Asian Netball Championships
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Hong Kong’s Elderi Bennett-Horak takes a shot during her side’s Asian Netball Championship game against Singapore (Sept 6, 2022). Photo: Netball Singapore

Asian Netball Championships: sharp shooting Hong Kong come up just short against Singapore

  • Hosts pull away for 56-46 victory in opening Group E game in round two
  • Hong Kong’s Krystal Edwards and Elderi Bennett-Horak keep side in it with near perfect performances at net

Hong Kong’s attack put on an almost perfect display of shooting but it was just not enough to get them past Singapore in the Asian Netball Championships on Tuesday.

The hosts pulled away in the second half at OCBC Arena, eventually winning 56-46 in the two side’s opening Group E game of round two.

Krystal Edwards shot 96 per cent from the floor for Hong Kong, scoring from 26 of 27 attempts, and teammate Elderi Bennett-Horak sunk 20 of 21 attempts in a game that stayed close until the end.

Singapore, the three-time Asian champions, meanwhile, overcame nerves and persistent Hong Kong pressure to eventually pull clear.

After a shaky first half, where Singapore kept Hong Kong behind by just two goals, leading 13-11 and 26-24 at the end of the first and second quarters respectively, the hosts kept their composure and adjusted their approach.

The Singapore team celebrate co-captain Toh Kai Wei winning her 50th international cap after the game against Hong Kong in the Asian Netball Championships. Photo: Netball Singapore

Toh Kai Wei, the Singapore co-captain who earned her 50th international cap, said she was happy her side had managed to come through a tough encounter.

“I’m very happy the team was able to come through with the win after such a close fight,” she said. “It was a bit tough at half-time, there were a bit [of nerves and silly mistakes], and we were rushing too much. We were always on the go and trying to make a pass.

“We made some changes in the third quarter to try to slow things down, and make sure we have good control of the ball before making the next pass. For our next match [against Sri Lanka], if we come into the game like how we did in the second half, we should do well. We just have to be a bit more controlled with our passes and not be too nervous to start the game.”

Defending champions Sri Lanka, meanwhile, just scrapped past Malaysia in the other game in Group E, overcoming some silly mistakes in the last quarter to get a 55-53 win.

In a thrilling encounter, the lead went back and forth numerous times before Sri Lanka capitalised on a missed attempt from Malaysia’s goal attack Karishma Loganathan in the final minutes of the second quarter to extend their lead to 30-28, but botched a pass to their shooting circle to allow the Malaysians to take possession and draw level at 30-30 at the end of the quarter.

Hong Kong book place in semi-finals of Asian Netball Championships

The score remained close, and though Malaysia led briefly by one goal in the third quarter, Sri Lanka held steady to recover and hold a 45-38 advantage entering the final 15 minutes. But Malaysia gave an inspired performance nearing the end of the final quarter and were aided by some shaky passes from their opponents as they narrowed the score.

For Sri Lanka vice-captain Dulangi Wannithilake the overwhelming emotion was one of relief.

“Malaysia played a very tough game, and we made some silly mistakes in the last quarter,” she said. “I’m happy we were able to win, we hope to correct our mistakes and improve our attacking and shooting so that we can play a better game in future.”

The second round continues on Wednesday, when Hong Kong face Malaysia, and Sri Lanka take on Singapore in a game many expect to be repeated in the final.