Natalie Long getting ready to shoot for Mission Mannas at the Cheers Netball Super League. Photo: Voxsports
The Cheers Netball Super League round robin concluded on the second weekend of May as the top four teams, Mission Mannas, Blaze Dolphins, Sneakers Stingrays and Magic Marlins booked their spots in the semi-final.
The semi-finals, to be played this Saturday, 17 May, will see the top two teams in the standings, Mannas and Dolphins (semi-final two) squaring off with the winner advancing direct to the Grand Final on 24 May.
But the losing team from that match has another opportunity to enter the Grand Final as they will be up against the winner of semi-final one - between third place Stingrays and Marlins.
The penultimate round of the league matches saw Dolphins and Vipers taking to the court in the morning.
With only a point separating the Dolphins (19) from Sneakers Stingrays and Magic Marlins (both on 18), they had to achieve a result to prevent either team from possibly overtaking them.
The incentive to win proved adequate, as the Dolphins led from start to finish to earn a 69-53 win over the Vipers and end on 22 points in the league.
“I think it was a tightly contested game, and it’s very high intensity as well, so overall it was a much better performance compared to the rest of the weeks,” said Micky Lin, captain of the Dolphins.
“I think it’s a good step up towards the finals, I think we had made less mistakes and we are a bit more steady and patient as compared to previous games.”
The second match was between Sunfish and Mannas. The latter managed to accomplish a draw that saw the Mannas remain on top of the league due to their superior goal difference despite sharing the same points as the Dolphins.
Ashya Haug of the Bedok Kings Vipers try to block Li Ling of Blaze Dolphins during a Cheers Netball Super League match. Photo: Voxsports
However, the Mannas were close to losing their top spot as M1 Sunfish gave the league leaders a tough fight even though the outcome had no impact on the Sunfish qualifying for the semi-finals.
Despite the Mannas enjoying a slight lead in the first half, the Sunfish persevered and delivered an improved performance in the second half to end the game 36-36.
Mission Mannas head coach Yeo Mee Hong commented: “When we came into the second quarter, we didn’t control the game as well as the first quarter, could have done a lot better.”
“We allowed our opponents to come back strong at us, we got to minimise our unforced errors, which cost us our second, third and fourth quarter.”
Both Stingrays and Marlins played the last match of the day knowing a result would prove inconsequential as their spots to duel it out for the preliminary final were finalised then.
However, the Stingrays gave the Marlins something to ponder about before their inevitable match-up, as the Marlins were overwhelmed throughout the match and suffered a crushing 59-27 defeat.
The Preliminary Final is scheduled for 18 May, Sunday at 3.00 p.m. Prior to that, Sunfish and Vipers will go all out for their final match of the season to determine the 5th and 6th places in a play-off.
The Grand Final will be held on 24 May, Saturday, at the Toa Payoh Sports Hall at 2.00 p.m.
17 May 2014 (Saturday)
Semi-Final 1 : Sneakers Stingrays (3rd) vs Magic Marlins (4th)
Semi-Final 2 : Mission Mannas (1s) vs Blaze Dolphins (2nd)
18 May 2014 (Sunday)
5th/6th Play-off : M1 Sunfish vs Bedok King Vipers
Preliminary Final : SF 2 Loser vs SF 1 Winner