The national Under-21 netball team pose for a group photo with their medals after finishing second at the South Korea Invitational Netball tournament yesterday. Picture: Courtesy of Brunei Netball Association
THE national Under-21 netball team finished second at the South Korea Invitational Netball tournament yesterday.
The Royal Bees defeated Chinese Taipei 40-27 in their third match earlier before falling 30-23 at the hands of eventual winners Hong Kong to finish second in the round-robin format tournament.
Brunei started their campaign on Saturday with a 57-8 thrashing of Japan before cruising past hosts South Korea 62-5 in their second game the same day. National coach Thilaka Jinadasa was left with mixed emotions after her charges went close to win a tournament for the very first time.
“I am happy with how the girls overcame everything through all the matches, but were so close to winning it this time,” said Jinadasa in an interview with The Brunei Times last night. “It’s good to finish this far in this tournament as Hong Kong is ranked fourth in Asia, so I think the girls have made us all proud,” added the Sri Lankan.
The match against Hong Kong was a close affair from the start at the Jeonju City Multipurpose Hall, with Brunei trailing by two points until the middle of the third-quarter. A series of missed shots in the final quarter eventually cost the Royal Bees their title in the two-day tournament.
“It was a very tough final from the start and we managed to level the score at one point — but our shooters were not accurate enough to handle the pressure from Hong Kong,” continued Jinadasa. “They started missing their shots and recorded a lot of unforced errors in the last quarter, and that was where we lost the finals.
“One the biggest issues we faced in Jeonju was finding halal food for the players and I think the girls were struggling with that too,” she continued. “Despite all that, I am very happy that the girls were still able to secure second,” added Jinadasa, a former Sri Lankan national player who coached her country to gold in the 2009 edition of the Asian Netball Championship (ANC)
Organised by the South Korean Netball Association, Brunei were joined by Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, Japan and host South Korea at the tournament after Abu Dhabi and Philippines pulled out at the last minute.
Brunei’s last outing prior to this tournament was the senior team’s trip to Bangkok for the 10th ANC.
The team finished sixth after losing 58-21 to hosts Thailand.