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Mission Foods Nations Cup 2017 Match Reports

Posted 03 Dec 2017
        

FINALS: 9 DECEMBER 2017, SATURDAY

GAME 18: GRAND FINAL COOK ISLANDS vs SWAZILAND

The grand finals for the Mission Foods Nations Cup 2017 saw Cook Islands and Swaziland battle it out for the trophy. Cook Islands emerged champions as they beat Swaziland 39-38.
 
The stakes were high and the teams seemed to have different approaches to the game. The undefeated Cook Islands started out more cautious while Swaziland played hard and fast. Cook Islands' calm and composed style seemed to work as they managed to claim a four-point lead ending the first quarter, 12-8.
 
Swaziland started to pick up the pace after the first half with their gameplay while Cook Islands seemed to be on edge and missed a few goals. Swaziland converted several goals and narrowed the lead to just two points. Both teams played harder than ever in the last quarter and Swaziland managed to draw level in the last 10 minutes of the game. With a possible upset on the cards, the pressure got the better of Swaziland and the team started committing mistakes within their own goal circle, giving Cook Islands the chance to counter attack. The Cook Islands pulled ahead in the dying minutes of the game, maintained their undefeated record and emerged champions in their debut of the annual Mission Foods Nations Cup.
 
Captain of Team Cook Islands, Luciana Nicholas
"We feel so blessed and thank Netball Singapore for allowing us to be part of this journey. It is a good start for Netball Cook Islands- we are just going to build on it and hopefully the nation will be behind us. It's very hard to get to places like these so we're very grateful to be here. We came into this competition not knowing what to expect and were quite scared that we weren't going to win anything when we came into the tournament, so coming out with the trophy is a great honour for us. 
 
We knew it was going to be tough and that was just an amazing final. This is why we love the game of netball. As a team sport, there are different skills and talent from each player, so just working on what we needed to do and our individual goals, put it together as a team and that worked really well for us."
 
Captain of Team Swaziland, Philile Khathwane
"The match was very tough, everybody was all out and it was just unfortunate that it wasn't our day. It could have gone either way. The team is not so happy as we were hoping for the win but we're still glad we managed to get to the finals." 

  Cook Islands Swaziland
Final Score 39 38
Total Attempts 54 41
Goal % 72 93


Team Cook Islands

GS: Alanna Matamaru Smith 
GA: Leah Cherie Pue 
WA: Marjorie Katrina Ngatupuna Toru
C: Alexandra Naomi Iro
WD: Ashleigh Mary Iro (Vice-Captain) 
GD: Luciana Nicholas (Captain)
GK: Eri Te Ana Moetuma Short 
Reserves: Anania Pauleen Piri, Anastasia Salanoa, Daimzel Joy-Naara Teremoana Rongokea, Maine Crystal Jesimiel Maro, Nina-Tai Roberts


Team Swaziland

GS: Sebenzile Nxumalo (Vice-Captain) 
GA: Jabulisile Khathwane 
WA: Colisile Dlamini  
C: Abigail Simelane 
WD: Bongiwe Magagula 
GD: Philile Khathwane (Captain)
GK: Vumile Vilakati 
Reserves: Bathabile Nkambule, Hlengiwe Bhembe,  Phumzile Ncongwane, Nomvula Jele, Tengetile Sibandze

GAME 17: 3rd/4th Playoffs IRELAND vs SINGAPORE

The match between Ireland and Singapore was the second match of the finals. The heart-racing round saw Singapore beat Ireland 60-41, finishing third in the tournament. 

Singapore was seeking to erase the painful loss of the opening match tournament where Singapore lost by a single point. With both teams competing for third place, the pressure was immense and the fast pace of the game gave the 1,600 crowd much to cheer about. 
 
While Singapore’s missed connections gave Ireland the lead at the end of the first quarter (11-14), Singapore stepped up with a harder offense and Singapore managed to end the first half of the game in their favour (27-23). Singapore’s co-vice captain, Nurul Baizura, was the star of the game, dramatically reducing her error rate and commanding the team from the middle playing in Centre for her 100th cap. Singapore continued to widen the gap in the second half and eventually emerged victorious, delighting the vocal crowd.
 
Coach of Team Singapore, Natalie Milicich
“I think this tournament proves our growth throughout the week especially the way we ended the match today. It was very tempting to put more players on today but I think the players out there really deserved to finish the match. Everyone has contributed all week in the growth of the team. We could have put any of the eleven players on and everyone is ready to take the court. The biggest thing for me is the personal and individual growth with regards to decision making because one of our biggest thing coming into the tournament was error rate and we have really really reduced the error rate this week. 
 
The competition this week has been very tough. It's been great to have these games and for me to learn more about my players. Part of my coaching philosophy is knowing who I've got and when I can put them on and how they cope in different situations. I certainly had the opportunity this week with the different types of teams and their different style of play.”
 
Co-vice captain of Team Singapore, Nurul Baizura
About achieving her 100th cap:
"I feel very honoured and privileged to have been able to represent the country for a hundred times. It does feel like a lot more because you don't count the number of times you go on court, as it's more of doing your nation proud. I'm really honoured to have had the opportunity to play alongside very great players."
 
About today's performance:
"I think as a whole, the team stuck to our game plan. We told ourselves to be calm and composed, and indeed everyone was calm and collected, unlike the first game against Ireland where we were nervous. I'm really proud of the team's performance today.” 
 
About playing against Ireland:
"We don't really focus on our opposition. Ultimately the first loss was really purely us, we didn't treasure our balls. But today, we were really cautious and careful, and delivered our game plan as discussed. I think that is something the team has learnt this week. 
 
Going into the game today, I could sense that everyone was calm and collected. Everybody had it, from attacking right up to the defensive line. Melody and Aqilah did very well to turn over some very nice and crucial balls. So today was more of a holistic effort and not just relying on the attack. It seems like there were really 7 of us on court and those players at the side were supporting us.” 
 
Captain of Team Ireland, Genevieve Slater
“It's been a long week for us, our team was just tired, we very rarely play a week of games, it's almost once ever year that we get a good chance of doing this. We were fresh at the start, we played Singapore before, we know how they play, they have got a new coach, and they seem to be getting a bit quicker! We did well in the first quarter, and we just ran out of legs after, we are just tired. We just have to go away from this and regroup. We came fourth this year and I'm happy with that, it's the best that we've came so far, to beat Hong Kong, to beat Singapore, to beat Malaysia, is brilliant.” 

