A Thai player shoots the ball into the net as Brunei players ready for a rebound in their 9th Asian Youth Netball Championships game in Hong Kong yesterday. Courtesy of Sabariah Hj Kemal Jumat
THE national netball team defeated Thailand 43-39 in their first match of the plate competition at the 9th Asian Youth Netball Championships in Hong Kong yesterday.
The Royal Bees got off to a strong start, leading 12-7 in the first quarter at the Macpherson Stadium in Mong Kok. Thailand tried to get back into the game in the second-quarter but Brunei would hold on to their lead 22-16 heading into the third.
Brunei continued their dominance in the third quarter but Thailand fought well in the final quarter to reduce the deficit. "It was a tough game from the start and both teams had an equal number of new players and seniors who have played in the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games," said national netball coach Thilaka Jinadasa in an interview with The Brunei Times yesterday.
"Our players played their hearts out until the last whistle today and they displayed very good team spirit and focus. "Our shooters, especially, were very focused and determined to win this time after losing to Thailand by only five points at the SEA Games," she added.
The national team lost to Thailand 45-40 at the 28th edition of the SEA Games in Singapore in June. Brunei will continue their campaign at the tournament today against non-ranked Chinese Taipei who upset seventh-ranked India in the qualifying stage.
"We must win against Chinese Taipei… I believe that we have better netball skills than them, but fitness wise, both teams are good," continued Jinadasa. "So once again we need our shooters to maintain their focus and shooting consistency in the next few games. "It has been hard for us in Hong Kong since the weather is very cold and our players have never experienced playing in this condition… I hope they will pull through," she added.
Brunei are grouped alongside Japan, Thailand and Chinese Taipei in the plate competition following their 62-23 win over Abu Dhabi and 55-24 defeat to Singapore in the qualifying stage. Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Singapore and host Hong Kong are in the trophy cup, the main event of the tournament. Meanwhile, India, Maldives and non-ranked Pakistan and Abu Dhabi - who finished last in their respective groups - are competing for the bowl title.
Brunei will go up against ninth-ranked Japan in their third and final match of the plate competition tomorrow. The finals and playoffs will be held on Sunday. Brunei hosted the previous edition of the biennial tournament in 2013, finishing sixth after losing 53-34 to Thailand in the fifth-place match.