Shooters misfire as Singapore netballers draw with Malaysia

The Singapore team disconsolately walked back to their bench after the match. The hosts let a six-point lead slip in the fourth quarter against Malaysia. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE 
The Singapore team disconsolately walked back to their bench after the match. The hosts let a six-point lead slip in the fourth quarter against Malaysia. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE 

SINGAPORE - Malaysia drew 35-35 with Asian champions Singapore in the SEA Games netball competition at the OCBC Arena on Tuesday, as the hosts let a six-point lead slip in the fourth quarter.

Singapore went off to a good start as goal shooter Charmaine Soh was on fire in the first and second quarter, sinking several tough shots. They pulled away in the third quarter, leading 30-24 as the Malaysians made several errors.

However, in the fourth quarter, Soh missed four shots in quick succession, and Malaysia capitalised to tie the game at 33-33 with four minutes to go.

Goal attack Chen Huifen missed a vital shot with seconds on the clock, as the two sides drew 35-35, with the Malaysian team and supporters celebrating as the Singapore team disconsolately walked back to their bench.

Singapore head coach Ruth Aitken said, however, that her team did not throw the game away.

She said: "Malaysia played really well, full credit to them. We got some really good balls defensively, but we didn't convert it into points. No one ever likes not to win, but it's the battle not the war, so it's how we respond to it, and the test of a really true team is how they respond after disappointment."

Veteran Premila Hirubalan, who became the Republic's second netballer to achieve a century of caps, said that her side were very "patchy", but refused to blame her team's shooters.

She said: "We missed a few shots and didn't manage to pick ourselves up, but without our shooters, we wouldn't even be in a position to draw, so we just need to give them more and more opportunities when they're in a rough patch."

Malaysian head coach Aminah Asaari was satisfied with her team's performance, saying: "It was a good fight. It's not easy for either side to win this game, but both teams played very well today."

isaacneo@sph.com.sg

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