Netball: Singapore secure first win of Mission Foods Nations Cup to retain slim finals chance

Singapore's Charmaine Soh taking a shot against Hong Kong during their Mission Foods Nations Cup match on Dec 5, 2017.
Singapore's Charmaine Soh taking a shot against Hong Kong during their Mission Foods Nations Cup match on Dec 5, 2017. PHOTO: NETBALL SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE - The national netball team's hopes of reaching the Mission Foods Nations Cup final were kept alive with a 44-37 win over Hong Kong at the OCBC Arena on Tuesday (Dec 5).

It was the hosts' first win in the Dec 3-9 tournament, after earlier losses to Ireland and Swaziland.

Singapore, ranked 19th in the world, led 6-1 in the first quarter only for their 24th-ranked opponents to catch up. The home side ended every quarter in the lead (12-10, 24-21, 34-30, 44-37), but had to overcome a scare from a resurgent Hong Kong in the third quarter.

A series of errors from Singapore saw the visitors equalise and gain the advantage for the first time in the match, but the Republic edged ahead after tightening their defence. Hong Kong once again narrowed the gap and threatened to equalise in the final quarter, but Singapore held steady to seal the win.

Said Singapore captain Vanessa Lee: "We came into this game looking for consistency throughout the quarters and I think we did it, I'm really proud of the team.

"When we went into the fourth quarter we were a bit unsettled. But I guess we sussed the opponents out, settled down quickly, got on with our game plan and kept to our structure, and we pulled through till the end."

Singapore face world No. 20 Malaysia in their next match on Wednesday, in a repeat of the SEA Games final in August. Then, Malaysia had wrested the regional title back from their Causeway rivals with a 65-41 win.

In Tuesday's earlier games, Cook Islands and Swaziland both stayed unbeaten after three matches each. They respectively beat Ireland 40-32 and Malaysia 67-50.