‘Magic’ opener for defending champions
The 14th edition of the Cheers Netball Super League (NSL) began on Saturday 9th March at Toa Payoh Sports Hall with the Magic Marlins, M1 Sunfish and Mission Mannas all getting off to a winning start.
To open proceedings, Guest of Honour Mr Victor Cheong, General Manager of Cheers wished all the players good luck and encouraged them to use this platform to show their talents and encourage others into the sport.
First match of the day was between reigning champions Magic Marlins and 2012 Runners-Up Blaze Dolphins. Both teams were eager to get the upper hand in their first meeting of the season and it was Magic Marlins who started the stronger of the two and held a 32-24 lead at half time.
There were many forced passes in the mid-court as over-eagerness and nerves got the better of both teams, which put added pressure on the shooters to make every shot count. Shooting for the Marlins, and working well together, were Yu Mei Ling (GS) who had a 91% shooting average (43 from 47) and Pamela Liew (GA) (76% - 25 from 33 shots)while at the other end it was Chen Hui Fen (GA) (100% - 5 from 5) and Natalie Long (GS) (83% - 50 from 60).
Liyana Noordin (WA) and Suhailah Kariman (C) looked more composed in the second half and linked well to help increase the Marlins lead it the third quarter. The Dolphins pulled back to take the fourth quarter 14-16 but it was too late to reverse the score-line and the opening victory of 68-55 went in favour of the Magic Marlins.
Captain of Blaze Dolphins, Wee Yi Zhen was happy with her teams overall performance saying, “We didn’t put any pressure on ourselves ahead of the match today. I think we got a bit over-excited at times as it’s our first match and we’ve not played together very much but we can work on this and improve for our next match next week.”
Co-Captain for Magic Marlins Grace Sim said, “We were confident going into the match today as we knew Blaze have a few new players while most of us have played together for quite some time but didn’t expect to win by such a margin.
“We tried to slow the game down and play our own way to ensure we could stay out in front. Blaze varied the pace and kept their momentum in the final quarter when perhaps got a bit complacent but we’ll work on that for our next match.”
Match two of Round One was an extremely close match between the Bedok Kings Vipers and M1 Sunfish.
M1 Sunfish - a team made up of the National 21 & Under players - settled into their rhythm quickly which ultimately gave them the victory. They looked calm and controlled which is thanks to their matches against the South African U21s last month and their recent Tour to Wales where the National 21&U squad played a tri-series against Wales and Scotland U21s.
They won the first quarter comfortably (7-14) but the Vipers settled soon after and won by second by a point (8-7) for a halftime score of 15-21. Sunfish then took the third by a single point (8-9) and in the final quarter the Vipers showed their real potential and determination, winning the period 12-10 but the damage had been done in the first 15 minutes to give M1 Sunfish a 35-40 win.
Final match of the day pitted the Mission Mannas against the Sneakers Stingrays in a fast-paced and frantic encounter.
Sneakers played very aggressively and fought for every ball chasing hard across the court to try and stop the Manna’s flow but they couldn’t prevent them taking a commanding halftime lead of 34-18.
Mannas Co-Captains joined up in defence (Wan Ling Toh, GD and Shiqi Ang, GK) and proved a formidable duo blocking the Sneakers shooting attempts on many occasions. In their attacking circle they paired up National players Cassandra and Charmaine Soh which proved very effective as they created spaces and scored 65 goals between them for a final score of 65-35.
Check out www.netball.org.sg for the remaining fixtures.
Magic Marlins 68-55 Blaze Dolphins (HT 32-24)
Bedok Kings Vipers 35-40 M1 Sunfish (HT 15-21)
Mission Mannas 65-35 Sneakers Stingrays (HT 34-18)
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