Wan Khairil Haiqal were also enlisted for the U16 NRDP Elite training camp. Shoaw’s next tournament will be the prestigious MCKK PREMIER 7s from March 1 to 3.
“We hope to compete in a better state of mind this year and will definitely try our best to better our achievements from before. It will be back to hard work and preparation starting next Monday,” Zulkaranainhisham said.