Sports

S'pore hockey women lose, but coach is happy enough

Thai hockey women too good, but S'pore coach Viner happy with team's progress

WOMEN'S AHF CUP FINAL

SINGAPORE 0

THAILAND 4

(Kornkanok Sanpoung 17, 57, 67, 
Natthakarn Aunjai 43)

They beat Singapore 1-0 in the South-east Asia (SEA) Games here last year to relegate the hosts to the bronze-medal match.

Yesterday, the Thailand women's hockey team tormented the Republic again in Bangkok, as the hosts beat Singapore 4-0 in the women's Asian Hockey Federation Cup final.

Kornkanok Sanpoung opened the scoring for the hosts in the 17th minute with a field goal, but Singapore displayed some strong defending to enter the half-time break just 1-0 down.

There was no denying the 20-year-old midfielder in the second period, though, as Kornkanok completed her hat-trick with field goals in the 57th and 67th minutes, doubling her tournament tally to six goals.

Natthakarn Aunjai was the other scorer in the rout.

Despite the drubbing, Singapore women's national coach David Viner was happy enough with the performance.

"I was really pleased with the way they were playing in the first half and that we were only 1-0 down at the end of the period," he told The New Paper in a phone interview last night.

"The Thais were very strong, but we defended well, even though our forward line didn't put a lot of pressure in attack.

"We dropped off slightly in the second period, but our goalkeeper (Felissa Lai) was outstanding."

The Australian added the second-placed finish - powerhouses Malaysia did not compete - in Bangkok was a good result for the new-look side, who were together in a tournament for only the second time.

The team, a mixture of 2015 SEA Games players and youngsters from the Under-21 Asia Cup team, also competed in the World League 1 tournament here in April, where they finished third behind Thailand and Kazakhstan.

"I am extremely happy with how this team are progressing," said the 67-year-old.

"Many of them are still young - the youngest in my team is only 16 - and we have achieved a lot in this tournament."

He said that the team will play next in the World League 2 early next year, before the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur in September.

"There is still a lot to do... I am looking for more depth in the team, but I am very happy with them right now," Viner said.

"We can only get better."

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