Singapore lose 46-39, after matching Samoa for three quarters
Singapore match Samoa for three quarters before falling away in final period
NETBALL WORLD CUP, POOL G
So near, yet so far.
The Singapore netball team delivered their best performance at the Netball World Cup yesterday, but fell 46-39 to Samoa in a Pool G game at the Allphones Arena in Sydney.
The Republic, ranked 15th in the world, have never beaten the Pacific Islanders at the World Cup and lost twice to them at the Nations Cup in Singapore last December.
But the two teams were evenly matched throughout a tense encounter in Australia yesterday.
Samoa, ranked 13th in the world, led 10-9 at the end of the first quarter, and extended the advantage to 21-17 at half-time.
But the South-east Asia Games and Asian champions had a storming third quarter, forcing several defensive turnovers.
Forwards Charmaine Soh and Yu Meiling, who came on for co-vice-captain Chen Huifen after the first quarter, were on fire as they converted 78 and 90 per cent of their shots respectively as the third period finished 33-33.
But Samoa tightened up their defence in the final quarter and upped the pressure in and around the shooting circle.
Yu converted just two of her five shots in the 15 minutes, while Soh scored just four of her seven attempts.
As her visibly disappointed teammates trudged into the dressing room after the match, Singapore captain Micky Lin said: "It was a good (first) three quarters for us, but a disappointing last one.
"I think Samoa were more resilient and had more composure towards the end. We gave away some cheap intercepts and easy turnovers in the last quarter. We had some changes that period, too, because we felt we needed to make more runs.
"But the combinations probably didn't have time to settle."
Singapore coach Ruth Aitken knows her team will need more strength to excel at the world level, where Singapore are one of the smallest sides physically.
She said: "We're working hard on our strength and conditioning but we've got to put more time into it.
"We are the best in Asia, but if we look at the world stage there is a lot more support and people go to the gym more often, whereas we go twice a week."
Singapore will have little time to reflect on yesterday's narrow defeat, as they will face world No. 10 Trinidad and Tobago today in the battle for the minor placings at the tournament.
Said Lin: "When we go back later, we will be thrashing out what went wrong in this match. But when we wake up tomorrow, it will be a new day."
We are the best in Asia, but if we look at the world stage... people go to the gym more often.
— Singapore netball coach Ruth Aitken
Pool E: Malawi 59 Uganda 53, New Zealand 55 Jamaica 48
Pool F: South Africa 68 Wales 40, Australia 51 England 41
Pool G: Samoa 46 Singapore 39, Trinidad and Tobago 66 Zambia 39
Pool H: Sri Lanka 31 Fiji 77, Barbados 34 Scotland 37
Pool E: New Zealand v Malawi,
Pool F: England v Wales, Australia v South Africa
Pool G: Trinidad and Tobago v Singapore (8.20am, Singapore time), Samoa v Zambia
Pool H: Barbados v Fiji, Scotland v Sri Lanka