Date: 12 to 20 July 2008
Venue: Hong Kong
Organiser: Hong Kong Netball Association
Champions ~ Malaysia
2nd ~ Sri Lanka
3rd ~ SINGAPORE
4th ~ Thailand
5th ~ Hong Kong
6th ~ Chinese Taipei
7th ~ India
AYC Day 9: Singapore Vs. Thailand (2nd Semi-Final) (56-42)
20 July 2008, Sunday -The big question is “how much had yesterday’s game exhaust Singapore, both mentally and physically?” Also from watching the match, we knew that Thailand had had an opportunity to rest a couple of key players after half time. Furthermore, having played against Thailand on AYC Day 1, we noticed how much Thailand had improved and that generally leads to the next question – Would Singapore be able to repeat their resounding victory of the first day of the Asian Youth a few days ago?
With some very hoarse supporters, the cheering was a little lacking in the early stages of the game. Thus, it was up to the team to make sure they finished this AYC off with aplomb. The game started well for Singapore scoring easily from their centre passes and making Thailand work hard to get any ball into their attacking third. Singapore jumped to an early 8-2 lead and was never seriously threatened from this point. Rachel Leong was out to prove yesterday’s defeat was just a history and played beautifully linking with her feeders and co-shooter Diana Chew. She shot 100% for the quarter with 9 from 9! At the other end, the 16 year old, 6 foot Thai shooter was causing havoc with her strong take and accurate shooting – just as well the full court defence were able to shut the ball down before it got to her! The umpires also rewarded the Singapore defence by giving them several held ball calls on the Thai attack. This gave rise to more cheering of the Singapore bench and crowd. At quarter time Singapore held a 10 goal margin.
The 2nd quarter saw the introduction of Melody Teo at GK in an attempt to stem the flow of ball to the Thai shooter. However, all of Singapore’s composed effort and concentration from quarter 1 must have stayed on the bench and many of the players, who had played in yesterday’s semi-finals against Sri Lanka, were starting to look flat. Thailand took these opportunities and were able to peg back 3 goals at half time to trail by only 7 going into the 2nd half.
Half time saw more changes to the Singapore defence end. Povan was introduced to GK this time. Singapore and Thailand traded centre passes throughout the first half of the third quarter before Singapore were able to finish the quarter with a 9 goal run to lead 45-29 at three quarter time.
At this final quarter, will the pattern of the second quarter re-emerge or would Coach Yeo Mee Hong introduce fresh legs to finish the game off for Singapore? After a 4-2 commence, Singapore were really showing signs of fatigue and allowed Thailand some easy turnovers which they worked hard to capitalise on. At the same time, there was definitely a scoring end, as far as the umpiring was concerned, and Thailand were going to make the most of it in the lastly winning the final quarter 13-11. However, for overall of the match, Singapore had scored more than enough to win the match 56-42!
Best on court ~ Rachel Leong; Christina Teng(Whatever position which Coach Yeo placed her on the court was a continual thorn for Thailand), a very tired and sore Captain Ang Shiqi and Centre Court Yi Lun.
In the Grand Final, Malaysia easily accounted for Sri Lanka 61-45, leading by as much as 17 during the 3rd quarter.
At the Closing ceremony and Celebration Dinner, Christina Teng was named player of the 3rd/4th Playoff. Well done Christina and the National 21Us! Congratulations to Singapore for becoming the 3rd in the Asian Youth Championship 2008!
AYC Day 8: Singapore Vs. Sri Lanka (1st Semi-Final) (44-46)
19 July 2008, Saturday – Wow, what a game; what a fight back and what fighting spirit and determination Singapore showed to come back from as much as 12 goals down in the middle of the 2nd and 3rd quarters!
As usual, the National 21Us were lead by Captain Ang Shiqi, who appeared from nowhere to take numerous intercepts to keep her team in the hunt for the keenly sort prize of an AYC grandfinal appearance. Singapore started nervously and hence, full of errors in the first quarter allowing an also nervous but slightly more composed Sri Lankan team to jump to a 5-0 lead. Singapore pulled back 2 goals but were then held to Cp for Cp goals before Sri Lanka were again able to capitalise on basic errors and missed shots to put on another 5 goal run, giving them an 8 goal lead at quarter time, 6-14.
