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Singapore Cement Their Kingpin Status in Asia

Singapore finished 15th in their Netball World Cup campaign after triumphing over Sri Lanka

Singapore ended their Netball World Cup (NWC) campaign in the 15th position after disposing Sri Lanka 59-32 in the 15th/16th placing match.

Singapore enjoyed two wins out of eight matches in the gruelling 10-day NWC2015 campaign, with both wins coming out of matches against Asian rivals, Sri Lanka. Singapore beat Sri Lanka 56-43 in the opening day and put up a stronger performance in the placing match to cement their kingpin status in Asia.

Singapore named an unchanged line-up from the team that beat Sri Lanka 56-43 in the opening game whereas Sri Lanka made four changes. Notably missing from Sri Lanka’s line-up is their Captain, Semini Alwis, who is likely nursing an injury.

It was all or nothing as both teams gave their all from the start of the game. The game proceeded on at a fast pace and but it was Singapore who looked the stronger team. Singapore’s defensive force picked up eight intercepts and deflections that were converted successfully. Charmaine Soh slotted in the penalty shot in the last second of the first quarter putting the score at 16-8.

Singapore raised the defensive pressure on Sri Lanka and Chen Li Li and Micky Lin combined well in the circle to create problems for Sri Lanka’s attackers. Singapore stormed to a 13-2 lead after 9 minutes into the 2nd quarter, putting the score at 29-10. Sri Lanka called for time-out but to no avail as Singapore continued their fine performance, winning the quarter 20-4 and putting the score at 36-12. The shooting duo of Charmaine Soh and Chen Huifen netted 20 goals out of 22 attempts, with the shooting accuracy at 91%.

The Singapore bench looked visibly more relaxed and they were all smiles during the half time. Singapore made two changes and Olivia Flanagan and Pamela Liew came in for the 2nd half. Sri Lanka also made changes to their side, moving Darshika Abeywickrama from Goal Keeper to Goal Attack. Sri Lanka looked more composed and confident in the 2nd half and were neck-to-neck with Singapore until Singapore’s new combination settled into their play. The 3rd quarter score stood at 49-21.

Except for Ang Shiqi who was nursing an ankle injury, all other Singapore players got on court and played their last game of the NWC2015 campaign. Sri Lanka played an improved quarter, winning the quarter 11-10 but it was too little too late. Singapore won convincingly, and the score ended 59-32.

Head Coach, Ruth Aitken was pleased with the performance by her charges, “I think we actually relaxed and play our own game today, which was nice. It was a shame that we didn’t do this earlier. I thought our intensity was really good, especially on attack and Sri Lanka struggled to keep up with. Especially our forward quarter, I thought we played some lovely netball and defensively, I thought Li Li really stepped up which was great. In the first half, the pressure was really outstanding.”

Captain Micky Lin added, “I think the spirits are high although we had consecutive loses in the past few games. We were a bit disappointed with the results from the part few games but I thought the girls picked up well and came into the game with the right mindset. It is challenging to play 8 games over 10 days and so body management is very important. I think the Sri Lanka side had some injuries too and they are not fielding the main line but having said that I thought everyone that came on court for us played very well. There are patches that went a bit wild at times but we managed to pull it together and it’s effected in the score line as well.”

On why Singapore played well against Sri Lanka but not against the other teams, Aitken said, “I just think it’s familiarity of playing Sri Lanka and the players have the confidence to know that they can do it and maybe what happened in the other games when they struggled to establish or execute their game plan, they haven’t had enough experience to overcome the other styles. I felt that we still did not play to our best. We did at times but at games which really mattered, we didn’t but we could have made a difference. The 4th quarter against Samoa was very disappointing and the Zambia game, I thought we just didn’t fire at all and I thought we can play better against them.”

“We are fit in Asia but in the other international games, we need to be stronger and to be able to sustain the intensity and knocks a bit more. We need to look at getting the 3rd gym session in the week. Out girls do not come with the bulk unlike the other ethnic groups which they already have an advantage over so we need to build it. I don’t think we are far away (from the other international teams) but we could have been better with what we brought. I think we could be better. I felt we could have pushed some teams and stood up to a bit more. It’s about confidence and backing ourselves. I think it’s a mental approach as much as a physical approach and we just need to toughen up and more exposure would be better,” added Aitken.

 

On how Singapore can improve for the world stage, Lin said “We are quite comfortable in the Asian region. It’s about stepping up and that’s the whole idea of the Nations Cup, inviting countries around our ranking from different regions. I think we can try to have more games against the African nations, as it’s the playing style that we are not very comfortable with.  And also having more playing opportunities.”

Singapore’s A team consisting of other National squad players will play the netball team from the Hong Kong Football Club, which is hugely made up of expatriate players from New Zealand and Australia, in September in Hong Kong and players keen to make the Nations Cup team will get the chance to impress Aitken.

Aitken is already looking ahead to the Netball Nations Cup and Singapore is looking to tour Botswana in November before the Nations Cup takes place from 13-19 December 2015.

Meanwhile, the action continues at the NWC2015 with the bronze medal match between England and Jamaica at the Allphones Arena to be played at 1.10pm (11.10am Singapore time) and the gold medal match between New Zealand and Australia to be played at 3.20pm (1.20pm Singapore time) today.

 

Starting Line-ups

Singapore

GS CHARMAINE SOH

GA CHEN HUIFEN (VICE-CAPT)

WA KIMBERLY LIM

C NURUL BAIZURA (VICE-CAPT)

WD PREMILA HIRUBALAN

GD LIN QINGYI (CAPT)

GK CHEN LI LI

Sri Lanka

GS THISHALA ALGAMA

GA HASITHA MENDIS

WA THILINI WATHTHEGEDARA

C DEEPIKA ABEYKOON

WD SUREKA KUMARI GAMAGE

GD GAYANI DISSANAYAKA (VICE-CAPT)

GK DARSHIKA ABEYWICKRAMA

 

Quarter Results (Singapore v Sri Lanka)

1st Quarter 16-8

2nd Quarter 35-12 (20-4)

3rd Quarter 49-21 (13-9)

4th Quarter 59-32 (10-11)

 

Shooting Accuracy

Sri Lanka (Overall: 78%)

Thishala Algama 11/13 (85%)

Hasitha Mendis 15/19 (79%)

Darshika Abeywickrama 6/9 (67%)

Singapore (Overall: 74%)

Charmaine Soh 41/50 (82%)

Chen Huifen 8/11 (73%)

Yu Mei Ling 5/8 (63%)

Pamela Liew 5/11 (45%)

 

Singapore’s Past Results and Upcoming Fixtures

Preliminary Round (Pool C)

7 August, 11.50am: Singapore vs Sri Lanka (56-43)

8 August, 5.20pm: South Africa vs Singapore (69-21)

9 August, 6.20pm: Malawi vs Singapore (75-31)

Qualification Round (Pool G)

11 August, 10.20am: Samoa vs Singapore (39-46)

12 August, 10.20am: Trinidad & Tobago vs Singapore (75-32)

14 August, 2.20pm: Singapore vs Zambia (36-67)

Playoff Match

15 August, 10.00am: Barbados vs Singapore (56-39)

15th/16th Placing Match

16 August, 10.50am: Singapore vs Sri Lanka (59-32)

 

Final NWC2015 Rankings

Gold Australia

Silver New Zealand

Bronze England

4th Jamaica

5th South Africa

6th Malawi

7th Wales

8th Uganda

9th Trinidad & Tobago

10th Samoa

11th Fiji

12th Scotland

13th Barbados

14th Zambia

15th Singapore

16th Sri Lanka