Singapore beat Sri Lanka 65-54 in netball’s Nations Cup to seal spot in final
Even as Singapore’s netballers recorded a 65-54 win over Sri Lanka at the Mirxes Nations Cup on Friday – their third victory over their Asian rivals in as many months – they knew that it was not their best showing.
With an in-form Papua New Guinea looming in today’s final, world No. 26 Singapore are looking to end on a high as they face the team who beat them in the opening match just six days ago.
Co-captain Toh Kai Wei said: “For the first game, we had a shaky start. What we want to do tomorrow is play a more calm and composed game, have simple netball, and just treasure every possession.
“That’s what we’ve been trying to do throughout the season.
“Coming up against Papua New Guinea tomorrow, we are more confident in executing whatever we want to show.”
Singapore had a positive start against world No. 20 Sri Lanka at the OCBC Arena, as errors by the South Asian side saw the clinical hosts race to a 15-7 lead.
But mistakes crept into Singapore’s game, giving the Sri Lankans a way back as they narrowed the deficit to 17-14 at the end of the first quarter.
It was a closely fought contest as the teams returned to the court but, with the scores tied at 23-23, Singapore pulled ahead to go into the break with a 32-27 advantage.
Sri Lanka kept the pressure in the third quarter as they scored 12 goals to the hosts’ 13 to go into the final 15 minutes with the score at 45-39.
But Singapore seized control of the match to comfortably seal their place in the final.
The Papuans, who have the services of six Australia-based players, beat Cook Islands 58-46 on Friday.
They are top of the standings with 10 points after winning all five matches. Singapore are second with eight points, with their sole defeat coming against them (52-50).
Singapore coach Annette Bishop was proud of how her charges performed against the Sri Lankans and is confident they will be able to hold their own against Papua New Guinea in today’s final (4pm).
She said: “We had good patches – we got into a seven-goal lead in the first quarter and then we let Sri Lanka back in through silly errors that were costly for us and it became a hard slog.
“We always knew it was going to be hard against Sri Lanka...
“We’ll do the recovery and talk through the first game we had against Papua New Guinea.
“I’m really proud of the girls, even right across this week... We fought back and didn’t let that lead go, so that was positive.”
Papua New Guinea’s Yves Angelina Maree Chee is hoping for a repeat of Sunday’s win, saying: “It’s about taking what we did in the first game... we had a big lead, so we really want to keep it instead of losing it like in that fourth quarter.
“It’s been a long tournament but we’re getting towards the end and we really want to finish it off with a bang.”