Reported by Zachary Low
Netball is a sport that I know nothing about. This state of ignorance was compounded by the Wikipedia blackout at this point in time. The only thing I knew about netball is that it is a sport played by girls. Armed with this knowledge, I made my way down to the SRC netball courts together with my photo-taking compatriot, the brilliant Lok Liangxun.
At this point I must say that my preconceptions of netball being a game where girls run around waving their arms were sorely mistaken. What I saw on the court from our netball girls was wonderful to behold – I’m talking about the tactical movement, crisp passing, and speedy runs.
As we walked over to the KE7 contingent, our netball captain Tasmin was seen rallying her troops, as winning this game would mean that the netball girls would advance to the semi-finals. As they broke from their team huddle, I was greeted by Unnaa’s exclamation of “you again ah?” Yes, it’s me again.
Fact of the day: in addition to bottles of 100 Plus, the netball team also relies on bowls of tau huay for recovery. Bowls of tau huay were spotted taking a chill pill inside the cooler.
The whistle blew, and the team made its way onto the court for the first of four 10 minute quarters. KE7 began the game passing the ball well, the team working together as a single cohesive unit. This is particularly important in netball, because individual player movement with the ball is extremely limited, accentuating the necessity of organized off-ball movement. KE drew first blood as Akshaya opened the scoring. The first quarter ended with a scoreline of 4-0. As the second quarter started, KE7 remained in control of the game, with Dolly ‘Destroyer’ Khoo (playing the goal attack) dominating the offensive end and Cheryl Siah (playing centre) making her presence felt all over the court.
The second half began with the score at 9-1 in KE7’s favour. With a comfortable cushion, we had the luxury of getting everyone on the team some playing time. Akshaya continued placing the ball in the net with confidence, flashing to the defensive weak side and getting into great position for chances to score. Yet the game was won in the middle third of the court, as Eliza Low (playing wing defense) went on a defensive rampage, showing off her quickness and court awareness as she came out of nowhere to make multiple deflections and steals. This stellar defensive play catalysed KE’s potent attack and led Jamil to label Eliza the ‘Netball Ninja’, a nickname which was readily picked up by the rest of the KE supporters.
As fatigue reared its ugly head in the fourth quarter, our netball girls continued to scrap for every rebound and every loose ball. The repeated chances at the goal led to cries of ‘1 dollar 3 tries!’ from the KE supporters, a common refrain in neighbourhood basketball courts for getting the offensive rebound and attempting yet another shot. KE7 rode this momentum and went on to win the game 17-3. This victory sets the netball girls up for a semi-finals match against the girls in white singlets from Temasek Hall. As always, our hearts and well wishes accompany them as they continue to strive for KE7. Rumour also has it that Tasmin is going to buy the netball girls supper – I recommend that they order butter chicken and garlic naan from Al-Ameen for a nutritious meal.
Quote of the day:
“Holding the goalpost is not allowed!” – the referee, when Akshaya held on to the goalpost to prevent herself from falling down.