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SINGAPORE, 10 December 2022 – The 14th edition of the Nations Cup came to a thrilling conclusion on Saturday (10 December), with local netball fans having plenty to cheer as Singapore gave an emphatic performance to defeat Ireland 52-36 and clinch third place. Botswana remained undefeated en route to their first Nations Cup title, beating Fiji 65-37 in the championship match at the OCBC Arena. Malaysia finished in fifth place after a 47-40 win over the Singapore A team.
The results are as follows:
5th placing match: Malaysia beat Singapore A 47-40
3rd placing match: Singapore beat Ireland 52-36
1st placing match: Botswana beat Fiji 65-37
Singapore wore down Ireland after a closely-fought battle in the first half, prevailing 52-36 to finish in third place. Ireland held a slim lead early in the match, but Singapore caught up to hold the score at 11-11 after the first quarter. Singapore’s fierce defending proved to be key as the hosts forced turnovers in the second quarter, which they duly converted to edge ahead 23-20 at half-time. Buoyed by a combination of unwavering momentum, confidence and enthusiastic crowd support, Singapore surged ahead to secure victory in dominant fashion.
Singapore Vs Ireland. Pic Credit - Netball Singapore
Singapore defender Sindhu Nair, who played from the second quarter onwards, said: “In the past few games, we were working on several things including team coordination and passes. We have some young players, so it was also about exposing them to this level of play. Everything came together very nicely today. There were some patches of errors, but we always managed to pull through and got stronger as the game progressed. I will say it's one of our best performances today because we put everything that we learnt over the past week together, and it was really nice to see everything working out well for us. We also stuck to our game plan today.”
Singapore Defender in Action. Pic Credit - Netball Singapore
Ireland captain Fran Duffy, while disappointed with the loss, was encouraged by her team’s showing. She said: “It’s a long tournament for a young team whose first experience is out here, and it is a lot to take in. So I’m really proud of all the girls. I love coming back to Singapore; it’s such a great city and the tournament is fantastic – the whole setup is really professional. It’s such a great experience to see how different countries around the world play, because we don’t have that at home. This is my fourth trip and I’ve been with a different Ireland group each time, so it’s just great to make sure that the newbies enjoyed the experience I had the first time.”
Ireland Player in Action. Pic Credit - Netball Singapore
Botswana’s imperious form continued in the title match as they cruised to a 65-37 victory over 2011 champions Fiji to claim their first Nations Cup crown, dancing in celebration before receiving their medals. Botswana were quicker, sharper and more accurate, landing 82% of their shots compared to Fiji’s 79%.
Botswana captain Fattimah Dino, who was also named her team’s Most Valuable Player, said of her team’s first-ever Nations Cup title: “Wow. I’m very happy. This was our first title – we have been coming here to play at the Nations Cup but we’ve never done this before. We are very, very happy to be champions. Our coach (Jenny Van Dyk) really helped us because you can see now that we are very competitive. In the past, we just came to participate but she’s helped us with training and we’ve worked hard, and now we are competing. We were disappointed not to qualify for the World Cup, so we went back home and prepared ourselves to play better the next time.”
Cheerful Botswana Team. Pic Credit- Netball Singapore
Fiji coach Unaisi Rokoura congratulated Botswana for their fine performance, adding that Nations Cup 2022 would provide valuable experience for her team in their preparations for next year’s Netball World Cup. She added: “For us, we gave away possession of the ball and Botswana came in and wanted more. We had a game plan that we wanted to implement tonight but unfortunately we didn't do that. We have a few young players who have fewer than 10 caps, so this is just an opportunity for us to build up for the World Cup next year. When we go back now it's about utilising the players that we have in the competitions lined up for next year before we head off to Cape Town.”
Malaysia ended their Nations Cup campaign on a good note, defeating a young Singapore A team 47-40 to avenge their opening day loss. Despite trailing 20-24 at half-time, Malaysia acted fast to equalise – they took the lead at 28-28 and stayed ahead till the final whistle.
Singapore & Malaysia Players in Action. Pic Credit - Netball Singapore
Malaysia captain Nurshamilia Md Samsudin said: “My team did very well today, we did not give up throughout and we gave our all. Over the whole Nations Cup, we got so much experience playing against all the other teams, and we kept improving each game, regardless of whether we won or lost. This is why I'm so proud of them.”
Singapore A centre Rachel Ling also lauded her team’s effort, saying: “(We gave) a very commendable display of hard work out there on court. Despite not getting the win today, we did put up a good fight; we fought hard for every loose ball and we could have capitalised on a lot more turnovers, but what we can do now is move on and learn from it. We got a bit shaky, but what wasn’t lacking was the team spirit and hard work, and this was shown throughout the games.”
Singapore A team player in action.
Nations Cup 2022 featured six teams from five countries: 2011 champions Fiji, Ireland, Malaysia, Botswana, two-time champions Singapore, and a Singapore A team.
Title Picture Credit - Netball Singapore.