Netballers learn their lesson fast
Netballers quick off the blocks in impressive win over Canada
A slow start in their match against Botswana on Monday resulted in a first loss for Singapore in the Mission Foods Nations Cup.
National coach Ruth Atiken promised to work on the weakness and the netballers answered her call in their match against Canada yesterday.
World No. 17 Singapore stormed to a 20-8 lead in the first quarter and grew from strength to strength as they earned an impressive 62-26 win over the 18th-ranked Canada at the OCBC Arena.
"It probably took us only a couple of minutes to settle in, but I'm greedy and I want them to get out of the starting blocks even earlier," said New Zealander Aitken.
"It was lovely to have the win today... we made a lot of changes throughout the game, but it was great to get all the players out on the court.
"Canada kept persisting and they never gave up.
"They had faced injury problems coming into the tournament but, despite that, they managed to make things difficult for us."
Aitken made four changes to the team who started against Botswana on Monday, handing starts to some of her second-stringers.
One of them was Yu Mei Ling, who scored the opening goal for Singapore and the hosts never looked back.
They piled on the pressure for the Canadians, finishing the first quarter with a healthy 12-point lead.
The Republic went on to stamp their authority in front of an 1,198-strong crowd, breezing through the second (15-6) and third (11-6) quarters.
Yu starred for the hosts when she scored 34 out of her 44 attempts at goal, after veteran Charmaine Soh was shifted to goal attack.
"I felt that we did relatively well today, we had a good warm-up and that led to a good performance in the game," said 25-year-old Yu.
"We had worked on our short passes to be sharper and also practised on immediately putting up the shots when we got into the circle.
"Thankfully, we carried out our game plan well right from the start and everything worked out."
The strong attack was supported by a tight defence marshalled by youngsters Nur Aqilah and Shina Teo.
The duo made decisive interceptions to nullify Canada's attack.
"Initially, I was quite quiet when I joined the team but, over the year we trained together after the SEA Games, I managed to gel with the team and I'm rather comfortable with them now," said the 20-year-old Shina, who has 11 caps.
"Being comfortable with my teammates definitely helps out in terms of strategy and we were able to play off each other better to make the defensive plays."
Bigger tests await Singapore as they face in-form Papua New Guinea (PNG) tonight and undefeated Zambia tomorrow.
Only the top two will progress to the final on Saturday.
"If we want to be there in the final, we will need to push through our game tomorrow," said Aitken.
"I think the PNG team are very strong physically, and so we will have to match up with our determination."
- PNG 51 Botswana 40
- Zambia 58 Ireland 26.
- 3pm: Ireland v Botswana
- 5pm: Zambia v Canada
- 7pm: PNG v Singapore
* All matches at the OCBC Arena