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After a very tightly fought match, Botswana tipped Singapore to win their first game 42 – 38 on the second day of the Mission Foods Nations Cup 2016. The win gave Botswana (world number 19th) confidence ahead of the tough match against Papua New Guinea (world number 15th) on Day Three.
Singapore’s GS Charmaine Soh opened the match with the first goal less than one minute into the game. It was a close fight thereafter between Charmaine and Botswana’s GS Hildah Binang and GA Tumisang Bagidi before the Botswana team went on to win a succession of six goals, after Singapore scored her fourth. Singapore took back three goals toward the end but the Botswanans’ blizzard of goals gave them a 12 – 7 lead for the first quarter
In the second quarter, Singapore went on the offensive to score a series of three goals before Botswana fought back. It also saw the replacement of WA Zhang Ailin with Kimberly Lim, who helped convert several more balls in Singapore’s favour. A few misses by the Botswanans prevented them from achieving more leverage and both sides scored an equal number of 10 goals, with Botswana maintaining the lead with the same five goal difference from the first quarter at 22 – 17 before half time.
The game picked up speed after half time with Singapore increasing their intensity of attacks. It was a very close fight but the Botswanans managed a succession of four goals and were able to covert nine out of 11 of their goal attempts as compared to eight out of 14 for Singapore. The third quarter ended with Botswana increasing their lead to six points with a 31 – 25 score.
The fourth quarter saw a shuffle on the Singapore team, with GA Pamela Liew making way for Charmaine Soh who played GS for the first three quarters and Yu Mei Ling taking on the GS position. Singapore managed a five goal series with Botswana maintaining a tight defence. The last two minutes was super intense with deafening cheers from the crowd while the ball changed hands rapidly between the teams. Botswana eventually took home the last goal with a 42 – 38 win over Singapore.
Commenting on the team’s performance, Team Botswana GS Hildah Binang, said “The match was so intense, but we managed to win the game though they (Singapore) came back, we closed the margin. Singapore is a great team, they play a very good game so I’m very happy that we won today.”
“I think in the last quarter, our team really played well, and we were able to pull up the score quite a bit. Unfortunately we made many mistakes, especially in the first three quarters so the score was bit too far to pull back. Our strategy for this game was to first stay calm and go forward for all the balls. The opponents were pretty tall and big but we just need to make sure that we focus on getting the ball, aiming to goal, and to not hesitate with our passes,” said Singapore Vice-Captain, Charmaine Soh.
Singapore Team Coach, Ruth Aitken, commented on the team’s performance “It was a little bit too far to catch up in a very short time, but overall I think that our game today is actually better than yesterday. Early on we gave too much of the ball away by trying to play a little bit too fast, too soon. The last quarter was awesome and it was fantastic that Yu Mei Ling came on, since it’s the first quarter she played since the start of the games, and she was able to settle to her task pretty well and she added a calmness to the group.”
“For tomorrow, we would need to look at our warm up and our mental preparation to make sure we get the ground running. It’s about getting the confidence to know how much intensity we need to apply at the start, preparing ourselves mentally and physically.”
• Top scorer of game was Team Botswana GS Hildah Binang with 34 goals
• Singapore’s GS Yu Mei Ling converted 90% of her attempts to goals