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M1 Nations Cup 2019 Day 4 Match Reports

Posted 24 Oct 2019

The first match of Day Four at the M1 Nations Cup 2019 saw Papua New Guinea beaten by Namibia 47 – 59, in another closely fought match. 
The Pepe’s made a strong start looking to secure their first win at the tournament and were intent on causing Namibia problems in the final third. Both sides scored 12 points in the first 5 minutes with end to end action, ending the final quarter 13-16. The next two quarters (2nd & 3rd) saw mistakes and ill-discipline from both sides, increasing the intensity of the match and the need for the players to refocus. Both coaches were ready for their team-talk to revitalise their players once the buzzer sounded, with the result heading into the final quarter, 33-45. 
After the break, the African side came out the stronger, looking to tie off the win with the Pepe’s starting to fatigue in the final 15 minutes. A disappointing injury to Anna Shipanga (C) in the 9th minute did not affect the flow and the team powered through to give Namibia their third win at this year’s tournament. 
Co-Captain of Papua New Guinea, Courtney Abel “It was so good we came out fired up, and we executed what our coaches asked us to execute.  All the girls had a boost of confidence because we had a couple of games to release all the nerves and already have a feel of this level of competition, it was great and I loved it!  
During this game, when they saw that we came out to play and we were on point, they picked up their defence and that’s where we dropped off a bit because they got really physical. I think we just need to keep at it with the physicality and step up when the other team steps up. Most importantly, to keep consistent, I think consistency is the main thing.” 
Coach of Namibia, Julene Meyer “Honestly, I’m not happy with the performance today. We didn’t play according to the game plan, we didn’t stick to what we had to do. However, all credit to Papua New Guinea, they really disrupted us. We have a lot we have to improve on before we take on Botswana on Friday and they’ll be tough to beat. We have to go back to the drawing board and pay a lot of attention to self-analysis.” 

The match between Botswana and Ireland was the second of Day Four, with the African side beating Ireland 46-34, marking Botswana’s third win of the tournament.  
The first quarter was an unexpected, even affair with Ireland’s shooters working well together to get points on the board, heading into the break with 9 points apiece. From the second quarter the Irish concentration started to slip and Botswana capitalised, upping the tempo to stretch the lead to 34-23 heading into the final quarter. 

Ireland launched a competitive offence in the last 8 minutes with an impressive Amelia Cox (GS) securing points to keep the Irish luck alive. However the point difference in the end was too large and after adding the necessary force, Botswana were simply too strong and secured the victory. This is Ireland’s third loss of the campaign and the team will feel slightly hard done with tonight’s result and will use the break tomorrow to regroup for their match against Cook Islands on Friday.  
Coach of Botswana, Sithulile Mlotshwa “The first quarter we struggled, our game play was to push the balls forward to our goal saver but we were not able to do so because my centre player was not directing the angles so it allowed Ireland to close us down more easily.  
Towards the last quarter they came back again, but we were exhausted because we brought less players. Looking ahead, our game plan on Friday is to wait it out on the first quarter, then we secure it on the third and fourth quarter.” 
Coach of Ireland, Joan Young “On the whole the result didn’t go our way. In terms of performance and consistency, it was actually much improved this week and I’m really pleased. We managed to get more players on court, Millie Cox is obviously man of the match, for an 18 year old, she did really well in the circle.” 

The last match of the day saw 2017 Nations Cup Champions Cook Islands versus Singapore with the home side winning 47-59. This marks Singapore’s second consecutive win of the tournament. 
Singapore, on a high from last night’s win against Ireland, started the game emphatically, scoring 14 points to the Cook Islands 7. Both sides were motivated to secure a strong start, with Singapore leading the way and heading into the break with a comfortable lead. 

The next two quarters (2nd & 3rd) saw Singapore maintaining their focus and drive, dictating counter attacks to secure important points to stay ahead. Shooters Charmaine Soh’s (GS) 93% accuracy and Toh Kai Wei’s (GA) 83% accuracy were unwavering in their technique and the crowd cheered every successful shot. The Islanders however remained a constant threat and used their experience to maintain their presence in the match heading into the final quarter. With home crowd support, Singapore stayed fixated on their game plan and finished with their highest points scored in the tournament, 59 to Cook Islands 47. Singapore are now in third place on the tournament table. 
Coach of Cook Islands, Anna Andrews-Tasola “It was a great game. There was a lot at stake for both teams to be able to stay alive in the competition. Singapore played really well & we were just not quick enough. All credit to Singapore for a great game and a great win tonight.” 
Coach of Singapore, Natalie Milicich “They are ranked 12th in the world and we have been building to this match, I felt that we played better in the first two matches than we did yesterday, even though it was a draw, which eventually led up to get the winner against Cook Islands. I am very proud that we really implemented our game plan, we knew what we had to do especially defensively. It was really important today to convert all those opportunities that we did get to build a lead and once we had it, we have really been working on how we can keep it, I felt that we did that today.  
I said we haven’t won yet when the girls asked if they could have a day off tomorrow, I said we will think about it. We still need to regather and see what we can work with on the results we have today. We played a good game but not a perfect game.” 
Captain of Singapore, Charmaine Soh We decided to take it one game at a time. We know that the game against Cooks will be very important because it will determine whether we will be in the finals, so we had to beat them at this game. I think I played them a few years ago and they were really tough. We came into this game with the mentality to go all out, which is to start strong and maintain possession, maintain passes, to stay calm, composed and any balls that they intercept will just be a bonus. 
This is our second win which is wow, it’s really amazing. I think this will help to keep our spirits high. I think the game on Friday will be another challenge for us to have another win. So if we win we can hopefully look into to the finals if it’s meant for us.”