  Singapore Ireland
Final Score 60 41
Total Attempts 73 48
Goal % 82 85

 

Team Ireland
GS: Melanie Ingram 
GA: Fiona Morrissey 
WA: Frances Duffy 
C: Kirsty Owens
WD: Kate Bermingham
GD: Genevieve Slater (Captain)
GK: Katie Walton
Reserves: Brittany North, Ciara Murphy, Jan Hynes (Vice-Captain), Jane Jeffreys, Trish Fanning
 
Team Singapore
GS: Charmaine Soh (Co-Vice Captain) 
GA: Toh Kai Wei
WA: Kimberly Lim 
C: Nurul Baizura (Co-Vice Captain)
WD: Vanessa Lee (Captain) 
GD: Aqilah Andin
GK: Melody Teo
Reserves: Chen Lili, Jocelyn Ng, Rima Yanti, Siti Nurshawallah, Yu Mei Ling

GAME 16: 5th/6th Playoffs HONG KONG vs MALAYSIA

The first match of the final day at the Mission Foods Nations Cup 2017 saw Malaysia with their first victory of the tournament with a hard-earned win against Hong Kong (48-43). 
Both teams were neck to neck for the majority of the game with just a point separating the two sides for the first three quarters. Each team took turns to take the lead but it was Malaysia who eventually pulled away in the final quarter. Goal Shooter (GS) Khairunnisa Nazri scored 100% of her goals in the last quarter and with less errors committed, they managed to beat an older and more experienced Hong Kong team.
 
Coach of Team Malaysia, Choo Kon Lee
“It was very intense because I did a little bit of drastic change of players where my top goal shooter became the defender and my defender became the centre player. It was a good move because I know the girls can play different positions, so today I tried to make a little bit of a different line-up so that Hong Kong will be taken aback by my line-up. The girls did very well. They are very excited because I think they were together today as a solid team and everybody played their own roles as a team.”
 
Co-captain of Team Hong Kong, Connie Wong
"We're disappointed with the loss but to Malaysia's credit they put in a good fight. I think we played our hearts out, we just ran out of a bit of legs at the end. Our legs got the best of us today, but we gave everything we could. Every game has been tough and we would have loved to finish on a high, but it didn't happen. We will learn from this experience and move on. There are young players in our team whom I hope will carry on."

  Hong Kong Malaysia
Final Score 43 48
Total Attempts 61 61
Goal % 70 79


Team Hong Kong
GS: Michelle Arkell
GA: Angela Chan
WA: Connie Wong (Co-Captain)
C: Kate Jolly
WD: Mandy Tai
GD: Kalani Brown
GK: Gessy Li
Reserves: Emma Gregory, Ann Lo, Krystina Te Kanawa-Coffin, Natassia Brakenridge, Stephanie Cuvelier
 

Team Malaysia
GS: Khairunnisa Nazri
GA: Nuraina Raziani 
WA: Noor Haidayu Hasmira Hasbullah 
C: Noor Azilah Aziz (Captain)
WD: Nor Lailatulladhawiyah
GD: Karishma S. Loganathan (Vice-Captain)
GK: Aimie Shyzleen Che Suhaimi
Reserves: Dayang Hafzlizawatie Datu Muhammar, Dhiya Alfina Zainuri, Nordiyanah Noorsabadinee, Nur Amisya Khairud Din, Siti Maisarah Affandi

 



DAY 5: 8 DECEMBER 2017, FRIDAY

GAME 15: SINGAPORE vs COOK ISLANDS

The last match of Day Five saw Cook Islands play an action-packed round against Singapore, with the undefeated Cook Islands emerging victorious at 57-49. 
 
The intense match started off with a close battle, where Singapore led early in the game. But Singapore’s missed shots cost them dearly as Cook Islands overtook them soon after. Cook Islands’ strong presence was evident with their counter-attack and conversions, resulting in a 10-point lead by the end of the second quarter (31-21). 
 
The fast pace continued in the next two quarters as Singapore aimed to bridge the gap in the scoreline. Despite having familiar faces like Charmaine Soh and Vanessa Lee substituted, Toh Kai Wei (GA) and Melody Teo (GD) stepped up with their accuracy and impressive interceptions. However, Cook Islands did not allow the gap to narrow much and continued dominating with their attacks, ultimately winning the match and extending their unbeaten run to the finals tomorrow. 
 
Captain of Team Cook Islands, Luciana Nicholas
I think the very good thing about our team is that we’ve got tall strong players so didn’t matter who took the ball. We knew what we wanted to do individually as a team. We set our goals and hit them today. We don’t take these games lightly and we will go all out tomorrow. With Swaziland, we know they are agile but we’ll play to our strengths, keep it wide, and see how it goes.
 
Coach of Team Singapore, Natalie Milicich
We managed to put in a few combinations and newbies in today's match and they performed really well, so I'm really happy to see the squad building up strong. What I'm really proud of is that the physicality that we dealt with and we were so strong in those takes tonight and we were so composed, so I'm really proud of them. 
 
We just need to make sure that we put four quarters together tomorrow, and I'm confident that we can do that, especially now that we built the squad. It doesn't matter who is going out there now, we can put fresh names out there and that will make the difference in tomorrow's game. 
 
Toh Kai Wei (GA), Team Singapore
My confidence for shooting has been slowly building up since the start of the Nations Cup. There has been progression in the team from every game, so I'm confident for every subsequent games. Definitely we will put up a better fight tomorrow! 

  Singapore Cook Islands
Final Score 49 57
Total Attempts 64 67
Goal % 77 85

 

Team Cook Islands
GS: Alanna Matamaru Smith
GA: Anastasia Salanoa 
WA: Nina-Tai Roberts 
C: Alexandra Naomi Iro
WD: Ashleigh Mary Iro (Vice-Captain)
GD: Luciana Nicholas (Captain)
GK: Eri Te Ana Moetuma Short 
Reserves: Anania Pauleen Piri, Daimzel Joy-Naara Teremoana Rongokea, Leah Cherie Pue, Maine Crystal Maro, Marjorie Katrina Ngatupuna Toru
 
Team Singapore
GS: Charmaine Soh (Co-Vice Captain)
GA: Toh Kai Wei
WA: Kimberly Lim
C: Siti Nurshawallah
WD: Vanessa Lee (Captain)
GD: Aqilah Andin
GK: Melody Teo
Reserves: Chen Lili, Jocelyn Ng, Nurul Baizura (Co-Vice Captain), Rima Yanti, Yu Mei Ling

GAME 14: SWAZILAND vs IRELAND

The match between Swaziland and Ireland was the second match of Day Five and saw Swaziland beating Ireland 50 - 24 in a battle for a spot in the finals. 
 
The teams put up a hard battle as they scrambled to be ahead in the first quarter. Swaziland took the lead early, but not without having to go through Ireland’s strong defenses. However Ireland's defenses were not enough as they started lagging behind with their missed goals, ending the first quarter at 6 - 12. 
 
Ireland started to play harder and faster in attempt to bounce back in the following quarters. But Swaziland’s defense proved to be just as strong as their attacks, especially with Goal Keeper (GK) Vumile Vilakati blocking and stealing Ireland’s ball on multiple occasions. Swaziland hardly let Ireland complete their attacks and extended their lead, winning the match by a wide margin and clinching their spot in the finals.  
 
Captain of Team Swaziland, Philile Khathwane
We are very happy with the performance. We wanted to give it all our best and secure our place in the finals, and that’s happened so we’re very happy. We’re looking forward to playing Cook Islands tomorrow and are confident of winning.

