Singapore to grant Ireland no quarter in fight for third

Singapore may have lost 49-57 to the Cook Islands in their final Mission Foods Nations Cup group-stage match last night, but national coach Natalie Milicich believes her team will finish the tournament on a high today.

The Republic were already assured of a place in the third/fourth-placing tie today, before their match against the unbeaten Oceanic nation at the OCBC Arena.

Other than the second quarter, in which Singapore were outscored 11-18, the hosts were almost on a par with their opponents, who will play Swaziland for the title today.

In other matches yesterday, Swaziland beat Ireland 50-24 while Hong Kong beat Malaysia 50-44.

Milicich said: "I am disappointed with the result, but I thought the team gave everything today.

"No matter which combination (of players) were out there, and a few newbies had more time tonight, they really stepped up.

"It is nice to see the squad building depth now."

Singapore will face Ireland in their final match of the Nations Cup today, while Hong Kong will take on Malaysia for fifth place.

Singapore's Melody Teo (jumping) defending a shot during the Republic's 57-49 Nations Cup defeat by the Cook Islands at the OCBC Arena last night. Singapore will battle Ireland for third place today. PHOTO: NETBALL SINGAPORE

The Republic suffered a heartbreaking 53-54 loss to 22nd-ranked Ireland in their opening match last Sunday.

Toh Kai Wei, who scored 29 points for Singapore last night, said: "The first match really impacted us quite a bit and, from there, we made quite a few changes during our training.

"I believe we have what we need to beat them tomorrow, and I am quite confident in my team."

Echoing her players' confidence, Milicich said: "We've got to redeem ourselves from that first game and I think we just need to make sure that we (play well) in all four quarters.

"We have proven now that we have the belief; we are going into the game tomorrow with the confidence that we can finish it off, and play four good quarters."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 09, 2017, with the headline 'Singapore to grant Ireland no quarter in fight for third'. Print Edition | Subscribe