NETBALL: Northern Ireland make it two wins from two with victory over Singapore

Kyla Bowman prepares to shoot at goal during Northern Ireland's Nations Cup victory over hosts Singapore
Kyla Bowman prepares to shoot at goal during Northern Ireland's Nations Cup victory over hosts Singapore

Northern Ireland made it two wins from two at netball’s Nations Cup with a deserved victory over hosts Singapore yesterday.

It was a generally impressive performance from the tournament favourites who were well worth their 46-35 triumph.

But coach Julie Kimber admitted afterwards that her side’s shooting stats must improve in order to maximise scoreboard benefit from dominant displays.

Northern Ireland nailed just three out of five chances created in contrast to the Singapore ratio of four from five, though they still won well on this occasion.

Singapore were keen to bounce back from their agonising opening day defeat by Papua New Guinea when Northern Ireland had beaten Botswana.

The girls in green hadn’t been particularly convincing in the opening game but asserted themselves strongly in taking an 11-7 lead by the first break.

They edged the second quarter by a single goal, making it 22-17 at half-time, but Singapore fought hard in evenly splitting the first 14 scores of the third period.

But then Larkfield’s Kyla Bowman, who had come in for younger sibling Jenna in one of two changes to Sunday’s starting seven, reeled off six goals without reply.

That put the 2009 tournament winners in complete control against the original Nations Cup champions and they maintained that double-digit advantage to the end.

Singapore shared the spoils 11-11 in the final period thanks to sub goal-shooter Yasmin Ho netting all nine of her attempts but the result was never in doubt.

Defender Fionnuala Toner had come into the starting team to partner captain Gemma Gibney in what proved a very effective back circle combination.

There was no place for vice-captain Niamh Cooper as Kimber retained the all-Larkfield mid-court trio of Neamh Woods, Caroline O’Hanlon and Laura Mason.

Mason was replaced at half-time by clubmate Michelle Drayne, who was again an impressive sub, while goal attack Sarah Montgomery was a dynamic foil for Bowman up front.

With today’s original opponents Namibia having dropped out just before the tournament, Northern Ireland will now face a Singapore Invitational team.

Kimber has hinted that she use this game and tomorrow’s match with unfancied Chinese Taipei to rotate her resources and spread court-time among the squad of 12.

That should mean first appearances of the tournament for Sinead Redmond of Graduates and Larkfield reserve Kirsty McCammon.