  Swaziland Ireland
Final Score 50 24
Total Attempts 54 36
Goal % 93 67

 

Team Swaziland
GS: Sebenzile Nxumalo (Vice-Captain)
GA: Jabulisile Khathwane 
WA: Colisile Dlamini
C: Abigail Simelane
WD: Bongiwe Magagula 
GD: Philile Khathwane (Captain)
GK: Vumile Vilakati
Reserves: Bathabile Nkambule, Hlengiwe Bhembe, Phumzile Ncongwane, Nomvula Jele, Tengetile Sibandze
 
Team Ireland
GS: Jan Hynes (Vice-Captain)
GA: Fiona Morrissey 
WA: Frances Duffy 
C: Kirsty Owens
WD: Kate Bermingham
GD: Genevieve Slater (Captain)
GK: Katie Walton
Reserves: Brittany North, Ciara Murphy, Jane Jeffreys, Melanie Ingram, Trish Fanning

GAME 13: HONG KONG vs MALAYSIA

The first match of Day Five at the Mission Foods Nations Cup 2017 saw Malaysia and Hong Kong compete in what was a very close fight, with Hong Kong triumphing over Malaysia 50-44.

The pressure was on for the two hopeful teams as they both aimed for their first win of the tournament before tomorrow’s finals. Hong Kong was off to a good start as they took the lead early in the first quarter. But Malaysia did not allow that for long as they upped their game in the second quarter, catching up to Hong Kong and stealing the lead, ending the second quarter at 25-24. 
 
The following quarters saw intense offenses from both teams as they went neck to neck with continuous goals. But Malaysia’s missed connections cost them the lead when Hong Kong started pulling ahead in the last crucial minutes. Malaysia’s hope for their first win dwindled and Hong Kong ultimately emerged victorious.
 
Co-captain of Team Hong Kong, Kate Jolly
I thought we finally played a game where we kept our composure and stuck to the structure. Each match we come in with the intention of playing four quarters of netball, and that’s probably the first game we’ve managed to do so. We still had a few rocky patches here and there, it was our bad passing and stepping areas that allowed them (Malaysia) back into the game, but it’s such a nice feeling to finally come away with that win.
 
The break yesterday definitely helped. We’ve had a few injuries, which means we haven’t had the same opportunities to get other people on the floor. We were starting to get tired, so the day’s rest was very timely.
 
Coach of Team Malaysia, Choo Kon Lee
I think the girls can take the game, but I think they’re pretty young. They were quite anxious in getting the ball, but they did have fun. All I got to tell them is to go out, enjoy the game, do the best that they can, because they are inexperienced while Hong Kong has a lot of experienced players they can learn from.
 
  Hong Kong Malaysia
Final Score 50 44
Total Attempts 63 57
Goal % 79 77

Team Hong Kong
GS: Michelle Arkell 
GA: Angela Chan
WA: Connie Wong (Co-Captain) 
C: Kate Jolly (Co-Captain)
WD: Mandy Tai
GD: Ann Lo 
GK: Natassia Brakenridge
Reserves: Emma Gregory, Gessy Li, Kalani Brown, Krystina Te Kanawa-Coffin, Stephanie Cuvelier
 
Team Malaysia
GS: Khairunnisa Nazri
GA: Karishma S. Loganathan (Vice-Captain)
WA: Nuraina Raziani 
C: Nordiyanah Noorsabadinee 
WD: Noor Haidayu Hasmira Hasbullah 
GD: Noor Azilah Aziz (Captain)
GK: Nor Lailatulladhawiyah
Reserves: Aimie Shyzleen Che Suhaimi, Dayang Hafzlizawatie Datu Muhammar, Dhiya Alfina Zainuri, Nur Amisya Khairud Din, Siti Maisarah Affandi
 


DAY 4: 6 DECEMBER 2017, WEDNESDAY

GAME 12: SINGAPORE vs MALAYSIA

The last match of the day saw arch-rivals Singapore and Malaysia compete against each other and Singapore beating Malaysia 61-35. This marks Singapore’s second consecutive win of the tournament.

 

Despite Malaysia sending the Under-21 team this time, they were not one to mess with and put up a tough fight against Singapore in the first quarter, stealing the lead early in the game. But the teamwork between Goal Shooter (GS) Charmaine Soh and Goal Attack (GA) Toh Kai Wei  proved to be a formidable force, and Singapore managed to bounce back quickly, ending the first quarter at 15-8.

 

Singapore’s Wing Attack (WA) Kimberly Lim made some impressive steals in the following quarters, launching Singapore ahead of the game. Though Malaysia tried their best to bridge the gap, the spotlight stayed on Singapore through the rest of the game as they proceeded ahead with succesful interceptions and goals - ultimately triumphing over Malaysia.

 

Vice-Captain of Team Singapore, Nurul Baizura

We came in with a mindset that it’s about our play, if we can control what we do and if we could execute our game plan, everything would be okay. This is our 4th day and I think the girls are getting the hang of things, like we are more smooth, in terms of our down court attack, even our defense is more tenacious now.

 

It’s a relatively new Malaysian team, but we did not take things for granted and they really put up a very tough fight for a very young group of people, lots of good potential. It was a great game.

 

Vice-Captain of Team Malaysia, Karishma S.Loganathan

There were some careless mistakes during the game and we were not patient with the ball. But I think we put on a good fight today and it's good exposure for the younger players. Singapore played very well today, very good attacks and I find that with the new coach Singapore has improved.


  Singapore Malaysia
Final Score 61 35
Total Attempts 76 45
Goal % 80 78

 

Team Singapore
GS: Charmaine Soh (Co-Vice Captain)
GA: Toh Kai Wei
WA: Kimberly Lim
C: Nurul Baizura (Co-Vice Captain)
WD: Vanessa Lee (Captain)
GD: Aqilah Andin
GK: Melody Teo
Reserves: Chen Lili, Jocelyn Ng, Rima Yanti, Siti Nurshawallah, Yu Mei Ling
 
Team Malaysia
GS: Khairunnisa Nazri
GA: Karishma S. Loganathan (Vice-Captain)
WA: Nuraina Raziani
C: Noor Haidayu Hasmira Hasbullah 
WD: Nur Amisya Khairud Din
GD: Noor Azilah Aziz (Captain)
GK: Nor Lailatulladhawiyah
Reserves: Aimie Shyzleen Che Suhaimi, Dayang Hafzlizawatie Datu Muhammar, Dhiya Alfina Zainuri, , Nordiyanah Noorsabadinee, Siti Maisarah Affandi

GAME 11: HONG KONG vs IRELAND

The match between Hong Kong and Ireland was the second match of Day Four, with Ireland beating Hong Kong by a landslide of 50 - 29, marking Ireland’s third win of the tournament.
 
While Hong Kong yearned for their first win of the tournament, their excitement seemed to have given them jitters as they missed multiple shots, which gave Ireland the lead in the first quarter with 10 - 8.
 
