Sri Lanka remain undefeated after 23-goal win against Hong Kong
SINGAPORE, 6 September 2018 – Team Singapore secured their first win of the second round of the M1 Asian Netball Championships, against Malaysia by just one goal (55-54) to set up a rematch in the semi-finals on Saturday. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka remain the only undefeated team in the tournament following an impressive victory over Hong Kong by 23 goals (71-48).
Singapore vs. Malaysia
18-year-old Lee Pei Shan made a strong start to the game, sinking in 11 of her 12 attempts at goal in the first 15 minutes of the match. Goal Defence Melody Teo made a crucial intercept towards the end of the first quarter, for Singapore take it by 3 goals (16-13).
It was a tense second quarter in the causeway derby, with both sides making several wayward passes with Malaysia edging the quarter by 2 goals (12-14).
Mistakes from Malaysia early on in the third quarter saw Singapore stretch out to a 4-0 lead. Spurred on by strong home crowd support, the Singapore team worked tirelessly to force Malaysia into multiple errors. Coupled with a standout performance from Lee despite the strong challenges from Malaysia’s defence, Singapore took the third quarter 15-12.
Malaysia shuffled their line-up in the final quarter in a bid to thwart Singapore’s free-flowing attack. It was goal-to-goal right down to the very end, with Malaysia’s centre Pow Mei Foong making a crucial intercept to bring the Malaysians to within a point. Singapore held their nerve in the dying seconds to close out the win against their fierce rivals 56-55.
National coach Natalie Milicich said: “The win just gives us that confidence. I think our team turned up today and we had that belief that we were better than how we performed yesterday. We still made the odd error but it was a big improvement from yesterday. So we just need to make sure that when we play that semi final, we’re reducing our errors as much as possible. It’s also about us making sure we trust ourselves as much as possible.”
Sri Lanka vs. Hong Kong
Hong Kong’s co-captain Kate Jolly made an impressive start to the game with a couple of intercepts at the start. But it was one too many errors from Hong Kong’s attacking end that allowed Sri Lanka to surge ahead for 5-goal first quarter lead.
Hong Kong’s Goal Defence Rebecca Miller made an intercept off Tharjini Sivalingam early on in the second. However a break from her at a centre pass soon after proved costly as Sri Lanka built a 3-goal quarter advantage (5-2) within minutes. It was a crafty throw of the dice from Hong Kong coach Robin Manihera as she switched the 1.88m Goal Shooter Krystle Edwards to Goal Keeper, who made an intercept right away. However, a poor conversion rate from Hong Kong’s shooters (67%) allowed Sri Lanka to secure a 21-12 second quarter score.
Another top performance from Sri Lanka’s towering defensive duo of Chathurangi Jayasooriya and Gayani Dissanayake created multiple turnovers in the second half, coupled with impeccable 100% shooting performance from both Hasitha Mendis and Sivalingam in the final three quarters saw Sri Lanka extend the lead and take the game by a convincing 23 goals (71-48).
Citing a much improved performance from her team today, Sri Lanka coach Thilaka Jinadasa said: “We noticed the Hong Kong team plays a zonal defence so we practiced how to break the zone today, and we were successful. Tharjini was also more confident today, so everything went to plan today for us.”
“Whoever we go up against on Saturday, we plan it game to game. We will watch the game and see how they play and we will organize our game plan according to that, with an aim to get to the finals.”
India vs. Brunei
In the first match of the day, India matched up against Brunei, with the former dominating the first half for an 8-goal lead. Instead of giving up, Brunei pushed on strongly and gave it their all to win the second half by 18 goals and clinch the overall win with a score of 51-41.
With the win, Brunei will match up against Thailand for the 5th and 6th playoff on Sunday. To that, coach Jane Searle said: “Thailand have already beaten us and we need to be competitive for all four quarters. We’ve grown throughout this tournament and the previous challenge has prepared us for this next one.”
Japan vs Thailand
The next match of the day saw Thailand come up victorious against Japan with a score of 27-62. Despite their mistakes, Thailand was too strong in their midfield and defence, causing Japan to trail in all four quarters.
Thailand’s coach Chng Li Li commented: “We played quite a slow game today and didn’t have the intensity that we usually do. For the Brunei game, we are all psyched up to play a good game and to finish strong.”
Chinese Taipei vs Pakistan
Pakistan got their first win of the tournament after beating Chinese Taipei with a score of 24-67. The experienced Pakistan team led the young Chinese Taipei team throughout the game, although Chinese Taipei made Pakistan work hard for their win, especially in the last three quarters.
Pakistan player Anum Salam commented: “I think we played really well today. We played together and our passes were good. Our shooting was also good and we need to keep that up. We also need to be confident when we play to ensure a win.”
Maldives vs Philippines
It was a tough and engaging physical contest between the Maldives and Philippines in the fourth match of Day 6 at the M1 Asian Netball Championships. While it was a strong first half from the Maldives team, it was a robust performance from the Philippines in the second half, which sealed their comeback to take the game with a score of 44-50.
Philippines captain Ana Thea Cenarosa said: “We played great in the second half and that was definitely our real game. It was a good comeback for us and we’re really proud of each other. For the next game, we will definitely play like how we did in the last quarter and play with our hearts.”
It’s a rest day for all the teams tomorrow, followed by the semi-finals and playoff matches on Saturday. It’s the 11th & 12th placing game between Pakistan and Chinese Taipei at 10.30am, followed by the 9th and 10th playoff match between Philippines and Maldives at 1pm. It’s then the semi-finals matches between Sri Lanka and Hong Kong at 3pm, followed by the causeway rematch between Singapore and Malaysia at 5pm.