Netball World Cup: Aitken hails fighting spirit

Netball World Cup: Aitken hails fighting spirit
PHOTO: Netball World Cup Sydney 2015

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.

Rebound

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."

sayheng@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on August 16, 2015.
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