The second quarter saw Coach Yeo Mee Hong make multiple changes to her side. GA Rachel Leong, who had been the rock for the attack in previous matches, was replaced with Pei Qin. Dian Chew was moved to GS while Yi Lun to WA and Anna Soo to C. These meant a re-organisation of the back end with Melody Teo going to GK and Christina Teng to WD. While the changes had little effect in defence as this combination carried on from the first quarter combination of making numerous interceptions and shutting down the Sri Lankan leads repeatedly; the attack stumbled with players not sticking to game plans and running blindly into each other. But Singapore kept fighting, getting the difference to 6 before Sri Lanka scored the last 3 goals of the quarter to lead by 9 at half time.
Singapore really doesn’t welcome the breaks as they had a slow commence in the third quarter again, conceding 4 out of the first 5 goals scored. However, Singapore improved gradually with the re-introduction of Suhailah at WA and moving back Yi Lun to C, allowing the attack end to find space and flow smoothly and hence, started to convert the many opportunities caused by their full-blooded 7 person defensive effort. If only they were rewarded more frequently, for their defence were obstructed by the umpires calling the many held balls.
With much cheering and screaming from the small crowd of Singapore supporters and several of the other teams, Singapore scored 9 out of the last 11 goals of the quarter, giving themselves a real chance in the last quarter, even though Sri Lanka went into the last leading 35-30.
In the fourth and final quarter, Singapore flew out of the break to score 6 goals to Sri Lanka’s 1 in the opening five minutes! This meant we had a real fight and chance with the scores level and 10 minutes left! If only we could get one more break and then the Sri Lankans would have to find something to pull themselves back out. However, the next 10 centre passes were (sometimes eventually) scored by the team taking the centre pass which meant Singapore were still in catch up mode, having to score from their centre pass to ensure the game stayed even.
With all players on court just about at a standstill from the torrid efforts, they had put in the break which resulted from an error made by Singapore giving the Sri Lankans a 2 goal lead and their centre pass that they duly scored giving them a 3 goal buffer. Singapore tried everything and again, some luck in defence was not forthcoming. Sri Lanka found their composure for the final 2 minutes to ensure they kept the match at bay from the Singaporeans and finally winning a thrilling, frustrating but thoroughly wonderful exhibition of skills, determination and athleticism from both teams (but more so for the Singapore girls), with a score of 46-44.
Best on court ~ Everyone. Particularly to Suhaliah, Shiqi, Melody and Christina.
In the other semi-final, Malaysia had an easy 66-33 win over an ever improving Thailand and enter into tomorrow’s grand final as warm favourites, especially after their 65-39 win over Sri Lanka on Day 1!
AYC Day 7: Singapore Vs. India (65-15)
18 July 2008, Friday – After enjoying the rest yesterday by completing a solid training session, watching Sri Lanka and then some girl powered shopping, Singapore were keen to get rid of any cobwebs and put on an impressive performance heading into their semi-final tomorrow!
Coach Yeo Mee Hong wanted to use the Indian match to finalise her line-ups for the semi and set some very explicit challenges for the team for this game.
As was to be expected, Singapore dominated each quarter except for the 2nd quarter, which was unable to complete 15 solid minutes of netball with basic errors, causing them to lose flow and concentration. With players rotating in and out of the game, everyone put in tremendous efforts at different times. And the only sour note was a knock taken by GS Diana Chew in the 3rd quarter. However Physiotherapist Eunice Ee is confident she will be fine for tomorrow’s semi.
Defensively, the team is looking solid. Without a doubt, this will be imperative in tomorrow’s do or die effort with Sri Lanka!
AYC Day 5: Singapore Vs. Malaysia (39-51)
16 July 2008, Wednesday – Before the first whistle, Singapore was unsure of their starting line with a foot injury putting in-form GK Teng in doubt. Melody Teo was on alert but the injury did not stop her from starting.
The first 5 minutes was frantic with both teams working to get the upper hand. The game was typical of previous matches where both sides were going hard for the ball and no-one prepared to give sides. At quarter time, Singapore’s Shiqi has kept Singapore in game with numerous intercepts. Our shooters need to convert opportunities.
In the Quarter 2, things didn’t commence well with no cohesion in the attacking line for Singapore. Malaysia’s high ball delivery to GS Aruna, who is on target, make the score jump to 17-8. A late rally again lead by Singapore’s defenders saw them on a roll with 4 or 5 in a row. Malaysia’s WD warning for continual obstructions helped a little in closing minutes. However, there is lots of work to do for 2nd half and the coaches will experiment with some changes.
They say that the third quarter is the championship quarter. Today, it was the opportunity quarter for many of the Singapore 21’s. An early rally saw them close the gap to 8. Unfortunately, after that, missed shots cost the team again, allowing Malaysia to rally and extend the lead to 32-20 with 7 minutes to go. Injury time was given to Captain Shiqi but she recovered to complete the quarter. Basics errors on the catch, passing into hands and standing still allowed Malaysia to further extend their lead to 17, despite the efforts of Povaneswari and Shiqi.