Hong Kong never seemed to regain their composure as Ireland continued to display a stronger presence in court. Ireland had the upper-hand, constantly extending the lead. Despite Hong Kong’s Goal Attack (GA) Angela Chan's accuracy of 100%, she could not lift the team back into the game. This led to Ireland’s victory, and another disappointing loss for Hong Kong.
 
Captain of Team Ireland, Genevieve Slater
It was a great match! We are delighted to have won by 21 points, especially as it's Day Four, so we are all feeling it. We were lucky enough to try different combinations in this match, there are three new girls here this year and they all got on and had a brilliant match today. They performed well, under pressure, as Hong Kong was tough, they did not let us breathe at all, so we are really happy to pull away and win by 21 in the end. Friday will be the day to watch for us, we go against Swaziland. They have only lost to Cook Islands and so have we, so it's going to be exciting.

  Hong Kong Ireland
Final Score 29 50
Total Attempts 39 59
Goal % 74 85

 

Team Hong Kong
GS: Connie Wong (Co-Captain)
GA: Michelle Arkell
WA: Emma Gregory
C: Kate Jolly (Co-Captain)
WD: Mandy Tai
GD: Natassia Brakenridge
GK: Kalani Brown
Reserves:  Ann Lo, Gessy Li, Angela Chan, Krystina Te Kanawa-Coffin, Stephanie Cuvelier
 

Team Ireland

GS: Melanie Ingram
GA: Fiona Morrissey
WA: Frances Duffy 
C: Kirsty Owens
WD: Kate Bermingham
GD: Genevieve Slater (Captain)
GK: Katie Walton
Reserves: Brittany North, Ciara Murphy, Jan Hynes (Vice-Captain), Jane Jeffreys,Trish Fanning

GAME 10: COOK ISLANDS vs SWAZILAND

The first match of Day Four at the Mission Foods Nations Cup 2017 saw Cook Islands and Swaziland battle as they fought to remain at the top of the league table. Both teams were undefeated before today's match and were determined to continue the winning streak. It was an intense match with Cook Islands emerging victorious at 54 - 44. With both teams aiming for their fourth win, there was simply no room for errors in this match. Cook Islands tried to pull away at the start, but Swaziland caught up swiftly and it was point for point throughout the quarter. Cook Islands managed to score the last goal of the first quarter, putting them in the lead at 13 - 12. The following two quarters were as intense and Swaziland managed to overtake Cook Islands in the second quarter. However Cook Islands bounced back in the third, stealing the lead at 37 - 36. As the last quarter commenced, Cook Islands held on to their lead and the added pressure proved to be a toll on Swaziland, resulting in multiple missed shots and connections. Their mistakes eventually cost them the game as Cook Islands broadened the gap, beating Swaziland 54 - 44.
 
Vice-Captain of Team Cook Islands, Ashleigh Iro
I'm so stoked and so excited. We knew it was going to be a tough game. We were a little nervous in the changing room, but we had faith in each other and we've got such a strong group of girls, we can put anyone anywhere. It's the fire in us, the passion. We fight to the last whistle and we just have faith that we can keep going and a lot if us are so exhausted but if you have that heart, that is what really matters at the end of the day.
 
Captain of Team Swaziland, Philile Khathwane
“It was a very tough match but we did our best. Our passes to the shooter weren’t so accurate, that’s why we lost the game. We are now fighting to be in the top two position and will do our best to beat Ireland on Friday.”

  Cook Islands Swaziland
Final Score 54 44
Total Attempts 61 55
Goal % 89 80

 

Team Cook Islands
GS:  Alanna Matamaru Smith 
GA: Anastasia Salanoa
WA: Marjorie Katrina Ngatupuna Toru
C: Alexandra Naomi Iro
WD:  Ashleigh Mary Iro (Vice-Captain) 
GD: Luciana Nicholas (Captain)
GK: Anania Pauleen Piri
Reserves:  Daimzel Joy-Naara Teremoana Rongokea, Eri Te Ana Moetuma Short, Leah Cherie Pue, Maine Crystal Jesimiel Maro, Nina-Tai Roberts
 
Team Swaziland
GS: Vumile Vilakati 
GA: Bathabile Nkambule 
WA: Abigail Simelane 
C: Hlengiwe Bhembe
WD: Nomvula Jele 
GD: Phumzile Ncongwane 
GK: Philile Khathwane (Captain)
Reserves: Bongiwe Magagula, Colisile Dlamini, Jabulisile Khathwane, Sebenzile Nxumalo (Vice-Captain), Tengetile Sibandze


DAY 3: 5 DECEMBER 2017, TUESDAY


GAME 9: SINGAPORE vs HONG KONG
 
The action-packed final match for Day Three saw Singapore play against Hong Kong, beating them 44-37 and marking Singapore’s first win in the Mission Foods Nations Cup 2017.
 
With both teams aiming for their first win of the tournament, Singapore and Hong Kong put up an intense battle. Neck to neck for most of the game, Singapore upped the pace with faster, harder throws in an attempt to leave Hong Kong in the lurch.
 
Though heading into the final quarter with a lead of 34-30, Singapore missed a few connections, giving Hong Kong an opportunity to catch up. Local  fans did not disappoint and continued cheering on Team Singapore. The girls soon regained their composure and started to overpower Hong Kong at the last crucial minutes. Singapore’s interceptions, fast throws and sly bounce passes paid off as they won 44-37 – Singapore’s first win of the tournament.
 
Coach of Team Singapore, Natalie Milicich
On today's game:
"It justifies all the hard work the girls have been doing and winning is a habit, we just needed to get that win under our belt and to know how it feels like and now that they have felt it hopefully we will just continue. 
 
Today was about consistency and I think that they really wanted to win. Really really proud how the girls got together, fought and show their courage today. We had a more complete game and that was our win today."
 
On tomorrow's match with Malaysia:
We are not going to underestimate Malaysia tomorrow. There's always that rivalry so we just got to make sure that we stick to our structure, stick to our own process, stick to our own game and do what we did today and even better tomorrow. 
 
Co-vice captain of Team Singapore, Charmaine Soh
“I think we did really well, we came into the game strongly and we really wanted this game. We fought hard, all the way to the end. Coach Natalie told us we had to fight hard and play our best all the way to the last whistle. That's our mindset for the game, just to go all out. I'm really proud of the team, we did what was told, the team did really well working the ball down compared to the first two matches. We were patient with the ball, our defenders defended very well, the attackers brought the ball safely to shoot it off, so really proud of the team. 
 
Today's win lifted our spirit quite a bit. Tomorrow all we need is to stay calm, to get that composure on court and just work the ball down again.” 
 
Co-captain of Team Hong Kong, Kate Jolly
Going into this game:
“Our aim was to play four quarters of netball. Previously, we were only sticking it out for the first two quarters. We wanted to focus on the third because that’s been a bit of a slump for us. I feel that we did, and there were a few moments where we dropped off a little, but we stayed in the game in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, we wanted to start from 0-0 again, and stay focused on that disciplined netball, which the girls did do a good job of and we will take that into the next game.
 
