Sports

Captain Charmaine Soh cool as Singapore snatch late draw

Charmaine scores late equaliser to help hosts stave off defeat in opener

Thirty seconds stood between a draw and a loss for Singapore's netball team yesterday in their opening fixture of the M1 Nations Cup.

As world No. 28 Singapore trailed Namibia 54-53 in the dying seconds of the game, captain Charmaine Soh was fed the ball.

The crowd at the OCBC Arena had reached fever pitch, but Soh cut a composed figure as she sank the goal that levelled the score and salvaged a draw for the hosts.

M1 NATIONS CUP
SINGAPORE NAMIBIA
54 54

Soh said later: "It was crazy. At that point of time, a lot of things went through my mind, but I was like we have to put it out, we have no time and, thankfully, it went in.

"The team really supported well and managed to bring the ball down into the circle for us."

Coach Natalie Milicich had anticipated that the first game against the Africans, who are ranked 33rd, would be a tough one and the team had practised to prepare themselves for such a scenario where there were 15 seconds remaining and they had possession.

On her own, Soh had also simulated the noisy setting of a game by practising shooting with rock music playing in the background.

It was a fitting end to the pulsating encounter which saw an evenly matched first quarter end with the score level at 12-12.

A pacy Namibia side forced several sloppy passages of play from Singapore in the second quarter and took a 25-22 half-time lead.

After the restart, Namibia scored the next two points and appeared ready to pull clear.

But Singapore restored parity with five consecutive goals and eventually ended the quarter with a slim 39-38 lead.

Milicich was pleased with her charges, saying: "It's a style we're not used to playing, so I'm really proud of how we stuck to task. It's really hard to actually bring your own flavour to the game when you're playing a different style, so we actually did that really well.

"We worked really hard to get it defensively and it's really important that we get it to our shooters.

"We showed real patience... There were a couple of critical moments and we possibly could have had a couple of goals, but I'm really proud of the team."

Namibia coach Julene Meyer said: "It was a good and challenging game. We're not on top of our game yet. We're still lacking that rhythm, sharpness and game exposure."

In other matches, Ireland beat Papau New Guinea 41-38, while Cook Islands defeated Botswana 54-47.

TODAY'S MATCHES

  • 3pm: Namibia v Ireland
  • 5pm: Cook Islands v Papua New Guinea
  • 7pm: Botswana v Singapore
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