Netball: Inconsistency the constant

Singapore vice-captain Aqilah Andin colliding with teammate Toh Kai Wei during the 51-35 Nations Cup win over Ireland yesterday. She feels that the team have been under more pressure when they are in the lead than when they are trailing, and it is so
Singapore vice-captain Aqilah Andin colliding with teammate Toh Kai Wei during the 51-35 Nations Cup win over Ireland yesterday. She feels that the team have been under more pressure when they are in the lead than when they are trailing, and it is something they have been trying to cope with.ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

Milicich wants to cut down on errors; team must work harder on not letting lead slip

While Singapore notched their first win of the M1 Nations Cup with a 51-35 victory over Ireland last night, coach Natalie Milicich cut a slightly disappointed figure on the sidelines at the OCBC Arena.

Inconsistency throughout the four quarters has been a theme for world No. 28 Singapore in their three games so far, and something she admitted has to be addressed.

The New Zealander said her charges had put up better performances in the 54-54 draw with Namibia and the 57-52 loss to Botswana earlier in the week.

She said: "As much as I like that we got a win today, our performance was not as good as the last two matches. We made too many unforced errors.

"We need to have an honest discussion of our performance and make sure that we don't make the same mistakes we did today."

She felt that the team struggled to maintain their consistency, especially when in the lead. They had led against Namibia and Botswana several times, only to let it slip.

They also led throughout against world No. 25 Ireland, but there were times when there was a dip and several mistakes made.

After going up 13-5 in the first quarter, the hosts had an impressive second to go into half-time 32-17 up. They grew their lead to 42-24 in the third, but made several errors in the final stanza, in which they were outscored by two goals.

Vice-captain Aqilah Andin said that holding the lead tends to pile more pressure on the team, but it is something that they have been trying to cope with.

  • M1 NATIONS CUP

  • Singapore 51

    Ireland 35

She said: "The pressure is so much more when you're leading because you need to play an A game to maintain that consistency. When you're playing a catch-up game, you don't have that much pressure.

"When you are leading by so much, you may get into those bad habits."

Ireland coach Joan Young said: "We were struggling at the beginning because a lot of balls went astray and there was a lot of pressure from Singapore in that position. We'll sit down, analyse and see what we can train and what we can change."

While there are still improvements to be made, Milicich highlighted the importance of the win as they prepare to face their toughest challenge in the form of defending Nations Cup champions Cook Islands, who are ranked 12th.

"It's critical, winning is a habit," she said.

Earlier in the day, world No. 26 Botswana beat No. 20 Papua New Guinea 58-36 and No. 33 Namibia shocked the Cook Islands 61-47.

Namibia top the table on five points. The Cook Islands have the same points, four, as Botswana but are second on goal percentage. Singapore are fourth with three points. There are two more group-stage matches to go.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 23, 2019, with the headline 'Inconsistency the constant'. Print Edition | Subscribe