Of course, we’re disappointed to lose but Singapore is a great side. They’re always so competitive and we had to be mentally strong for the whole game.”
 
On the next game:
“We’ve got to carry forward the positives and stay focused for the whole fifteen minutes, not having any fading moments. We also need to stay relaxed and composed. It’ll be a physical game, and we need ot make sure we are prepared for that, and driving through the ball rather than waiting for it.”

  Singapore Hong Kong
Final Score 44 37
Total Attempts 59 51
Goal % 75 73

 

Team Singapore
GS: Yu Mei Ling
GA: Charmaine Soh (Co-Vice Captain)
WA: Kimberly Lim
C: Nurul Baizura (Co-Vice Captain)
WD: Vanessa Lee (Captain)
GD: Aqilah Andin
GK: Melody Teo
Reserves: Chen Lili, Jocelyn Ng, Rima Yanti, Siti Nurshawallah, Toh Kai Wei
 
Team Hong Kong
GS: Connie Wong (Co-Captain)
GA: Michelle Arkell
WA: Krystina Te Kanawa-Coffin
C: Kate Jolly (Co-Captain)
WD: Mandy Tai
GD: Kalani Brown 
GK: Natassia Brakenridge
Reserves: Emma Gregory, Ann Lo, Gessy Li, Angela Chan, Stephanie Cuvelier
 
GAME 8: MALAYSIA vs SWAZILAND

The match between Malaysia and Swaziland was the second match of Day Three, with Swaziland beating Malaysia 67-50 in an intense battle. This marks Swaziland’s third consecutive win of the tournament.
  
Swaziland’s height gave them an edge in the game - but what Malaysia lacked in size, they made up for in speed as they whizzed through the first quarter. However, Swaziland picked up the pace and worked harder to broaden the gap with impressive offense and defense strategies.
 
Malaysia’s GA Karishma S. Loganathan’s speed and agility was no less than spectacular, but the spotlight was on Swaziland as they continued to triumph over Malaysia with their high passes and quick steals. Swaziland ultimately won the match 67-50. 
 
Captain of Team Swaziland, Philile Khathwane
“We are so excited that we have had three consecutive wins, and we’re looking forward to the last two and confident of winning them!”

Captain of Team Malaysia, Noor Azilah Aziz
"I think our team's performance was better today, we knew what our individuals tasks were and did not want to give up. It's just that we were at disadvantage due to size and tactical skills. We did not want to let them have an easy win and wanted to show them that although we are junior, we are still good. We hope to give a good fight tomorrow against Singapore and make it a good game for us. We will show our strong team spirit and give our best. The seniors have faced Team Singapore at the last SEA Games and now it will be the junior's turn to experience playing against Team Singapore."

Karishma S.Loganathan (GA), Team Malaysia
"I think we played better today as compared to the first day. We try to improve day by day and today we did not want to let Swaziland have an easy win. The players have long hands, can jump quite high and that was why we missed some passes, but other than that we still managed to get the ball. For the next game against Singapore, I think we will fight hard.”

  Malaysia Swaziland
Final Score 50 67
Total Attempts 64 73
Goal % 78 92

 

Team Malaysia
GS: Khairunnisa Nazri
GA: Karishma S. Loganathan (Vice-Captain)
WA: Nuraina Raziani
C: Noor Haidayu Hasmira Hasbullah 
WD: Nor Lailatulladhawiyah 
GD: Noor Azilah Aziz (Captain)
GK: Aimie Shyzleen Che Suhaimi
Reserves: Dayang Hafzlizawatie Datu Muhammar, Dhiya Alfina Zainuri, Nordiyanah Noorsabadinee, Nur Amisya Khairud Din, Siti Maisarah Affandi
 
Team Swaziland
GS: Vumile Vilakati 
GA: Bathabile Nkambule 
WA: Abigail Simelane 
C: Hlengiwe Bhembe
WD: Nomvula Jele 
GD: Phumzile Ncongwane 
GK: Philile Khathwane (Captain)
Reserves: Bongiwe Magagula, Colisile Dlamini, Jabulisile Khathwane, Sebenzile Nxumalo (Vice-Captain), Tengetile Sibandze
 
GAME 7: IRELAND vs COOK ISLANDS

Day Three of the Mission Foods Nations Cup 2017 kicked off with the winners of the earlier matches - Cook Islands and Ireland - play against each other in a heart-racing game. Cook Islands beat Ireland, marking their third consecutive win at the tournament with 40-32.
 
Cook Islands was off to a strong start but Ireland put on a hard battle to bridge the gap and equalised at 10-10 in the first quarter. Nothing could separate the two teams as they both fought to take the lead. Even at half-time, Cook Islands’ Goal Attack (GA) Crystal Jesimiel Maro scored at the last second of the second quarter, ending it with a tie at 16-16. 
 
Ireland’s long, hard throws, while effective when done right, did more harm than good as it often went out of court, giving Cook Islands’ the upper-hand in the last two quarters. With Goal Shooter (GS) Alanna Matamaru Smith and GA Leah Cherie Pue at the reigns, Cook Islands’ successfully pulled away and won the match 40-32. 
 
Captain of Team Cook Islands, Luciana Nicholas 
"It was very important for us to win this game today. We knew it was going to be tough, so we went in every quarter, just sticking to our structure and having each other's backs. It's important for us to have faith in each other, and it's awesome to come here with our young players too. We're so happy and proud of them. I think it worked out well when Alanna settled in as Goal Shooter, it was more relaxed in that circle and that's what we really needed to win the game. We've got Swaziland tomorrow and we know that they're very aerial and tall, so it's going to be a tough match again, like today's match with Ireland. We never doubt anybody's talent and skills. We'll go back to the drawing board; training tomorrow and iron a few things out, and I think we'll be fine."
 
Alanna Matamaru Smith (GS), Team Cook Islands
"We've got to make sure we execute and nail the tasks which we've set at our trainings in preparing ourselves for the competition. We've been working very hard and we've got great support from back home."
 
Captain of Team Ireland, Genevieve Slater
“We knew it was going to be tough to play Cook Islands. They are quite physical and we were expecting it, but they’re unknown to us in that we haven’t seen them play before. We knew we were going to have to fight every quarter and it was even at the first quarter and half time; we went up by the third quarter which was great, but still a long way to go. We just got a bit tired at the end. We don’t get regular tough matches like that in Ireland, and we’re on day three, so I think it showed a bit! We ran out of legs! They’re quite a young team, and we’re not so young, but I’d love to play them again and give it another go.”

