Written by Dean Liaw Yih Hang
Edited by Ong Hui Shan
Netball is a game less known to many, probably because it is overshadowed by its more popular counterpart basketball. Some even feel that netball is less exciting as it is a female-dominated sport – they could not be more wrong. Netball is every bit as fun and challenging as basketball, whether it is from the perspective of the player or spectator. Before we dive into the juicy details of the netball match between KE and EH, a few fast facts about netball: Each team consists of 7 players who each play different positions. These positions are Goal Shooter (GS), Goal Attack (GA), Wing Attack (WA), Centre (C), Wing Defense (WD), Goal Defense (GD) and Goal Keeper (GK). Each position is restricted to certain areas of play on the court, thus making coordination among players extremely important. Important rules include these: the ball cannot be dribbled, and the person handling the ball must not move more than 1 step and must pass it or try to score within 3 seconds.
The IHG netball preliminary between KE and EH was scheduled for 7pm on 17 January at the SRC netball courts. It had been an unbelievably hot day and the grounds were scorched by the raging Singapore sun. When evening came, dark clouds threatened to rain down on the match. Surprisingly, not only did the ominous clouds not pour, they blocked out the sun and provided much relief to our players who were busy warming up for the competition. The referee came in before 7pm to announce a few ground rules. The playing time for the match was to be split into four quarters of ten minutes each, with short breaks in between.
With the blow of a whistle, the game officially started. Before our team had time to react, team Eusoff quickly took control of the ball and scored the first point of the match. There was no stopping EH as they charged through the court scoring goal after goal, gaining a lead early in the game. KE only managed to score their first point halfway through the first quarter. Despite many desperate attempts by KE to stop the onslaught, the EH players still managed to get past the KE defences, even managing to make up to 6 passes without hindrance on several occasions. KE’s GK Yu Wei, being the last line of defence, found herself constantly pitted against EH’s GS and GA, both sharp shooters. Unfortunately, they managed to score almost 9 out of 10 times. At this point, it was already clear where the game was heading: the team from EH was clearly more experienced and skilled. The first quarter ended with EH 15 and KE 1.
After a short break, our players were back on the court ready to strike back. The start of the second quarter saw KE push deep into the EH side of the court. Dolly, KE’s GA, managed to score 2 consecutive goals, and this invited euphoric cheers and applauses from KE supporters. It seemed that the tide was finally turning in favour of KE, but alas, the high was short-lived. That was the last time KE scored in the entire second quarter. KE managed to breach EH defences on a few occasions but never succeeded in scoring. The game was now halfway through and the referee announced a 5 minute break. As the third quarter was being played, more and more KEVIIans made their way down to the netball courts to lend their support. The KE supporter crowd greatly outnumbered that of EH. Shouts of “Go KE!” and “Good try KE!” rang loud and proud throughout the rest of the match. Nevertheless, our players conceded the third quarter with 5 goals against EH’s 45.
By the fourth quarter, team morale was low and it was then when team EH breezed through the court scoring another 10 consecutive goals. As EH let their guard down, the ball was suddenly in the hands of team KE. The crowd watched anxiously as the ball was passed from one KE player to the other – it finally landed in the hands of GA Jen who scored a goal for KE. The crowd who had been waiting on a goal was in uproar. This goal, despite coming in a little late, still lifted the spirits of KEVIIans as the match neared its end.
The game ended around 8pm with the final score of KE losing 63-6 to EH. Both KE and EH exchanged gracious “3 cheers”, and parted amicably. After the taking of team photos, the KE netball team showed their appreciation towards their supporters by giving a deep bow. Despite losing the match, there wasn’t a single frown that night as the KE netball girls gave one another a pat on the back for a game well played.