Same again: Hong Kong claim third consecutive fourth place finish at Asian Netball Championship after losing to Singapore

Robin Manihera’s side lose 34-27 in the third place play-off in Bangkok on Sunday after failing to bounce back from heartbreaking semi-final defeat to the eventual champions

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 07 August, 2016, 8:02pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 07 August, 2016, 8:12pm

Hong Kong were forced to settle for a third consecutive fourth place finish at the Asian Netball Championship after suffering a 34-27 defeat by Singapore in Sunday’s third place play-off.

Robin Manihera’s fourth seeds, who were looking to bounce back from Saturday’s agonising one-point defeat by eventual champions Malaysia in their semi-final, trailed 11-8 after the first quarter at the National Stadium in Bangkok with Singapore extending that to a four-point cushion at half-time.

So close: Hong Kong suffer heartbreaking one-point defeat by Malaysia in thrilling Asian Netball Championship semi-final to miss out on return to final

And a 10-7 run by the disposed two-time defending champions and number one seeds in the third quarter proved too much for Hong Kong to gain revenge for the 32-18 defeat by Singapore in the group stage earlier this week.

“It’s a disappointing end to the tournament. We have had the defensive turnover and possession to win key games in this week, but we failed to utilise that, and unfortunately this game was another example of that, and we have to be accountable for our actions on court,” said Hong Kong captain Jessica McCauley.

“On a positive note, it has been a long time since Hong Kong have been this competitive, so it is a testament to the girls that they have been able to stand up to this level of netball.

“Debutant Kate Jolly was the MVP for Hong Kong this week. She had an outstanding tournament.”

World number 26 Hong Kong beat Taiwan, the Maldives and hosts Thailand in the group stage, but after losing to Singapore to finish second in group A, Hong Kong ended the tournament with back-to-back losses despite the heartbreaking nature of the 35-34 semi-final reversal against Malaysia on Saturday.

“We have grown as a team and learnt a lot from this week,” said Hong Kong vice-captain Anna Pinder. “We will take the positives and look to the future.”

Hong Kong will now turn their attentions to hosting a tri-nations tournament in March 2017 ahead of the next edition of the Asian Netball Championship in 2018 which will take place in Singapore, and also doubles as the qualifier for that year’s World Cup.

And on a bright note for Hong Kong, third seeds and world number 22 Malaysia went onto win the title with a 41-31 win over Sri Lanka in Sunday’s final.

“Hong Kong have performed better than all expectations,” said Hong Kong Netball Association president Sherryn Hancock.

“Even though we came fourth, the scores and level of play highlight there is not much difference between first and fourth in Asia. We are very proud of the girls.

“In the future, Hong Kong will continue to work towards the tri-nations in March 2017 and also to break into the top 20 in the world rankings over the next 2-3 years.”