  Ireland Cook Islands
Final Score 32 40
Total Attempts 44 51
Goal % 73 78


Team Ireland

GS: Fiona Morrissey 
GA: Jan Hynes (Vice-Captain) 
WA: Frances Duffy 
C: Kirsty Owens
WD: Kate Bermingham
GD: Genevieve Slater (Captain)
GK: Katie Walton
Reserves: Brittany North, Ciara Murphy, Jane Jeffreys, Melanie Ingram, Trish Fanning
 
Team Cook Islands
GS: Maine Crystal Jesimiel Maro 
GA: Alanna Matamaru Smith 
WA: Marjorie Katrina Ngatupuna Toru
C: Ashleigh Mary Iro (Vice-Captain) 
WD: Daimzel Joy-Naara Teremoana Rongokea
GD: Luciana Nicholas (Captain)
GK: Eri Te Ana Moetuma Short
Reserves: Alexandra Naomi Iro, Anania Pauleen Piri, Anastasia Salanoa, Leah Cherie Pue, Nina-Tai Roberts



DAY 2: 4 DECEMBER 2017, MONDAY

GAME 6: SWAZILAND vs SINGAPORE

The final match of Day Two saw Singapore play against Swaziland, with Swaziland beating Singapore 64-51 in their second consecutive win of the tournament - much like Ireland and Cook Islands. 

It was a heated first quarter with both teams clamouring for the lead, and Swaziland’s fast passes revealed their strong presence in court as they began to pull away from Singapore. While Singapore’s Charmaine Soh has a nearly perfect accuracy as a Goal Shooter (GS), her two rare misses in the first quarter might have cost them a chance at the lead. 
 
While Singapore tried to close the gap, Swaziland steam-rolled ahead with goal after goal and Singapore’s Goal Keeper (GK) Melody Teo was no answer for dominant Swaziland GS Nxumalo, who scored 98% of her attempted goals. Singapore’s last-second goal ended the match with Swaziland beating Singapore 64-51. 
 
Captain of Team Swaziland, Philile Khathwane
“We’re so happy. We practiced a lot and performed well today, there was accurate shooting and our training has paid off.”
 
Coach of Team Singapore, Natalie Milicich
“We have to give credit to Swaziland. They played a very strong game. They are very physical. They are bigger than us and we had to really treasure our position. I thought our defence worked their butts off. It is very very hard to deflect a netball when you are six inches shorter than your Goal Shooter so we had to really treasure our positions and at times we didn’t do that enough.
 
I think it was a combination of Swaziland playing a very disciplined game and in our own game, just little bit of poor placement and to make ourselves available to the ball a bit earlier and to making those connections earlier as well.
 
We have to work on the team’s confidence when you have a loss like that. It is actually only six turnovers and that’s all it is and that’s what we got to keep reminding ourselves. We told ourselves going into that last quarter to keep fighting and show some courage and some guts out there and I think we did that. It’s really just that first half that got away from us a little bit. We need to regroup at the end and look at what we did well in the last two games and try to put it all together for 60 minutes tomorrow.
 
I try not to think too much about that. We’ve got to think about our performance and to look at the big picture. I’ve only been with the team for 6 weeks so I’m still learning about the players. I think we are doing some really great stuff out there and we just need to do it for longer.
 
We just have to tying up the most simple of errors and I think that will help our score line. We just got to think about our performance and try not to focus on results and as I say, having those moments where we have to be consistent for longer periods. 
 
Our defence team was having real accuracy with their feet and I think we need to actually start playing off a little bit more and create low balls so that it give ourselves more opportunities for intercepts. When you try to outjump someone taller than you, it’s always going to be difficult. We have to remind ourselves that we just can’t keep backing off and that we actually do need to attack and go for opportunities.
 
I think we played very well yesterday and we were very unlucky with just how we ended that match. Today, we have to give credit to Swaziland. They played very very well and we’ve lost Lili and I think she would have made a difference for us today, just having a bit of height at the back there. We just got to keep working on those things that we did do well and keep building because we’ve got a long way to go.”
 
Co-vice captain of Team Singapore, Nurul Baizura 
"The team is still very positive after yesterday’s defeat as there was a lot to learn from yesterday’s match. We did lose by one point and we admitted that it was really just our errors. The opposition didn’t force the errors but we put pressure on ourselves. We had some newcomers playing in the Nations Cup for the first time and having to give such a good performance in their first game and I think that’s very commendable.
 
The start for today’s game was rather edgy and we had some jitters. The opposition was really fast and caught us by surprise as we expected them to play more of an unstructured game with balls going all over. We watched their game against Hong Kong yesterday, but today they changed it up. They were very patient with their balls and kept it safe. We weren’t ready for that and kudos to them as they had a very good attacking line. Their Goal Shooter is one of the more dominant players and that’s where our defenders struggled but we managed to somehow work out some tactics and close down that option.
 
I had my own personal goals and to be more available on attack and on defence, to take them on tighter. But as a whole, I also play the part as their leader and having to help others lift their game and I think that’s more of a challenge for me than the opposition giving me a tough time. I put that pressure on myself as I’m one of the more senior players and I want to give the team the encouragement and tell them it’s ok and let’s go for the next point.
 
For tomorrow’s game, we should have the same mentality and be positive. Ultimately, of course, winning is great but there’s much more to learn from a defeat. I think the younger girls need to learn that it’s not all about winning. Process does matter and to ensure that if you want to win, all these very small details such as accuracy of passes, shots, even basic of catches. Sometimes, our mishandling of stepping cost us a fair bit during the game. We should definitely adopt more of a growth mindset approach for the Nations Cup this year."
 
Co-vice captain of Team Singapore, Charmaine Soh
“I felt that our team did improve as compared to yesterday, but we have to brush up on more basic things such as passes and stepping. I think we managed to turn over a few balls, but we did not manage to keep possession of it, so we have to keep possession and play the basic well. I feel a bit disappointed with the loss as I thought that we could have done much better than this. However our team has a lot of fighting spirit and although we were losing, we still fought hard and kept our heads up. The morale is still good though, and we will still be fighting and encourage one another.”

  Singapore Swaziland
Final Score 51 64
Total Attempts 65 71
Goal % 78 90

 

Team Swaziland
GS: Sebenzile Nxumalo (Vice-Captain)
GA: Jabulisile Khathwane 
WA: Colisile Dlamini
C: Abigail Simelane
WD: Tengetile Sibandze
GD: Bongiwe Magagula
GK: Philile Khathwane (Captain)
Reserves: Bathabile Nkambule, Hlengiwe Bhembe, Phumzile Ncongwane, Nomvula Jele, Vumile Vilakati
 
Team Singapore
GS: Charmaine Soh (Co-Vice Captain)
GA: Jocelyn Ng
WA: Kimberly Lim
C: Nurul Baizura (Co-Vice Captain)
WD: Vanessa Lee (Captain)
GD: Aqilah Andin
GK: Melody Teo
Reserves: Chen Lili, Rima Yanti, Siti Nurshawallah, Toh Kai Wei, Yu Mei Ling
 
GAME 5: COOK IRELANDS vs HONG KONG

The match between Hong Kong and Cook Islands was the second match of Day Two, with Cook Islands winning 48-33 – marking Cook Islands’ second consecutive win of the tournament.
Throughout the first quarter, goals were forth coming from both teams with no say on who had the upper-hand. When Hong Kong’s Wing Attack (WA) Stephanie Cuvelier swapped out due to an injury, Cook Islands took the opportunity to overtake Hong Kong, ending the second quarter at 21-20.
 
