Netball: Singapore to play Test match against Hong Kong

Singapore's Kimberly Lim (with ball) in action against Hong Kong during the 2014 Asian Championship.
Singapore's Kimberly Lim (with ball) in action against Hong Kong during the 2014 Asian Championship.COURTESY OF NETBALL SINGAPORE

Singapore's national netball team will play Hong Kong in a Test match on home soil this Sunday as part of their preparations for the Aug 19-31 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur.

The match is part of the inaugural Hong Kong-Singapore Cup, an annual three-day event between the two sides. The first two days will see the teams rotating their squads in closed-door training matches, after which players will be selected to compete on the final day.

The Singapore team recently returned from a training tour of New Zealand, and Netball Singapore's chief executive officer Cyrus Medora told The Straits Times he hopes the squad will display the same level of intensity in the Hong Kong-Singapore Cup.

"You could see the improvement in every game (in New Zealand) - there was strong intensity throughout and beautiful passing through the court," he added.

"This is just the beginning - we're planning to peak in August and it's another test for our newer players."

Beyond this year's SEA Games, which the Republic will enter as defending champions, Medora also hopes the annual Hong Kong-Singapore Cup will pave the way for more fan engagement.

"Having international matches on home ground helps you engage your fans better, as fans can come out and show support and there's more interaction then," he said.

"It also gives another timeline for players to get their performance up and another thing to aim for."

World No. 20 Singapore last played 26th-ranked Hong Kong at last year's Asian Championship, winning 34-27 to finish third.

National captain Vanessa Lee added: "The score didn't show it, but the match was very close and the level of physicality that Hong Kong brings will help us for the SEA Games."

Former national coach Ruth Aitken, who recently returned to New Zealand, will be in town for the series as Singapore's technical consultant. Aitken, who was also attached to the national squad during their visit to New Zealand last week, will team up with interim national coach Yeo Mee Hong.

The match takes place at Toa Payoh Sports Hall at 10am. Admission is free.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 15, 2017, with the headline 'Singapore to play Test match against Hong Kong'. Print Edition | Subscribe