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PENANG Free School’s pride may have been severely dented when they were outplayed by Penang Sports School SMK Mutiara Impian in the annual Datuk Ow Soon Kooi Cup hockey final, but it did not batter their reputation at all.

That unfortunate defeat probably encouraged them to put in that little extra and they were rewarded as champions in the North Zone Premier School’s challenge, a tournament designed for champion teams from each state.

Further benefit came their way as they were awarded the hosting job of the North Zone challenge which took place at the Mutiara Impian Hockey Stadium recently.
As if they were back at the same venue to bury the ghost of defeat in the Datuk Ow Soon Kooi trophy just days earlier, the Frees spared nothing to power their way to impressive double digit wins.

Pitted together with SMK Derma of Perlis and SMK Sultan Abdul Halim, they capped their glorious moments by firing home 38 goals in just two matches. The Frees crushed both teams with identical 19-0 defeats.

The goals galore was good enough to bring back the smile to coach Yap Gark Soo’s face as their promising showing in both matches saw the Frees crowned champions and a ticket to the National finals which will be held in Kuala Lumpur in October.

“The runaway victories were indeed overwhelming. But what delighted me most was restoring the confidence of my players.

“However, it will be different when we play in the national finals in October as we will be up against the cream of the crop, since all qualifiers are winners in their respective zones,” said Yap.

The other qualifiers for the national level tournament will be the winners of the Middle Zone, South Zone, East Zone as well as East Malaysian outfits from Sabah and Sarawak.

The Frees also did Penang proud in football when their footballers came out tops to make the cut to the national final.

They thrashed Perlis SMK Derma 6-0 and went on to confirm their place in the national finals when they breezed past SMK Sultan Abdul Halim of Kedah 4-1 in the other North Zone challenge. STAR

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