This only seemed to motivate Hong Kong even more as they played harder and faster through the last two quarters, but with Wing Defense (WD) Ashleigh Iro’s impressive steals and Goal Shooter (GS) Alanna Matamaru Smith’s shooting skills, Cook Islands’ attempt to broaden the gap paid off as they won 48-33.
 
Captain of Team Cook Islands, Luciana Nicholas
About the game today:
I think it’s really emotional for us for this second consecutive win because we’ve never really won any games for a long time. It’s really nice and convincing to know that we still got it in Cook Islands. 
 
On tomorrow’s match with Ireland:
“We’ve got a structure in place and individual goals, so as long as we keep our structure, we should be fine going into the court. I know it’s going to be tough but we will iron a few things out and we are really looking forward to meet Ireland tomorrow.”
 
Co-captain of Hong Kong, Kate Jolly 
About the game today: 
“There are real positives that we can take away from the game today. We had a game plan and we stuck to it for the first half. After the half break we did it a few times but we then got caught up in what Cook Islands was doing and they were able to get the lead on us and we found it hard to get it back.” 
 
On Stephanie Cuvelier being injured 
“Steph is a great player to have on court, she's a very mentally tough player so it's disappointing to see her go down. But we've got a deep bench and got plenty of girls who can jump into court so we are confident going into the next game.” 
 
On tomorrow's match with Singapore
“We'll go back, do a bit of recovery and we'll also have the opportunity to look at some of the things we are doing wrong in today's game, we'll address that and take that into the game tomorrow.“
 
  Hong Kong Cook Islands
Final Score 33 48
Total Attempts 51 56
Goal % 65 86

 

Team Cook Islands
GS: Alanna Matamaru Smith
GA: Leah Cherie Pue
WA: Marjorie Katrina Ngatupuna Toru
C: Alexandra Naomi Iro
WD: Ashleigh Mary Iro (Vice-Captain)
GD: Luciana Nicholas (Captain)
GK: Eri Te Ana Moetuma Short
Reserves: Anania Pauleen Piri, Anastasia Salanoa, Daimzel Joy-Naara Teremoana Rongokea, Maine Crystal Maro, Nina-Tai Roberts
 
Team Hong Kong
GS: Connie Wong (Co-Captain)
GA: Michelle Arkell
WA: Stephanie Cuvelier
C: Kate Jolly (Co-Captain)
WD: Mandy Tai
GD: Kalani Brown 
GK: Natassia Brakenridge
Reserves: Emma Gregory, Ann Lo, Gessy Li, Angela Chan, Krystina Te Kanawa-Coffin

GAME 4: IRELAND vs MALAYSIA

The first match of Day Two at the Mission Foods Nations Cup 2017 saw Ireland beating Malaysia 48-34, making it their second consecutive win in the tournament following yesterday's narrow win against Singapore.
 
Malaysia’s Goal Shooter (GS) Khairunnisa Nazri kickstarted the game with three consecutive goals, launching Malaysia in the lead within the first few minutes. While they stayed ahead throughout the first quarter, the tables turned when Ireland successfully stole the lead in the second quarter and widening the score gap even further from the third quarter. 
 
The match saw competitive offenses from both teams, and the pressure was on for Malaysia in the final quarter as they swapped players hopes of closing the gap. But Ireland never faltered, continued to score more goals even in the last few seconds and eventually won the match 48-34.
 
Captain of Team Ireland, Genevieve Slater
"We knew the Malaysians were going to be tough, as we played with them before. We were excited so it took us some time to regroup and work on our defense. I think we were a little bit slow on the start, which is something we definitely need to improve. But we've got the experience playing quite a few games before, but we are prepared and there's a lot of work that goes behind in the background, many weeks and months trainings prior to this, a lot of time is visualising getting those intercepts and executing when the timing is right, so it's great that those worked well today."
 
Captain of Team Malaysia, Noor Azilah Aziz
"We enjoyed this second game against Ireland and felt that it was a good fight. The players from Ireland are strong, while we are juniors and we would actually like to gain experience here. After the first quarter, I think it was more of tactical errors instead of poor fitness. Nevertheless we will learn from this experience and perhaps tomorrow will be a better day for us. There are some players in the team who are still new, so we will continue to give support to them."

  Malaysia Ireland
Final Score 34 48
Total Attempts 50 57
Goal % 68 84

 

Team Ireland
GS: Melanie Ingram 
GA: Jan Hynes (Vice-Captain) 
WA: Ciara Murphy 
C: Kirsty Owens
WD: Kate Bermingham
GD: Genevieve Slater (Captain)
GK: Katie Walton
Reserves: Brittany North, Fiona Morrissey, Frances Duffy, Jane Jeffreys, Trish Fanning
 
Team Malaysia
GS: Khairunnisa Nazri
GA: Karishma S. Loganathan (Vice-Captain)
WA: Nuraina Raziani
C: Nordiyanah Noorsabadinee
WD: Noor Haidayu Hasmira Hasbullah
GD: Noor Azilah Aziz (Captain)
GK: Nor Lailatulladhawiyah
Reserves: Aimie Shyzleen Che Suhaimi, Dayang Hafzlizawatie Datu Muhammar, Dhiya Alfina Zainuri, Nur Amisya Khairud Din, Siti Maisarah Affandi

 



DAY 1: 3 DECEMBER 2017, SUNDAY
 
GAME 3: HONG KONG vs SWAZILAND 

The first two intense matches set the stage for the final match of the day - Hong Kong vs Swaziland, which saw Swaziland beat Hong Kong 48-36.
 
The match commenced with Hong Kong off to a strong start, scoring three consecutive goals. Hong Kong continued to hold the lead and the first quarter ended with Hong Kong leading 12-8.
 
The competition remained fierce but Swaziland managed to edge forward in the last seconds of the second quarter, with a score of 20-19. Swaziland continued with their momentum in the next two quarters with impressive footwork, fast passes and long throws. Swaziland remained ahead of the game and won the match 48-36.
 
The first day of the Mission Foods Nations Cup 2017 provided thrilling netball action and fans can only expect more as the battle for the trophy continues tomorrow. 
 
Captain of Team Swaziland, Philile Khathwane
“We are so excited and very happy to have won the game. The team is feeling confident and we will go all out and win as much games as we can.”

