Netball: Singapore beat Causeway rivals in final Nations Cup group stage match

National netball co-captain Toh Kai Wei converted all her shots in the first quarter. Singapore won 52-38. PHOTO: NETBALL SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE – To help her team finish their Nations Cup campaign on a high in their third-placing match on Saturday, national netball co-captain Toh Kai Wei will repeat her Friday routine and eat two croissants for breakfast.

Perhaps that was her secret fuel as she helped Singapore comfortably beat Causeway rivals Malaysia 52-38.

In doing so, they booked their spot in the third-place play-off (2pm) against Ireland, whom they narrowly beat by two goals in the opening match.

Botswana, who are unbeaten, and Fiji will meet in the final at 4pm.

Toh, 26, said: “To prepare for tomorrow, I’m just going to do whatever I did today and follow the same routine. We also definitely want to start a bit steadier.

“Shorter passes (would help against Ireland) because, in that first game, we did a lot of cross-court passes which allowed them to intercept the ball (or caused us to miss passes), so we just need to be a bit more controlled and disciplined about that.”

As with other Causeway derbies, this was another charged affair as more than 800 spectators made their presence felt at the OCBC Arena, cheering after every Singapore goal while waving flags and signs.

Applause for Malaysia was muted but their substitutes made up for it by shouting encouragement to the players on court.

Singapore raced to a 4-0 lead before mistakes started to creep in, allowing Malaysia to catch up briefly, but sharp shooting by Toh (100 per cent) and Amandeep Kaur Chahal (70 per cent) helped their side to 15-11 after the first quarter.

Both sides had their fair share of missed passes and basic errors, but the hosts did well to force more turnovers while maintaining a higher conversion rate, scoring an overall 81 per cent of their attempts compared to Malaysia’s 76.

Malaysia, who sent a younger and less experienced team compared to September’s Asian Netball Championship squad, also saw two of their shooters substituted because of injury.

Veteran Kimberly Lim is counting on her lucky charm, her cat Bola, and said the team will have to reduce their errors and go forward for the ball more.

Recalling their close opener against Ireland, she added: “I don’t think we gave our best game that game, though we did push through to get the win. There were a lot of things we could have done better and tomorrow is for us to show that we have improved over the competition.”

Malaysia captain Nurshamilia Md Samsudin was not happy with her team’s performance, noting that the players made more mistakes than usual. Her side will play Singapore A for fifth place at noon.

She added: “We had a tough game today. Compared to their fitness, strategy and technique, we have to improve.

“I’m very confident (the team will put up a better fight). After what happened today, we will try to regroup because tomorrow will be the last day for the placings and, of course, we will fight for that.”

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