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Classy Kyla ramps up NI's bid for Cup glory

By Richard Bullick

Northern Ireland made it two wins from two at the Netball 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 new coach Julie Kimber admitted afterwards that her side's shooting stats must improve 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 to Papua New Guinea. Northern Ireland had beaten Botswana.

The girls in green hadn't been particularly convincing in the opening game but asserted themselves strongly against Singapore 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 champions in complete control against the original Nations Cup winners 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.

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 hinted that she will use this game and tomorrow's match with unfancied Chinese Taipei to rotate her resources.

That may mean first appearances of the trip for Sinead Redmond and Kirsty McCammon.

Belfast Telegraph


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