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M1ANC2018: Sri Lanka the team to beat at M1 Asian Netball Championships

Hong Kong edge Singapore in 50-49 thriller

SINGAPORE, 5 September 2018 – Sri Lanka remain the only undefeated team in the M1 Asian Netball Championships following their 62-59 win over Malaysia. Meanwhile, Hong Kong came out on top against Singapore by a single goal (50-49) in the final fixture of Day 5 of the tournament.

Malaysia vs. Sri Lanka

It was a spirited showing from Malaysia early on with young Goal Attack Karishma Loganathan taking the shooting lead in the circle and putting up 7 out of her 8 attempts at goal. Malaysia’s defence piled the pressure on Sri Lanka’s midfield, forcing a number of passing errors into Sri Lanka’s Tharjini Sivalingam to take a slender 15-13 first quarter lead.

An early missed shot and passing error from Malaysia saw Sri Lanka jump to a 5-0 second quarter lead early on. However Malaysia came back into the game to tie the quarter at 8-8, but poor shooting saw Sri Lanka surge to a 7-goal lead in the second quarter (19-12).

It was a tightly contested third quarter (16-15) where Sri Lanka’s towering defenders Chathurangi Jayasooriya and Gayani Dissanayake made crucial intercepts and tips for Sri Lanka to edge it. Thereafter, it was an exhilarating final quarter of netball as Malaysia battled hard to narrow the scoreline to as close as 2 goals in the final minute of the game. However, it was too little too late with Sri Lanka taking the win by 3 goals.

As we head towards the last few games of the M1 Asian Netball Championships, Sri Lanka coach Thilaka Jindadasa said: “We need to be calm on court, take a long breath when we make a mistake, and then just play on. We’ll just go step by step. Tomorrow, we have the match against Hong Kong and they will be very tough as they have very experienced players on court.”

Singapore vs. Hong Kong

It was a shaky start for Singapore as they found it hard to break through Hong Kong’s midcourt press and strong man-on defence, which saw the hosts go down by 5 goals.

Chen Lili came on in the second quarter in a bid to stop Hong Kong’s towering Goal Shooter Krystle Edwards and managed to do just that – deflecting and intercepting several passes to Edwards. It was a low scoring second quarter with the ball swinging back and forth on multiple occasions, ending all square at 10-10.

Singapore’s Wing Attack Kimberly Lim fought especially hard in the third quarter, driving strongly to the circle edge and chasing hard for every loose ball. Despite the mistakes, Singapore managed to sneak the quarter by a single goal (11-10) after Toh Kai Wei sunk in the shot following a held ball from Hong Kong at the end.

Despite the strong comeback from Singapore in the final quarter, which saw the hosts take the quarter 13-10, it wasn’t enough to overcome a resilient Hong Kong team and allowed them to take the victory by just the one goal.

Of her team’s performance, Hong Kong coach Robin Manihera said: “They came on and we did what we had discussed with them – just staying and concentrating on our game, not getting flustered, sticking to the task, and they did all those things and remained focused.

Singapore captain Vanessa Lee said: “I think we didn’t capitalise on our own possession and whenever we had a turnover, we did rush it a little. So we lost our possession quite a bit today based on purely our own errors.’

‘I guess losing to Hong Kong by one goal, there are definitely emotions. I think it’s good that the team is feeling upset about this loss but we still have another game tomorrow so we have to bottle up whatever happens today, put it aside and look forward to tomorrow’s game against Malaysia.”

Chinese Taipei vs. Philippines

Chinese Taipei showed continued improvement in the first match of the day against Philippines. But despite putting up a good fight in the first and last quarters, the more experienced Philippines team came through convincingly with a 21-73 score line.

Looking ahead to their next game against Maldives, Philippines captain, Ana Thea Cenarosa said: “We will just play like how we did and be confident in our own game. We will bring our heart to the game to win the fight.”

Pakistan vs. Maldives

The next match of the day saw Maldives beat Pakistan 60-34, with a much improved shooting averaging of 88%. Pakistan weren’t able to contain Maldives’ strong through-court attack, and trailed in all four quarters.

Maldives player Aminath Rabaab Ibrahim commented on their next game against the Philippines: “For tomorrow, it will all rely on our teamwork and determination to win against them. We will never give up so it will be an exciting game.”

India vs. Thailand

Thailand got off to a strong start with a 16-goal lead in the first quarter against India. India rallied in the remaining three quarters to minimize Thailand’s advantage, but it wasn’t to be with Thailand going on to secure a 64-42 victory.

Thailand’s coach Chng Li Li commented on the team’s close scores in the final three quarters: “I played most of my new and younger players then as I wanted to give them exposure and allow them to experience and learn from their mistakes. This is the only chance I have to let them understand the game better.”

Brunei vs. Japan

In the fourth match of the day, Brunei won in all four quarters to take the win against Japan. Japan remained very much in the mix for the first two quarters but Brunei emerged stronger in the second half, ultimately triumphing 60-32.

Looking ahead to their next game against India, Brunei’s sharp shooter, with an 86% shooting percentage, Nur Hafizah Binte Haji Abdul Sidek said: “We cannot underestimate anyone. We are working on our defence and attack and we will keep on playing our game on court.”

It’s the final games of the second round tomorrow with India taking on Brunei at 9am, followed by Japan against Thailand. The third game of Day 6 sees Chinese Taipei and Pakistan battle it out for their first win of the tournament at 1pm, and Maldives and Philippines play at 3pm. Sri Lanka will look to extend their unbeaten run in the competition against Hong Kong, while Singapore will look to bounce back against causeway rivals Malaysia in the final game of the day at 7pm.