Official Website of Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council
Brunei lose to Malaysia in SEA Games semis
Sunday, August 20, 2017
National netball team members in action. – INFOFOTO

BRUNEI Darussalam national netball team endured a 70-28 defeat to Malaysia in the semi-finals of the netball event in the 29th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games at the Juara Stadium Bukit Kiara in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

The result confirmed the national netball team a shared bronze with Thailand, who fought bravely in a 55-43 defeat to Singapore in the other semi-final.

Brunei will be awarded their second SEA Games bronze since the previous edition following the conclusion of what promised to be a mouth-watering final between Singapore and Malaysia today.

The Malaysian defence played a huge role in setting up the attacks for the first-choice pairing of An Najwa Azizan and Norashikin Kamalzaman as the quality of the SEA Games hosts was told.

The Royal Bees, intent to recapture the form that led them matching Singapore in the third quarter in the first round, were left trailing by a significant margin as the gold medal favourites registered five consecutive points.

Malaysia’s wing defence Nur Syafazliyana Mohd Ali pushed the ball away as Dayangku Khalisha binti Pengiran Abdul Rahman looked to feed a tightly guarded Nur Ady Elzza Ezrenna binti Sofian.

From the ensuing throw, an overhead pass gave Malaysia’s goal keeper Noramirah Dayana Noor Azhar the opportunity to take control of the ball with her height.

The hosts won the ball back through wing attack Nur Fariha Abdul Razak after Siti Nurul Nazihah binti Awang Haji Hassan’s slipped the ball from her grasps to provide the basis for attack.

But it was the Bruneian defence’s turn this time to show their aerial ability and no-nonsense defending with Nur Syuhaidah Fahriyana binti Haji Sukri winning the ball to give her side possession.

However, their hold of the ball was short-lived after Siti Nurul Nazihah’s throw was blocked by her opposite number Malaysia centre Pow Mei Foong who brought the ball forward to the attacking line.

Brunei finally ended Malaysia’s streak after they were allowed a free pass inside the shooting circle as Nur Ady Elzza converted from a nicely weighed pass from Siti Nurul Nazihah.

The world number 21 enjoyed a procession as with five minutes of the first quarter yet to be played they looked on track of passing past the 20-point mark after leading 17-2.

Brunei encountered an early setback as their far superior opponents outstripped their performance from the first round when they gave the Royal Bees a glimpse of hope with an 18-9 lead.

After taking in a big dismantling in the first quarter, Brunei started proceedings in the second quarter on a positive note as Nur Ady did the honours for their first point of the second quarter.

Brunei had another possession from their own centre pass but Pow Mei Foong had a touch to break the rhythm before team-mate Nur Fariha stole a march to provide her side another opportunity of expanding their insurmountable lead.

It was a surprising miss for Karishma S Loganathan enabling Brunei to take hold off the ball but on the other end of the court Nur Hafizah binti Haji Abdul Sidek missed the chance to put Brunei into a 2-0 lead in the second quarter.

A quick exchange of possession gave Malaysia the chance to get the points on the board in the second quarter after Brunei had got hold off the ball which Karishma made certain of.

Brunei centre Siti Nurul Nazihah dropped the ball as Malaysia again tossed the ball forward and despite getting a pair of hands on some of the passes it found its target Norashikin who sank her shot.

The Royal Bees were awarded a penalty and after a quick play in the box Nur Hafizah who had gained ground missed her shot as the opportunity went begging.

Malaysia swept down their court and Karishma finished off the move to increase their lead and after the umpire’s whistle was given in the favor of Brunei they were again intercepted midcourt.

Despite comfortable scenes, the frequency of scoring was slowing as Malaysia slightly changed their lineup at a tight end but before long Norashikin made another smart finish.

The scoring duties were not entirely placed on the shoulders of Norashikin but were also distributed to her attacking partner Karishma who produced successive stunners from quite a remarkable distance.

Brunei started to find some rhythm as they conjured three straight points and closing in the 10-goal mark but Karishma who has been in free- scoring mood took down one for Malaysia.

Malaysia were penalised for a step as Brunei got the ball back but good defending from the former succeeded in Zuraidah’s succumbing in the pressure.

Malaysia’s attacking duo or the defensive pairing were not the only ones giving Brunei a cause of concern as wing attack Nur Fariha was in inspiring form with a turnover just as when Brunei were forming a shape for another potential point.

Malaysia were so swift in making the transition as head coach Tracey Robinson found how useful Nur Fariha in inspiring play by making the switch by assigning her in a centre role.

With the height of the Malaysian defence a major disadvantage, it was always going to be a huge risk to spring the ball across the court but Brunei earned possession after Malaysia could only steer the ball out of play.

Despite the obvious difficulties, Nur Hafizah left Malaysia’s goal defence Noramirah stranded with an absolute cracker to lift her Brunei team who are 26 points down in the second quarter.

Brunei enjoyed one of their rare bright spells in the game as their centre played a pass for Nur Ady Elzza whose shot bounced off the rim which was helped in by Nur Hafizah with a successful long-range attempt.

Brunei’s conversion rate may have cost them the opportunity to surpass the 30-goal barrier highlighted by Nur Hafizah’s miss in the fringes of the second quarter as Siti Nor Farhana Mustafa collected the rebound.

Brunei had certainly done well in this stage compared to the first period as they kept Malaysia’s goal-shooter Norashikin quiet with partner-in-crime Karishma raking in the points and her subsequent miss could provide some hope for their future opponents’.

Malaysia produced a sequence of passes with Norashikin completing the second quarter with her side’s 39th goal of the game.

The reigning Asian Netball Championships holders looked to be in cruise control following a massive 25-point haul in the first quarter but changes in the line-up led to increased effort in the defence for Brunei to slow down the charge.

Malaysia’s goal shooter An Najwa effort needed three bounces on the rim before rippling into the net as they continued to build their big lead putting Brunei’s hopes of minimizing the score in vain.

Brunei were intercepted again and Karishma seized on the advantage and despite missing her initial shot made no mistake with the loose ball as Malaysia’s point tally grew to 64, the same score they produced in the first round with more than four minutes to spare.

As the ball floated in towards An Najwa, Nur Syuhaidah managed to catch it but the regional powerhouses grabbed hold of the ball to convert a routine point.

Brunei substitute Siti Marhayati Ahmad’s attempt was short of the net leaving Malaysia the opportunity to pour the ball forward in search of yet another point which they duly converted.

Nur Hafizah missed a shot to make it within one goal of the 30-point mark enabling Siti Nor Farhana to launch one final attack for her relentless side a chance in the final ten seconds to establish a 70-point mark easily bettering their performance from the first round.

Courtesy from Borneo Bulletin