Last quarter displayed spirit from all on court, particularly from all 3 defenders who were able to turn over numerous ball as well as the shooters – Chew, who shot 11/12 and Leong, who shot 6/6. Singapore’s attacking flaws were however, exposed by a well drilled Malaysia defense. In winning the last quarter by 5 goals, Singapore can take some positives into their next matches.
During today’s team meeting before the match, two outlines were discussed. But both came down to the same result. However, it is not the end that Singapore has lost. Singapore still has India to play in 2 days time; Singapore get to enjoy a rest day tomorrow after playing 5 games straight. After which, will be a semi-final, most likely against an improving Sri Lanka and then a grand finals against Malaysia. The team will study the videos of both Sri Lanka and Malaysia and work on improving their game plan for the next matches. Singapore still positively have 12 fit and healthy players to choose from! Go 21s
AYC Day 4: Singapore Vs. Chinese Taipei (79-21)
15 July 2008, Tuesday – Singapore completed a comprehensive victory over Chinese Taipei, winning each quarter by an average of 12 goals! Although several players are getting their first taste of the AYC competition, all were keen to show that they were ready for an opportunity and that Coach Yeo Mee Hong could call upon them with several tough games coming to Singapore’s schedule soon.
The first quarter commenced well with Singapore scoring the first 3 goals, however, Chinese Taipei were working hard and showing good team work. At WD, Christina Teng was a continual thorn in Chinese Taipei’s side, slowing their play and causing them to make numerous handling and footwork errors. At Centre, Grala Teo was everywhere, providing a good link in attacking between the defence and shooters, while popping up in defense to disrupt the opponent’s flow. At the end of the first quarter, Singapore led 23-6.
The start of the 2nd quarter was much more even, with Singapore allowing Chinese Taipei to stay in the quarter through a loss in concentration and focus on the job at hand. As a result, the team’s goal for the quarter was not up to expectation, however, several attacking plays were experimented. This gave the players confidence in trying new things.
During the half time, Suhailah rested and a re-shuffle of attack end with Pei Qin brought onto the shooters, shifting Diana to GA and Amanda to WA. While at the defense end, Singapore’s best on court, Teng , was moved to GK with Povan to GD and Melody Teo to WD. These changes brought new life to Singapore; in particular Pei Qin was strong in movement and found her shooting range quickly, scoring 13 for the quarter.
The fourth quarter was more of the same for Singapore. Even though they had taken their foot off the accelerator, they were still able to win the quarter convincingly. Teng was again instrumental in denying Chinese Taipei shooters ball. Povan and Teo worked tirelessly picking up many intercepts. As a result, Singapore concluded the final quarter and won the entire match with a score of 79-21!
Tomorrow, Singapore faces their toughest opponent, also the undefeated Malaysian Team. With both teams knowing each other’s play and tactics well through their matches during the NSL and both coaches having a good understanding of what the other team is capable of, Singapore are keen to reverse the results of NSL and finish the rounds of AYC undefeated and most of all, in the first place! Coach Yeo Mee Hong believes the National 21 and under needs to ensure that they see the floating Malaysian defence and will need two options in attack. While in defense, pressure applied full court will be absolutely necessary to cut the delivery to their spear, GS Aruna Santhappan. The game commences at 3pm. All the best Singapore!
Best on court ~ Christina Teng and Grala Teo.
AYC Day 3: Singapore Vs. Hong Kong (55-19)
14 July 2008, Monday – The first quarter started poorly with mistakes from both teams especially those who were playing in their first AYC match. Singapore was the first to settle, obtaining an early 4 goal lead. However, Hong Kong displayed good fighting spirit, and along with the home crowd vocal support, they clawed their way back to level the scores. The quarter saw neither team grab the initiative which was reflected in the low 9-6 score at the break.
Coach Yeo made multiple changes for the 2nd bringing on Diana Chew at GS and Rachel Leong at GA while moving Yi Lun to C and injecting Suhailah to WA. In the defence end, Christina replaced Melody after recovering from an accidental poke in the eye in the first quarter. These changes had immediate effect with Singapore finding space and flow particularly due to the work of Diana and Rachel. The defensive combination also proved too tough for Hong Kong allowing them to score only 2 goals for the quarter. With ample shoots, situation improved tremendously and pace was picked up. At half time, Singapore led by 27-7!
