SINGAPORE: The Singapore Opens team bounced back from an opening day defeat in the Mirxes Nations Cup as they trounced Cook Islands 58-36 at the OCBC Arena, Singapore Sports Hub on Monday, Oct 23.

Singapore had a nervy start to the campaign as they narrowly went down 50-52 to Papua New Guinea on Sunday. Determined to avoid a second consecutive defeat in the tournament, Singapore showed their ferocious intent right from the start against Cook Islands as they went on the offensive from the first quarter.

After their loss in the first game, Singapore’s head coach, Annette Bishop, said that she reminded the players to remain focused, and the team deployed different tactics against the Cook Islands.

“Sometimes it comes down to the nerves, we did some sloppy errors (against Papua New Guinea) and I would call it ‘soft errors’, and that was very costly in a tight game. A few new combinations were being tried out, so today we needed to come out right (gameplan) from the start,” said Bishop, who has been with Netball Singapore since 2015 in various roles such as assistant coach and performance analyst.

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“PNG would be a bit of a dark horse as well, we have not had a good look at them. We take the loss and go back and analyse and see what we can do better, to minimise those errors. It is about building on these games, no team in front of us is going to be easy including Canada, Sri Lanka and also our Singapore A side. Every team is there to do their best, so we take no game for granted,” added the Singapore head coach.

Led by goal-shooter Amandeep Chahal and supported by wing-attack Angelina Lim and goal-attack Toh Kai Wei, Singapore dominated play with their attacking prowess, as they took a 20-13 advantage at the end of the first quarter. The dominance continued in the second quarter, with Singapore’s slick counterplay, and a tight defense that kept the opponents at bay as the host took a commanding 32-19 lead at halftime.

Photo credit: Mirxes Nations Cup

For wing-attack Lim she is pleased with how the team performed against Cook Islands and shared that her teammates are motivated for a win after their opening day loss to Papua New Guinea.

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“Coming off from the loss everyone was really hyped up for this game and we have to do it the hard way. The morale was up there, the mindset was just to focus for the full sixty minutes of the game. To be hungrier for each ball, to contest and get more balls. Yesterday we had a slower start but today we went back to what we knew, we played at our pace and controlled the game. Not to get caught up with the momentum, so today was clinical and possession,” mentioned Lim during the post-match interview.

Veteran Charmaine Soh was introduced by Singapore head coach Annette Bishop in the third quarter, much to the delight of the crowd. By then, it was beginning to look like an uphill task for the visitors to mount a comeback as Singapore took a 47-26 advantage at the end of the third quarter. Despite a commanding lead, Singapore did not slow down their game in the final quarter. The players showed their hunger for more goals and managed to secure a convincing 22-goal win and seal a final score of 58-36 against the Cook Islands, the highest-ranking team in the competition at 19th place.

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Singapore will take on Canada on Tues, Oct 24, before facing a Singapore ‘A’ team the next day. They will then take on arch-rivals Sri Lanka on Friday in their final round-robin match. The top two teams in the group will advance to the final on Sunday.

Singapore last won the Nations Cup in the first two editions in 2006 and 2007. In 2006, they won against Papua New Guinea, and they defeated Scotland the following year in the final. Although they managed to be in the final four times since then – in 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2019 – they failed to win any of those occasions.