Singapore to meet Sri Lanka for 15th/16th placing in World Cup
Despite brave show against Barbados, Singapore will play Sri Lanka in 15th/16th placing match
Singapore will finish their Netball World Cup campaign in Sydney today the way they started it - with a match against Asian rivals Sri Lanka.
After a 56-39 defeat by Barbados in a 13th to 16th placing match at the Allphones Arena in the Sydney Olympic Park yesterday, the Republic's netballers will play in the 15th/16th match today against Sri Lanka, who lost 70-36 to Zambia.
Victory over world No. 9 Barbados yesterday would have propelled the Singaporeans into the 13th/14th match against Zambia, an improvement over their 15th-placed finish at the 2007 and 2011 championships.
Asian champions Singapore, ranked 15th in the world, certainly started yesterday's match better than they did against Zambia on Friday.
Goal shooter Charmaine Soh, who had a forgettable 50th international against the Africans, was on fire in the first quarter yesterday, converting 11 of her 12 shots, even as the Republic went into the break 15-12 down. But the Bajan Gems pulled away in the second quarter, outscoring Micky Lin and Co 15-7 to go into half-time 30-19 up.
Singapore coach Ruth Aitken said: "I thought our fighting spirit was great... it's hard to sustain (the intensity of the game) all the time.
"There were definitely different interpretations from the umpires from one end of the court to the other.
"I think we got hammered defensively on the penalty count in the second quarter which made it hard for us because our opponents have pretty good shooters. But yes, if I could replay that quarter, it would be very nice."
Barbados won the next two quarters 12-11 and 14-9 to set up a meeting with Zambia today.
Aitken added that players who came off the bench, like Ang Shiqi, Shelby Koh, Olivia Flanagan, Pamela Liew and Yu Meiling, performed well too, although Ang had to be helped off the court in the third quarter after landing awkwardly on her right ankle.
New Zealander Aitken is hopeful that the 27-year-old will be ready for the Sri Lanka match.
Aitken and co-vice-captain Nurul Baizura promised to give everything in their final match of the 10-day tournament.
Nurul said: "This is it, this is our final game, there's nothing to lose already so we are going all out.
Aitken added: "They have improved during the tournament and have had good games where they pushed their opponents.
"We have come full circle and we are back at square one, which is not where we wanted to be. But this is where we are, so we just have to finish well. It's going to be all on, we are going to throw everything at them."
WHAT'S GONE WHAT'S ON
- Semi-finals: New Zealand 50 England 39, Australia 67 Jamaica 56
- 5th to 8th: Malawi 71 Wales 52, South Africa 50 Uganda 40
- 9th to 12th: Trinidad and Tobago 57 Scotland 56, Fiji 51 Samoa 54
- 13th to 16th: Singapore 39 Barbados 56, Zambia 70 Sri Lanka 36.
- Final: New Zealand v Australia
- 3rd/4th: England v Jamaica
- 5th/6th: Malawi v South Africa
- 7th/8th: Wales v Uganda
- 9th/10th: Trinidad and Tobago v Samoa
- 11th/12th: Scotland v Fiji
- 13th/14th: Barbados v Zambia
- 15th/16th: Singapore v Sri Lanka (8am, Singapore time)
Soaring she cranes aim higher
Before the start of the Netball World Cup, respected coach Norma Plummer picked out Uganda as a "dangerous" side, despite the African team being ranked 14th in the world.
"They often look like schoolgirls when they play because their skills are so basic but, once they get going, they are very tricky to beat," said the South African, who guided Australia to the 2007 and 2011 world titles.
"They will have a go at anything and are quite a physical team."
The 70-year-old was proven right in Sydney, as the She Cranes are assured of a top-eight finish.
In the preliminary rounds, the surprise package beat world No. 7 Fiji and finished second in Pool D. They will face Wales in the 7th/8th placing match today after falling 50-40 to South Africa 5th-8th play-off yesterday.
While all the attention is on the trans-Tasman rivalry between reigning champions Australia and New Zealand in today's final, the She Cranes are making history in only their second appearance in the World Cup since 1979, when they finished 13th out of 19.
Uganda's (left) story is remarkable. They caused an uproar before the tournament in their country when they planned to wash cars for £10 ($21.91) to fund their Sydney adventure, before authorities pulled the plug to prevent embarrassment.
They did not even have a world ranking before the invitational Nations Cup in Singapore in 2013, as they had not fulfilled the International Netball Federation's prerequisite of playing eight Test matches to make the rankings.
Now, Uganda's star goal shooter Peace Proscovia, 26, believes her team can soon challenge the sport's powerhouses.
The 1.93m-tall player, who was the first Ugandan to play in the UK Superleague when she moved to the Loughborough Lightning this year, said: "All we have to do is to go into games strong. I know these teams are the superpowers in netball and we are just an up-and-coming team. But, I believe that if we go in strong, we can make it."
- LIM SAY HENG