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Blaze Dolphins Win Their First M1 Netball Super League Title

National Squad announced ahead of Asian Championships

The crowds gathered at Toa Payoh Sports Hall this afternoon to witness Blaze Dolphins winning the 2016 M1 Super League 49-50 over 2015 Champions Sneakers Stingrays.

They overcame the challenge of confident and experienced Stingrays, in a high intensity and hard fought match to take the lion’s share of the S$30,000 prize money.

Sneakers Stingrays got off to a fast start with a 13-9 advantage after the first quarter, but Blaze Dolphins – in almost repeat fashion of their play-off win last week – started to reign their opponents back in and got some crucial early goals on the board in the second period t nudge themselves ahead at the half time break (22-26).

It was neck and neck for most of the third, until Sneakers shooter, Liu Xin Yi, scored three from the edge of the circle to put them ahead (14-10) and leave them trailing the Dolphins by a single point going into the final quarter.

Both teams threw everything they had at their fight for the title. Shooters were on target, defenders doing their best to disrupt them, and the ball continued to be passes around the court at a frantic pace. With four minutes to play, there was just a single point between them (44-45), Liu Xin Yi took to long-range efforts again alongside goal attack Wong Pei Ying and they were rewarded for their efforts – going three points ahead. Blaze didn’t stop fighting and Cassandra Soh stayed calm and drew them level with 15 seconds remaining. One final shot with two seconds to play and Soh did it – Blaze took the win by a single point (49-50) in one of the most exhilarating finals ever to give them their first NSL title.

Winning captain, Lin Qingyi, was very emotional about her team’s win. She said, “We have come from nowhere this season – finishing fourth and making it to the grand final. It’s been amazing. The crowd support today was fantastic and Sneakers Stingrays put up a really tough fight today. I am glad it was Cassandra taking that final shot and not me!”

Winning Coach Wang Jing Qing said, “Very very happy. We came in as underdog and our international player couldn’t play today so we just told the team to give it their all.

“I didn’t expect it but we told ourselves to fight all the way and we didn’t give up. A very sweet win.”

Q1: 13-9
Q2: 9-17 (22-26)
Q3: 14-11 (36-37)
Q4: 13-13 (49-50)


FINAL STANDINGS:
1st: Blaze Dolphins
2nd: Sneakers Stingrays
3rd: Magic Marlins 
4th: Tiger Sharks
5th: Mission Mannas
6th: Fier Orcas

M1 NSL MOST VALUABLE PLAYER AWARDS:
Blaze Dolphins: Chen Huifen
Fier Orcas: Celeste Lee
Magic Marlins: Premila Hirubalan
Mission Mannas: Siti Nurshawallah
Sneakers Stingrays: Wong Pei Ying
Tiger Sharks: Hannah Broederlow
Most Improved Umpire: Nigel Lim
Most Valuable Coach: Wang Jing Qing
Most Valuable Foreign Player Award: Lilian Sylidion


National Squad Announced
Following the M1 NSL Grand Final, Netball Singapore announced the players selected into the national squad for this season. They will train together – under the leadership of National Coach Ruth Aitken – over the coming weeks, before being trimmed down after trials on the 28 May. Those selected from the squad, along with some possible additional invites, will then head to Fiji from 15-22 June for a training tour before competing at the Asian Championships (30 July – 7 August).

A mix of youth and experience shapes this year’s squad, following the loss of 9 players since the World Championships due to a mix of retirements, relocations and injuries. Progressing from the U21’s are Avelyn Long and Nur Athirah Bte Zulkiffle; and two players have been recalled to the squad after some time away, namely Melody Teo and Vanessa Lee.

Putting them alongside experienced players such as Kimberly Lim, Nurul Baizura and Charmaine Soh; the team will have a chance to grow and develop this year in Fiji, the Asian Championships in Bangkok and the Nations Cup on home soil from 4-10 September. The players that will captain and vice captain the side will be selected and announced after the trial at the end of the month.

Ruth Aitken said, “There have been a wealth of retirements but as a team it’s about regrouping. We have a strong group that are very talented so it’s about putting ourselves together as a champion team and not a team of champions.”

Players Selected:
Anna Soo
Avelyn Leong
Cassandra Soh
Charmaine Soh
Chen Lili
Jocelyn Ng
Kimberly Lim
Kwok Shuyi
Melody Teo
Natalie Long
Nur Aqilah Afiqah
Nur Athirah Bte Zulkiffle
Nurul Baizura
Pamela Liew
Parveen Nair
Shawallah Rashid
Shina Teo
Toh Wan Ling
Vanessa Lee
Yasmin Ho
Yu Mei Ling