Singapore netball team beaten, again
Asian champions must tweak game plan for rematch with African nation
It was a dress rehearsal for the third/fourth-place battle on Saturday, and they failed to stamp their mark.
Singapore lost 46-38 to Botswana last night in the Mission Foods Nations Cup and the Asian champions need to make adjustments quickly if they are to turn things around in their final match of the year.
The home team played well in patches yesterday at the OCBC Arena, but had ball-handling issues throughout the four quarters.
They also lost the third quarter 12-5 and it proved decisive, condemning Ruth Aitken's team, ranked 15th in the world, to a third defeat in four matches in the annual invitational tournament.
Singapore had beaten the same opponents 46-41 in the same competition last year.
Said Kiwi coach Aitken: "We were probably a bit inconsistent. We fell into a bit of a hole in the third quarter, but it was good to see that we finished strongly."
Captain Micky Lin added: "It's not just this game, but in the past few games as well. Whenever we've got a two- or three-goal lead, we somehow return it to the other team.
"We just need to be more composed when we have the lead, rather than to try and rush things."
All the teams will have a day off today, before going into battle again tomorrow, with Lin and Co. facing the Singapore invitational team, made up of national squad players like Yu Meiling and Cassandra Soh, along with a sprinkling of Netball Super League players and Fiji international Sera Tale Dakuitoga.
While Aitken may rest a few tired bodies and give younger players like Kwok Shuyi and Parveen Nair more game time, she will have one eye on Saturday's rematch against Botswana, ranked 19th in the world.
Papua New Guinea will meet Northern Ireland in the final, while fifth-placed Taiwan will meet the Singapore Invitational side for the fifth/sixth-placing match.
Aitken said: "We certainly would like to look at balancing out the game time a bit more. It is a non-ranking game and we will be wise to do that.
"But it's also about making sure you keep the flow for whatever you want to do on Saturday, so it's a bit of a mix of resting legs, getting the confidence and the (game) flow.
"The last 60 minutes on Saturday they'll need to empty the tank; I'll scrape them off the ground (if I have to)," added Aitken, only half-joking.
"(We need to) have a go at the ball. It's actually what we do best, when we remember it."
- Papua New Guinea 37 Singapore Invitational 36
- Northern Ireland 74 Taiwan 21
TOMORROW'S FIXTURES (All matches at OCBC Arena)
- 3pm: Botswana v Taiwan
- 5pm: Papua New Guinea v Northern Ireland
- 7pm: Singapore Invitational v Singapore
- Today is a rest day.