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SINGAPORE, 2 September 2018 – Day 2 of the M1 Asian Netball Championships saw Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Singapore and Hong Kong put in winning performances to assert their title credentials.
Malaysia followed up their victory over Japan yesterday with a convincing 74-13 win over the Maldives. Despite a spirted start by the islanders, Malaysia pushed on strongly throughout the game and look to be a strong contender to retain their Asian Netball Championships crown from 2016. However, it was a below-average shooting percentage from the team, and will be a key focus for the team as they as they move towards the next round of games where they will meet rivals Singapore and Sri Lanka.
Malaysia Coach Kon Lee said: “I changed the combinations a bit to let everyone have a run on court today. The real task is going to be the day after next. After the first quarter, I told them to settle down and to not get too rattled up by the pushing and shoving and to just concentrate on their shots. I think our movement and passing needs to be sharper. We have to be stronger too, and work on our timing.”
In the second match of the day, Sri Lanka came out convincing winners over rivals India, boasting a 101-29 score-line. The height of Tharjini Sivalingam was certainly a factor, as the 2.06m-tall Goal Shooter sunk in 51 goals from 57 attempts, with a 89% shooting percentage. Sri Lanka last won the tournament back in 2009, but will fancy their chances based on the form they have shown in the opening stages of the M1 Asian Netball Championships.
Sri Lanka coach Thilaka Jinadasa commented: “We are very confident as all these years we’ve been doing well in the Asian Netball Championships. The advantage we have is that Tharjini is back on the team after four years, so we have a better chance of winning this year. We also have consistency – whoever I put on the court can play whatever we have practiced and we have a strong set up on court.’
‘I think we need to work more on our defensive line. It’s hard to do that against teams like India and Chinese Taipei, but when we play against an experienced team, it will be a different ball game.”
Singapore put in a strong performance to overwhelm an inexperienced Pakistan side in their second match of the M1 Asian Netball Championships, to take the win with a score line of 84-17.
It was a dominant first quarter from Team Singapore (26-2), who made several intercepts right from the get go, and brought the ball down to the attacking third with much ease for Goal Attack Toh Kai Wei and Goal Shooter Charmaine Soh to finish off.
The second quarter saw both Asian Netball Championships debutants Lee Pei Shan and Tan Xin Yi combine in the shooting circle, with Lee sinking in Singapore’s first four goals. Several missed shots from both Lee and Tan allowed Pakistan back into the quarter for a much tighter quarter scoreline of 15-9.
Veterans Nurul Baizura, Soh and Kimberly Lim combined well when they came back on court in the third quarter, racing out to a 6-0 lead. A much tighter defensive setup, together with slick passing and movement throughout the court, saw Singapore put up 21 goals while holding Pakistan to just three.
Toh was especially dominant when she was on as a Goal Attack in the fourth quarter, breaking through into the goal circle easily and even sinking a layup – something that’s rarely seen in a game of netball. It was a flawless shooting performance from Singapore, especially so in the first and final quarter, where Singapore notched a quarter shooting percentage of 96% and 92% respectively.
Singapore coach Natalie Milicich remarked: “I was pleased that we did what we spoke about – that when we made changes, that the changes come on strong. We also made sure we concentrated on the first 10 minutes of the quarter to be strong. We practiced using impact players today and I felt those players that came on did that. Also our conversion was very good today.”
In the final match of the day, Hong Kong ran out 65-38 winners against Thailand. With both a height and experience advantage, Hong Kong dominated the first two quarters of the match. Thailand closed the gap in the second half, narrowly losing the third (13-15) and fourth (9–14) quarters as Hong Kong slowed down but ultimately, it wasn’t enough.
With Hong Kong just needing a win over the Philippines tomorrow to secure the top spot in their group, they will value the stern test they received today.
Hong Kong Coach Robin Manihera said: “I was really happy with how they came out. They stuck to our game plan and worked through it. We probably just need to work on holding it for the last five minutes and keeping our focus. I think mentally they were strong and kept their cool and I really liked how they were adapting to the change. Full credit to Thailand though. I think Thailand played really bustling netball and when they got the ball, they sent it down the court straight away.”
Day 3 of the M1 Asian Netball Championships will see India take on Chinese Taipei at 1pm, followed by Hong Kong matching up against Philippines. Japan will battle it out with Maldives at 5pm, and the final game will be between Brunei and Pakistan at 7pm.