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An Improved Singapore Side Came Close to Beating Samoa

Singapore loses first qualification round match against world no 13

Singapore came close to winning their first qualification round match against Samoa in an exciting tie after drawing 33-33 with the world no 13 in the 3rd quarter, only to lose 46-39 eventually.

Singapore is contesting for the 9 to 16th position in the NWC2015 after finishing 3rd in their grouping (Pool C) in the preliminary round, Singapore is grouped in Pool G for the qualification round, together with Trinidad & Tobago (world no 9), Samoa (world no 13) and Zambia (world no 20). Fans can expect close matches in the next one week at the NWC2015 as the competition heats up and matches get closer.

Singapore finished 15th in the 2011 edition and will hope to better that in this NWC2015. Singapore last played and triumphed over a higher ranked Trinidad & Tobago back in 2007 in a surprise 55-40 win at the final of the Netball Nations Cup. Since then, Trinidad & Tobago has improved leaps and are currently ranked 9 in the world.

Zambia is a relatively unknown outfit as this is only the 2nd time it has competed in the NWC. Zambia booked its place at the NWC2015 after placing second behind Uganda at the 2014 African qualification tournament. Malawi and South Africa did not compete in the tournament as they have automatically qualified for the NWC being ranked top 6 in the world.

Both Samoa and Singapore have had some knowledge of each other, having recently played each other at the Netball Nations Cup 2014 less than a year ago. Singapore had lost to Samoa on both occasions, losing 53-47 in the round games and then 50-41 in the final.

Stakes are high at the Allphones Arena with Singapore hoping to overturn the past results and Samoa wanting to prove themselves after suffering 3 defeats in the preliminary round against Jamaica, England and Scotland.

Singapore continues to improve their performance through the competition and the game was tightly contested through the 4 quarters. Singapore’s defenders, Premila Hirubalan, Olivia Flanagan and Micky Lin, were at their best against the Samoa’s attackers, creating several intercepts and turnovers.

Singapore played a very patient game in the first quarter and did not let Samoa dictated the game. It was neck-to-neck between the both teams and the quarter ended 10-9 to Samoa.

Samoa turned up the heat at the onstart of 2nd quarter, placing pressure on Singapore’s attackers. Singapore found it harder to get past strong Samoa players and get the ball to their shooters in the goal circle. When they did, the shooters, who had to withstand the physical play, failed to convert some of their shots. Samoa capitalised on Singapore’s mistakes and were leading 7 goals at a point. However, Singapore’s defenders continued to work their magic on the Samoa shooting end and kept the score-line at 21-17 to Samoa.

Olivia Flanagan came in as Wing Defence and added fresh legs to the team and Singapore came out firing in 3rd quarter. Singapore netted 3 goals within 2 minutes to reduce the gap to just 1 goal and 6 minutes into the game, Singapore overturned the tables and were leading by a goal with the shooting duo of Yu Mei Ling and Charmaine Soh finding their rhythm again. There was great work through the court by the Singapore team with every player putting in the extra bit to defend when Samoa was attacking. Singapore won the quarter 16-12 and out the match at 33-33 at the end of 3rd quarter.

It was an intense 4th quarter with both teams playing their hearts out. However, it was Samoa who stood up when it mattered and played a superb quarter, winning the match 46-39 and securing their first win of the event.

Captain Micky Lin was disappointed with the result, “The breakdown happened in the 4th quarter where we gave away some cheap intercepts and easy turnovers to them. All these balls are very costly to us and we will need to tidy up at this level of the game. We had good three quarters but a disappointing fouth. I thought Samoa were a bit more resilient and had more composure than us towards the end of the game, which is the reason why they took the game.”

This would probably be one of the better performances we had (through the competition). The pressure on our shooters is very high in this particular game. I thought we played a lot better than the final at the Nations Cup last year so there is some good to take away but it was disappointing as well because we were so close. I almost thought we could win it,” added Lin.

Ruth Aitken, Head Coach who was equally disappointed, said, “The changes that Samoa made in the last quarter really worked in their favour and defensively they tightened in our shooting area and we struggled to get that clear ball into our shooters. It was a huge fight back into the 3rd quarter for our girls and then Samoa did the same. It was their greater exposure that came through for Samoa. It was disappointing that the score got away in the last quarter.”

On how Singapore can improve to be competitive on the world stage, Aitken said, “We are working hard on our strength and conditioning but we got to put more time into it so we are stronger and fitter. We are the best in Asia as such but if we look at the world stage there is a lot more support and a lot more times that the other players go to the gym. At this stage, we go twice a week plus self-directed. I think that is one of the things that we need to look at to how we ensure we are physically prepared as well.”

“It’s a long tournament and tomorrow we have got another big game so it’s how we pick ourselves up. The girls will be disappointed today but we would need to take the positives and the learning and then we need to come out and perform. Hopefully we pick out some tactical things we can tweak and change. We just have to try and keep reinforcing the good stuff and tipping away the stuff that needs some work,” Aitken added.

In the other Pool G match, Trinidad & Tobago takes on Zambia at 12.20pm and the match was ongoing at press time.

Singapore will face a stronger opponent and go up against world no 9, Trinidad & Tobago tomorrow at 10.20am (8.20am Singapore time) at the Allphones Arena, Sydney Olympic Park. Samoa will take on Zambia in the other Pool G tie at 4.20pm (2.20pm Singapore time).

Meanwhile, it is a busy day at the Sydney Olympic Park today with another seven games to be played. Fans can look forward to two mouth-watering ties as the New Zealand Silver Ferns take on Jamaica at 6.20pm (4.20pm Singapore time) while Australia will play England at 8.20pm (6.20pm Singapore time).


Starting Line-ups


















Quarter Results (Samoa v Singapore)

1st Quarter 10-9

2nd Quarter 21-17 (11-8)

3rd Quarter 33-33 (12-16)

4th Quarter 46-39 (13-6)


Shooting Accuracy


Auteletoa Tanimo 17/20 (85%)

Julianna Naoupu-Laban 24/27 (89%)

Sanita Too 5/5 (100%)


Charmaine Soh 26/34 (76%)

Chen Huifen 2/4 (50%)

Yu Mei Ling 11/19 (58%)


Singapore’s Past Results and Upcoming Fixtures

Preliminary Round (Pool C)

7 August, 11.50am: Singapore vs Sri Lanka (56-47)

8 August, 5.20pm: South Africa vs Singapore (69-21)

9 August, 6.20pm: Malawi vs Singapore (75-31)

Qualification Round (Pool G)

11 August, 10.20am: Samoa vs Singapore (13-16)

12 August, 10.20am: Trinidad & Tobago vs Singapore

14 August, 2.20pm: Singapore vs Zambia