  Hong Kong Swaziland
Final Score 36 48
Total Attempts 51 58
Goal % 71 83

 

Team Hong Kong
GS: Connie Wong (Co-Captain)
GA: Michelle Arkell
WA: Stephanie Cuvelier
C: Kate Jolly (Co-Captain)
WD: Mandy Tai
GD: Kalani Brown 
GK: Natassia Brakenridge
Reserves: Emma Gregory, Ann Lo, Gessy Li, Angela Chan, Krystina Te Kanawa-Coffin
 
Team Swaziland
GS: Sebenzile Nxumalo (Vice-Captain)
GA: Jabulisile Khathwane 
WA: Colisile Dlamini
C: Abigail Simelane
WD: Tengetile Sibandze
GD: Bongiwe Magagula
GK: Philile Khathwane (Captain)
Reserves: Bathabile Nkambule, Hlengiwe Bhembe, Phumzile Ncongwane, Nomvula Jele, Vumile Vilakati

GAME 2: MALAYSIA vs COOK ISLANDS 
 
The match between Malaysia and Cook Islands was the second match of Day One of the Mission Foods Nations Cup 2017. Cook Islands made their debut in the tournament with a convincing win of 69-35 against Malaysia. 
 
Malaysia’s Goal Attack (GA) Karishma S. Loganathan scored the first goal within seconds of the first quarter, but the tables turned when Cook Islands proceeded to score multiple goals soon after and took the lead. Leah Cherie Pue (GA) made countless successful interceptions with impressive lunges even at the first quarter, securing Cook Islands’ lead. 
 
The match continued with both teams displaying strong offense and defense strategies, but Cook Islands started to overpower Malaysia, broadening the gap between their scores and led the game in the next three quarters. 
 
Captain of Team Cook Islands, Luciana Nicholas
“I'm on an absolute high and really proud of the girls. We went in there, knowing what our jobs were and the results just showed itself. We're really stoked and happy with the convincing win. I think we have a lot more to offer. We're looking forward to the rest of the tournament and the team is over the moon. We can't wait for the next game against Hong Kong tomorrow."
 
  Malaysia Cook Islands
Final Score 35 69
Total Attempts 52 82
Goal % 67 84

 

Team Malaysia
GS: Khairunnisa Nazri
GA: Karishma S. Loganathan (Vice-Captain)
WA: Nur Amisya Khairud Din
C: Nordiyanah Noorsabadinee
WD: Noor Haidayu Hasmira Hasbullah
GD: Noor Azilah Aziz (Captain)
GK: Nor Lailatulladhawiyah
Reserves: Aimie Shyzleen Che Suhaimi, Dayang Hafzlizawatie, Dhiya Alfina Zainuri, Nuraina Raziani, Siti Maisarah Affandi
 
Team Cook Islands
GS: Alanna Matamaru Smith
GA: Leah Cherie Pue
WA: Marjorie Katrina Ngatupuna Toru
C: Alexandra Iro
WD: Ashleigh Iro (Vice-Captain)
GD: Luciana Nicholas (Captain)
GK: Eri Te Ana Moetuma Short
Reserves: Anania Pauleen Piri, Anastasia Salanoa, Daimzel Joy-Naara Teremoana Rongokea, Maine Crystal Maro, Nina-Tai Roberts
 
GAME 1: SINGAPORE vs IRELAND
 
The Mission Foods Nations Cup 2017 kicked off with an action-packed match that saw Team Ireland, a regular of the Nations Cup tournament, beat Team Singapore 54-53 in what was a tightly contested affair. 
 
Team Singapore got off on a strong start and took the lead with three consecutive goals in the first minutes of the match. Team Singapore’s Goal Attack (GA), Toh Kai Wei, made her Nations Cup debut in the second quarter and made an impression with a scoring accuracy of 76%. Both teams were evenly matched and and put on impressive offense displays with the first two quarters ending in a tie at 13-13 and 26-26.
 
After the break, Team Singapore put on a strong display with Goal Shooter (GS), Charmaine Soh and Toh (GA) scoring multiple goals in the first minutes, while Goal Keeper (GK), Chen Lili, put in great defending skills, stopping Team Ireland at the net. Team Singapore continued to stretch the gap with players like Goal Defense (GD), Nur Aqilah Andin and Wing Attack (WA), Kimberly Lim, intercepting the ball with epic lunges. The great showing from Team Singapore meant the third quarter ended with Singapore leading 43-36.
 
Stakes were high in the last quarter as Team Ireland upped their game in an attempt to narrow the gap. Team Ireland’s Goal Attack, Fiona Morrissey, and Goal Shooter, Jan Hynes, did whatever it took to score and managed to narrow the gap to 50-50 with less than 5 minutes on the clock. Much to the disappointment of the largely Team Singapore fans in the crowd, the pressure from Team Ireland proved too much and a Team Ireland intercept in the dying seconds meant Team Ireland won the match with the narrowest of margins, 54-53. 
 
Throughout the tightly contested affair, players from both teams showed tenacity and good skill, setting the pace for an exciting six days of action.
 
Coach of Team Singapore, Natalie Milicich
“We have seen a big improvement in the players. There was some really good start and it was a very exciting match. In the last quarter we just sort of stop and wait, but when the pressure is on, we got to make sure we keep doing what we have been doing well and keep on top of ourselves. 
 
The girls have lots that they haven't shown today. We still got other combinations of things that we can look at and I think at the end of the day they don't know how much they have improved, and at the critical moments we just have to make sure that they finish those shots.
 
The competition is going to be very close this year. Looking at the ratings of all the teams, we are all very very close. It's now just performance for us and we want to make sure we do come out stronger than how we ended at the SEA Games. It's about consistency.
 
I'm trying to look at managing the moments when we have a little bit of a roll on against us and how we deal with it. Our tactics and strategies are really just about making sure we take care of our situation.”
 
Captain of Tean Ireland, Genevieve Slater
About the win:
“We are elated and ecstatic, we have been playing in the Mission Foods Nations Cup for five years and this is our first win. It's so nice to finally get the win. We worked so hard for this so we are really happy to have won.”
 
About the third quarter: 
“We didn't expect to go down so much in the third quarter, but I'm so proud of the girls for staying in it, pulling it back and keeping our heads in the game."
 
About the last point: 
“At the last point when we were even and I was just thinking we got to have an intercept, so I was yelling at my defenders to stay tight and don't let them get an easy pass. Our defender had amazing long arms and she was able to reach out and grab that intercept. I was elated and knew that let's get the goal.”

  Singapore Ireland
Final Score 53 54
Total Attempts 65 69
Goal % 82 78

 

Team Singapore

GS: Yu Mei Ling
GA: Charmaine Soh (Co-Vice Captain)
WA: Kimberly Lim 
C: Vanessa Lee (Captain)
WD: Nurul Baizura (Co-Vice Captain)
GD: Aqilah Andin
GK: Melody Teo
Reserves: Chen Lili, Jocelyn Ng, Rima Yanti, Siti Nurshawallah, Toh Kai Wei
 

Team Ireland
GS: Jan Hynes (Vice-Captain)
GA: Frances Duffy
WA: Trish Fanning
C: Kirsty Owens
WD: Kate Bermingham
GD: Genevieve Slater (Captain)
GK: Katie Walton
Reserves: Brittany North, Ciara Murphy, Fiona Morrissey, Jane Jeffreys, Melanie Ingram

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