Back in the groove: Hong Kong beat Thailand to set-up Asian Netball Championship semi-final with Malaysia

Robin Manihera’s side beat the hosts 50-16 in Bangkok on Thursday, and the fourth seeds will now face the group B winners on Saturday for a place in Sunday’s final

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 August, 2016, 7:09pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 August, 2016, 7:14pm

Hong Kong will play Malaysia on Saturday for what would be just a second ever place in the final of the Asian Netball Championship after Robin Manihera’s side secured a runner-up finish in group A with a 50-16 win over hosts Thailand in Bangkok on Thursday.

Having seen their perfect start ended on Wednesday by two-time defending champions Singapore, fourth seeds Hong Kong had to win at the National Stadium to ensure progress ahead of the hosts.

And after moving into a 12-5 lead after the first quarter, Hong Kong held a commanding 28-10 at half-time.

A 10-4 run in the third extended the advantage before Manihera’s side made sure of the third win of the campaign having earlier beaten both Taiwan and the Maldives prior to the 32-18 defeat by the number one seeds.

“This was an important game for both Thailand and Hong Kong,” said Hong Kong coach Manihera.

“We stuck to our game plan, and boosted by a group of Hong Kong supporters, the team kept the pressure on Thailand quarter-by-quarter and came through with a well-deserved win.”

Hong Kong, following a well-earned rest day on Friday having played four games in four days, will next face group B winners Malaysia on Saturday for a place in Sunday’s final having finished fourth at the last two editions of the tournament in 2012 and 2014.

Malaysia won the four-team group B with a perfect record following wins over Japan, Brunei and second seeds Sri Lanka, who will face Singapore in the other semi-final on Saturday.

Net gain: Hong Kong netballers confident of raising the bar at Asian Championships

Former Asian champions Hong Kong made their first and only appearance in final in 1993 on home soil when they beat Singapore to lift the title.

“This was a better display of the teams capabilities and potential,” said Hong Kong captain Jessica McCauley.

“Credit to the girls, we were able to move on from the loss to Singapore and come out firing with a convincing win.

“We have a much-needed rest day now before our semi-final against Malaysia on Saturday. Malaysia are a tough, athletic team who play a similar style of netball to us, so the on-court match-ups will be hotly contested.

“We will have to play our best netball to have a win on Saturday and I have every confidence in the girls that we can do just that.”