- World Netball Championship 2011
By Hishan Welmilla
Sri Lanka ended their run of defeats at the World Netball Championship 2011 by registering a good 62-51 victory against the host nation Singapore in their play off game on Friday at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Singapore had some fleeting moments of excellence but couldn’t stay consistent on attack, giving away too many unforced errors. A couple of spectacular intercepts by Asha Tett in the last quarter lifted the spirits of the passionate crowd but it wasn’t enough to pull back the substantial lead Sri Lanka had gained. Premila Hirubalan and Qingyi Lin did all that was physically possible on defence but it wasn’t to be for a team that has played some beautiful games of Netball so far at the Championship.
Sri Lanka began the game strongly in the first quarter as they convincingly took it by 15 goals to 9. They continued their momentum throughout the second quarter with Gayathri Lankatilleka and Mereesha Fernando and Tharijini Sivalingam outstanding.
The Lankan lasses scored 19 goals in the second quarter as Singapore struggled to convert their passes to goals with excellent defence by Chathurangi Jayasooriya and Irangi Shalika thwarting all their efforts.
The third quarter was more closely contested with the Lankans winning through by the slender margin of 14-12. The host nation, cheered on by their home fans, came back strongly in the last quarter scoring 16 goals to Lanka’s 14 but it was too little too late and the Sri Lankans emerged worthy winners by 62-51.
Goal Attack Sanuduni Bollagala who played tirelessly throughout to keep the Sri Lankan score ticking was named ‘player of the match’. The tall Tharijini Sivalingam also had a great game in turning 61 passes to 60 goals while Sanduni Bollegala added another 2 goals to the grand total.
The 2.06-metre tall shooter Sivalingam from Sri Lanka was the main threat to the hosts Singapore who struggled to combat the girl’s height advantage.
“Going into the game, we knew it’s going to be a tall shooter and there is a lot of jumping involved. We tried a few different things – whether it’s one-on-one or to split, we do everything. We need a taller defender to go against her. Other than her, the other part of the court, everything was really good,” said Lin Qing, Vice-Captain of the Singapore Netball Team.
Sri Lanka had lost all four previous games in the championship. The went down narrowly to Northern Ireland (65-56), Samoa (57-53) and Barbados (63-59) but were thrashed 97-20 by Australia.
Sri Lanka meet Botswana in their final game on Saturday.