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Singapore 21&U claim hard fought opening win in National Netball League

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The Singapore 21 and Under team overcame a sluggish start to edge title contenders Blaze 38-32 in their opening match of the Netball National League at Kallang Netball Centre on Monday.

Singapore goal shooter Nur Athirah Bte Zulkiffle led her side in scoring with 24 points, while Georgina Lee Si Ling contributed 12 and Olivia Chen Yutong another two.

The young Singaporeans trailed by four points at the end of the first quarter after some wayward shooting with coach Joanne Loo calling on her replacements to turn the contest around.

Lee replaced Chen as goal attack and scored seven of the team's 13 points to help pull ahead 21-20 by the end of the second quarter, while Jeraldine Lee Sze Kee's introduction at centre helped the attacking flow and stifle Blaze's go forward play. 

Singapore 21&U claim hard fought opening win in National Netball League

Singapore 21 and Under's Jeraldine Lee Sze Kee in action during the match against Blaze. Photo: Sport Singapore

"I think credit to those who players came in from the bench. They really kept the focus on what we set out to do today," Loo said after the hard fought win.

"Georgina, defensively, she actually turned over the ball in our attacking goal third so it made it very easy for us to re-attack, put up a shot and score the goals.

"In terms of the attack, I thought it was consistency – a good display. Especially when Jeraldine came in as a centre, defensively she is there."

The 21&U side are taking part in the competition for the first time, ahead of the Asian Youth Championships in Hong Kong in December. 

Singapore 21&U claim hard fought opening win in National Netball League

Singapore 21 and Under's Tan Shi Ni in action during the match against Blaze Photo: Sport Singapore 

Their next match in the five-team Division One is on Monday against Marlins Air.

Elsewhere, Singapore's other youth teams endured a mixed opening to their campaigns in the lower divisions of a burgeoning seven-week competition featuring 83 sides this year.

The 19 and Under team lost a close battle with Sneakers Force 45-42 last Tuesday in Division Two, while the 17 and Unders fell 38-32 to SCC Hawks in Division Three action on Wednesday.

There was joy for the 14 and Unders, however, as they claimed a 46-33 opening win in Division Four over Speed Dash on Thursday.

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