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Fast and fantastic netball at the Nations Cup

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Day Two of Nations Cup and Singapore win again!

Credit: Netball Singapore

The second day of Nations Cup action in Singapore had the crowds entertained once more with three thrilling games of netball showing the flare and finesse of all the continents.

First on court were Sri Lanka and the USA who were meeting for the first time and who had a reversal of fortunes from their opening matches yesterday, with Sri Lanka coming out on top this time with a 67-37 victory.

The Americans played a few gears slower than their opponents and once Sri Lanka had settled into their stride, they took full advantage by playing at a higher tempo and stretching ahead for a 35-20 halftime advantage.

The second half followed a similar pattern and a third quarter injury to USA Goal Attack Swasha Perkins (which forced her to retire from the game), upset the Americans further and they continued to chase the score line until the final whistle. Sri Lanka looked to have improved from their opening defeat at the hands of PNG last night with confident play across the court and the ever reliable Tharjini Sivalingam on form in the shooting circle.

USA Coach, Kevin Nickie, said, "It was difficult, we started well but then started playing their game. We need to work on our defence from start to finish and we can do well against Ireland tomorrow."

Sri Lankan Coach, Somitha De Alwis, felt her team played better on day one against PNG despite picking up a victory today. She explained, "Yesterday was a better game for us, we gave them a good fight. USA was not up to the standard of PNG so we knew we could beat them. Our shooting is very strong. With our shooter we can win all the matches. If we give it to her hand then she can score."

There will be an all-Asian battle tomorrow night as Sri Lanka play Singapore following a matchup between USA and Ireland. Sri Lanka is ready for a close encounter.

De Alwis added, "We will have a good fight against our Asian rivals. This will be a good test ahead of the Asian Championships next year. This is very important preparation and we want experience of fighting against them and winning so tomorrow is important for both teams."

Uganda made their debut in the Nations Cup in the second match of the day against the Republic of Ireland. Uganda had to forfeit their opener against the USA yesterday after failing to arrive on time so they were eager to make up for lost time and started strongly taking a 17-25 lead at half time.

The African side are small in stature other than their towering Goal Shooter and Captain Proscovia Peace, but they moved the ball with pace and accuracy across the court and the Irish were struggling to match the speed of play and passing. Genevieve Slater- Goal Keeper for Ireland - worked hard to block out Peace while at the other end, shooter Jane Hymes hustled for every lost ball in an attempt to win back the ball when one too many passes went astray.

The Irish performance in the third quarter was stronger and more controlled and they lost that period by a single goal but in the final quarter Uganda held their positions well, upped the tempo once again and saw out the match comfortably 41-54.

Peace was delighted to get off to a winning start saying, "I feel so happy for the team. Our teamwork was very good today and we are going to push it all the way to the finals."

Niamh Murphy, Captain of Ireland can take many positives from their second game. She said, "We were pleased with our performance in a tough game. The height of their goal shooter was a real challenge but we were quite equal across the rest of the court. We will definitely have to come up with a new strategy for tall shooters as we will face that problem against Sri Lanka too. Other than that we did what we set out to do so hopefully we can get a win tomorrow."

The crowds stayed glued to their seats for the final match of the day - Singapore versus Papua New Guinea, both teams with one win under their belts.

PNG are familiar to Singapore having played in the Nations Cup on three previous occasions (winning in 2008) and the 21&U sides also met recently in Glasgow for the World Youth Championships and played twice - one win each - so it was also going to be a tough contest.

The opening quarter was fast and frantic, end to end, goal-for-goal (12-13) and the second period was much of the same, going to the break with nothing to separate them 23 goals each.

The crowd loved the intensity on court and Singapore was holding their own against the highest ranked team in the competition in a very physical match.

Olivia Flanagan was instrumental once again in raising the tempo of the Singapore game -firstly as Wing Defence then moving back into her more familiar role of Goal Defence – and making crucial interceptions, linking well with mid-court players Baizura and Aqilah Andin.

Maleeta Roberts and Tiata Baldwin were a strong force for PNG in their shooting circle and gained a slight advantage in the final period which had the home support fixated on the court. But Singapore stayed focused and took control when it mattered to nudge ahead in the dying seconds and win 44-43.

Flanagan was overwhelmed with the support today. She said, "I am loving every minute of it. The crowd were amazing when we scored and they really spurred us on to get another one. The defence worked really well with the attack today. We were less nervous and it really flowed much easier and we could pick up the balls and make those turnovers."

Coach Ruth Aitken feels the team are on track. She said, "It was so intense, right from the first whistle. I am so proud of my girls. That is what we hoped for and I am really pleased that we took a big step up from what we did yesterday. They played the way that they can and defensively we got some great turnovers."

Looking ahead to the Asian clash against Sri Lanka tomorrow Aitken added, "We will jump our hearts out tomorrow but most the important thing right now is how we recover after today's physical match."

The action continues tomorrow.


For more information on Netball Singapore, log onto:
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Twitter: Netball_SG

Sri Lanka 67-37 USA (HT 35-20)
Republic of Ireland 41-54 Uganda (HT 17-25)
Singapore 44-43 Papua New Guinea (HT 23-23)

Singapore 42-31 Republic of Ireland (HT 22-15)
Sri Lanka 52-76 Papua New Guinea (HT 30-38)
Singapore 'A' 50-53 United States of America (HT 21-31)


Date Time Fixtures
3rd December
3.00pm Uganda V Papua New Guinea
5.00pm USA V Rep of Ireland
7.00pm Singapore V Sri Lanka

4th December
3.00pm Papua New Guinea V USA
5.00pm Rep of Ireland V Sri Lanka
7.00pm Uganda V Singapore

5th December
Off Day

6th December
3.00pm Papua New Guinea V Rep of Ireland
5.00pm Sri Lanka V Uganda
7.00pm USA V Singapore

7th December
1.00pm 5th V 6th
3.00pm 3rd V 4th
5.00pm 1st V 2nd
6.30pm Closing Ceremony

Current World Rankings (as of 4th Nov 2013)
Papua New Guinea - 18th
Republic of Ireland - 28th
Singapore - 21st
Sri Lanka - 23rd
Uganda - (No world ranking currently due to lack of international exposure)
United States of America - 19th

About Netball Singapore:
Netball Singapore is the national body for netball in Singapore. This well-established organisation has progressed dramatically since it commenced in 1962. It has become a professionally run National Sport Association which generates a proportion of its expenditure through sponsorship and other streams of revenue-generation. The association supports 68 multi-team club members and over 330 schools have netball in their curriculum.

Netball Singapore’s mission is to encourage, promote and develop netball in Singapore. Singapore successfully hosted the World Netball Championships in July 2011 and has been awarded the rights to host the Asian Netball Championships in 2014. The National Team are currently ranked 21st in the World following their success at the 2012 Asian Championships where they were crowned champions for the second time in their history.

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Live Better Through Sport - Sport Singapore recognises the value of sport in advancing the national priorities of developing our people and bonding our communities.


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3 Stadium Drive, Singapore 397630