Without any changes to Singapore line-up going into the third, the expectation was that they would truly grab the victory. However, to Hong Kong’s credit, they sniggle the young Singaporeans into errors and caused them to lose the flow of their attacking game. Errors and fatigue was also drifting into the Singapore’s defence with many penalties being conceded for contact allowing Hong Kong to draw the quarter 9-9. Singapore led 36 -16 at three quarter time.
The fourth quarter again saw no changes for Singapore. But the game was back to the flow and concentration of Singapore in the 2nd quarter, allowing Singapore to triumph 53-19! Best on court in rather fluctuating efforts were Rachel Leong, Diana Chew and Captain Ang Shiqi while Anna Soo was again very prominent in defence and attack. Even though many believed Singapore would win easily, both the Sri Lankan and Malaysia teams were on hand to watch the game.
Tomorrow, Singapore shall compete against Chinese Taipei before the clash of what should be the two undefeated teams(Singapore and Malaysia) on Wednesday!
Best on court ~ Ang Shiqi, Diana Chew, Rachel Leong and Anna Soo.
AYC Day 2: Singapore Vs. Sri Lanka (44-41)
13 July 2008, Sunday – It was an extremely tight game. Singapore was able to come from behind in the last quarter to achieve a well-deserved win over Sri Lanka 44-41!
The game started poorly for Singapore, allowing the Sri Lankans to get a four goal lead in the opening minutes, after which, Singapore clawed their way back with strong defenses and struck a good finishing from both shooters. This patter was to re-emerge throughout the game with Singaporean commencing badly at the beginning of each quarter or after an injury time allowing Sri Lanka to gain confidence and the lead before the Singapore team lead by Captain Ang Shiqi made the necessary in roads to re capture or make a very positive indent in to the lead.
The Sri Lankan vice captain and goal keeper, Jayawardena caused havoc for Singapore’s feeder throughout the match time again leaving the circle to inflict timely intercepts and body clashes on the Singapore feeders.
The game seesawed throughout. Just when one team seemed to get the upper hand, the other fought back through tenacious defense! Both Melody Teo and Christina Teng from Singapore played vital roles in closing down the Sri Lanka shooter, but also took intercepts outside the goal circle.
With Singapore down 2 goals going into the last quarter, Teng was re-introduced to GK. However, Singapore started slower than their counterparts with errors from the feeders putting the defensive game of Singapore under pressure once again. Fortunately, as Ang headed down throughout the game, she was able to repel the Sri Lankans, and at one stage, obtaining 3 intercepts in a row only to see all (except the last come back from an attacking error). Singapore was leading by 3 and 3 minutes to Sri Lanka took an injury timeout! This angina caused the young Singapore team to lose their concentration and Sri Lanka scored the first 3 goals after the game recommenced, to tie it up at 39 all. However, a match turning intercept by Teng followed by Singapore forcing a held ball on the Sri Lankans centre pass gave the Singaporeans enough momentum to finish the match ahead by 44-41. Well done Singapore!
Best on court ~ Ang Shiqi and Rachel Leong.
AYC Day 1: Singapore Vs. Thailand (58-30)
12 July 2008, Saturday – The opening minutes saw numerous errors from both teams. However, as the nerves settled, Singapore jumped into a five goal lead. Attacking mistakes made by Singapore kept Thailand in the quarter but a strong defence display stopped them from taking advantage of the ball Singapore turned over. Hence, Singapore led 15-6 at the first quarter.
Things remain the same for the start of the 2nd quarter but Coach Yeo Mee Hong would have been anticipating her players for a more disciplined attacking effort, particularly an adjustment to the many stepping calls the team had in the first quarter. Even though Singapore easily won the second quarter by 6 goals sloppy attacking play and a lack of flow (not assisted by the non-usage of the advantage call) stop Singapore from taking a more commanding half time lead.
Going into the 3rd quarter Yeo bought Melody Teo to WD moving Soo to C, this changed the Singapore style slightly with more direct ball from Soo to the shooters but still Singapore were hampered by stepping calls. Singapore won the quarter 16-10 on the back of strong defence from Ang Shiqi, Christina Teng, Teo and Soo.
The last quarter saw Teo and Teng swap positions this again closed the Thailand shooters down allowing them only 6 goals for the quarter. However, Singapore attack still struggled with players not working with each other to open space.
Singapore won their first match, while not convincingly as it may have been 58-30, but more importantly the first is out of the way and they have plenty to improve on over the week ahead.
Best on court ~ Ang Shiqi and Rachel Leong.