Bid to improve on 15th spot still alive

The taller and faster Trinidad and Tobago players giving Singapore goal defence Premila Hirubalan plenty of problems. The Republic must beat Zambia tomorrow and then most likely Sri Lanka in the play-offs to ensure they improve on their 15th position
The taller and faster Trinidad and Tobago players giving Singapore goal defence Premila Hirubalan plenty of problems. The Republic must beat Zambia tomorrow and then most likely Sri Lanka in the play-offs to ensure they improve on their 15th position from 2011.PHOTO: NETBALL WORLD CUP SYDNEY 2015

Singapore's hopes of contesting for the ninth to 12th spots at the Netball World Cup were dashed yesterday, as they lost 32-75 to Trinidad and Tobago in the qualification round at Sydney's Allphones Arena.

The defeat, coupled by Samoa's narrow 55-53 win over Zambia, means that they cannot finish among the top two spots in Pool G.

A top-two finish in the qualification round would have meant that world No. 15 Singapore can vie for ninth to 12th spots. If not, they will play for the 13th to 16th placings.

Despite the heavy defeat by the 10th-ranked Trinidad and Tobago, the Singapore team remained upbeat, as they still have a chance to improve on their 15th-place showing at the 2011 World Cup.

Said captain Micky Lin: "I was not really surprised by the scoreline, as Trinidad have improved a lot, compared to the past few days when we watched them play. They were a lot bigger and faster than we were.

"We lost to a better team but we are hoping to do better."

The team struggled to deal with Trinidad and Tobago's mobile 1.93m-tall goal shooter Samantha Wallace, who netted 27 of her 31 shots as the Caribbean nation made 91 per cent of their attempts.

Singapore rotated their attackers, with Charmaine Soh, Chen Huifen, Yu Mei Ling and Pamela Liew contributing to their 74 per cent goal conversion rate.

Lin is looking to lift the team morale ahead of their last Pool G match against Zambia tomorrow, so that they are placed in a better position for the 13th-16th place play-offs, which will feature the Republic, Zambia, Barbados and Sri Lanka.

Beating Zambia will ensure Singapore finish third in the group, making their likely play-off opponents Sri Lanka, whom they had beaten in the preliminary round. Another win over their Asian rivals will ensure they finish either 13th or 14th.

Said Lin: "If we do beat Zambia, It puts us in a better place for our following matches. Looking forward is the best way to go."

Coach Ruth Aitken added: "Zambia are a very unorthodox team. They played with quite a different style from others and are very skilful. But it is very important for us to finish this last match with a win.

"Our first goal was to improve our position and that goal is still very alive and important for us. We are aiming to finish in the top 15 and we have to start scoring more consistently.

"Our shooters have been more affected by the long arms blocking them than they should be. They just need the confidence and to be consistent in our following games."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 13, 2015, with the headline 'Bid to improve on 15th spot still alive'. Print Edition | Subscribe