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Singapore tipped off their Mission Foods Nations Cup 2016 campaign in confident fashion as they beat opposition Ireland 52 – 37 in what was a tightly contested affair.
Team Ireland got off to a strong start as they took the lead but lasted only for the first five minutes as Singapore stormed back from a good run to tie the game at 10 – 10. Singapore then picked up their game to eventually edge the first quarter 14 – 10.
The second quarter began very much like the first, with both teams putting on impressive offensive displays as they scored 19 goals altogether. The game was certainly one for the neutrals as Soh and Duffy shot impressive averages of 9 goals to keep spectators on the edge of their seats. Despite Team Ireland leading in the second quarter, Team Singapore had the better of the first half and led at the mid-way point with 23 – 20.
In the third quarter Ireland aimed to build on their lead through star performers Duffy and Owens, but could not find the same rhythm, as Nurul, Lim and Lee put on an organised and inspired defensive display to limit the visitor’s goal scoring opportunities. Despite both defences playing at the top of their game, Singapore found the edge through veteran forward Charmaine gaining a 35 – 30 lead.
Both teams seemed motivated as they came out for the final quarter, with Ireland in relentless pursuit of each ball, successfully narrowing the gap just within 10 minutes of the quarter. Even after putting up a strong fight by Ireland, Singapore widens the gap with a lead point of more than half in the final quarter and winning the game with a score of 52 – 37.
Throughout the tightly contested affair, players from both teams showed tenacity and good skill, setting the pace for an exciting six days of action.
Coach of Team Ireland, Joan Young
“I’m very pleased with Ireland’s performance today. I’ve got novices playing in their first international game. We managed to get three of the four (novices) on the court, and for three quarters of the game, we were very competitive.”
“Their biggest problem today was that they are a new squad, and they are not very familiar with each other, and not always aware of where their teammates were. Obviously that’s a critical element of playing a good game of netball. Their vision was limited at times, but for me, that’s part and parcel of getting to know your new teammates.”
Coach of Team Singapore, Ruth Aitken
“I thought it was a bit of a nervous start. Obviously, everyone is very excited about playing at home but once we got our rhythm, we finished off very well. Ireland’s defence played really well, so we had to change the angle of our attack. We had to keep things moving and finally got good speed in the last quarter, and that really made the difference. All the teams have had a few changes, but I think it is going to be very close and this will present challenges for the new teams.”
• Zhang Ailin came on in the third quarter to make her debut
• Singapore scored 64 of total attempts
• Team Singapore remained in the lead despite Team Ireland leading in the second quarter
• The biggest lead in the match 7 points in the final quarter