Netball: Unbeaten Mannas sign off on a high

The Mission Mannas squad celebrating their second NSL title victory. They finished the league season with an unblemished record of 11 wins in 11 matches.
The Mission Mannas squad celebrating their second NSL title victory. They finished the league season with an unblemished record of 11 wins in 11 matches.PHOTO: NIVASH JOYVIN FOR THE SUNDAY TIMES

They beat the Sharks to finish season with a perfect 11-0 record and their second NSL title

The Mannas completed their "mission" yesterday when they finished the season unbeaten with a 57-37 win over old foes Tiger Sharks in the M1 Netball Super League final.

In securing their second NSL title, the Mannas notched a perfect record of 11 wins in 11 matches. They were also champions in 2014.

The result was no surprise as the Mannas had won all three previous ties against the Sharks this season.

In the two round-robin games, they won 38-36 and 51-35. The semi-finals also went 47-36 in their favour.

But the final, held at the Toa Payoh Sports Hall, yielded their largest victory margin yet.

Mannas captain Nurul Baizura, 27, put it down to thorough preparation, saying: "Having met so many times, our teams know each other inside out.

"We prepared really well for whatever they might put in front of us."

The Mannas dominated the first quarter, carving out a 15-6 lead which they never relinquished.

Vanessa Lee, 33, captain of the Sharks, admitted: "We started off badly so we had a big scoreline difference in the first quarter, and playing a catch-up game is always harder."

Though the Sharks drew the second quarter 10-10, the Mannas' lead increased after the third and fourth quarters, which finished 15-11 and 16-9 respectively.

"Coming into the second quarter, our conversion rate dipped a little bit and maybe it was due to complacency. But we slowly picked ourselves up and ended really strongly in the fourth quarter," said Nurul.

Despite falling short, Lee said she was proud that the Sharks had achieved their goal of finishing in the top two.

"We still haven't achieved what we wanted to change from previous games, but the Mannas played well so credit to them," said Lee.

Charmaine Soh, 27, who was named the Mannas' Most Valuable Player, said: "I'm really elated. We have been working very hard for this win and it didn't come easy."

Yesterday brought more good news for Soh and Baizura, who were named to the National Open squad.

Four new players - Low Yi Lun, 28; Rima Yanti, 25; Sindhu Nair, 22; and Toh Kai Wei, 21 - also made the 24-strong list.

The squad will then be trimmed to a final 12, who will represent defending champions Singapore at the Aug 19-30 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 30, 2017, with the headline 'Unbeaten Mannas sign off on a high'. Print Edition | Subscribe