By Lorna Campbell
The victorious Nike Marlins team. (Photo courtesy of Lorna Campbell)
Toa Payoh Sports Hall, Saturday, April 28, 2012 — The Nike Marlins beat the Blaze Dolphins 52-39 to win the 13th edition of the FairPrice Foundation Netball Super League. It was a repeat of the 2011 final and the defending champions proved again to be the better team to also win a cheque for S$10,000.
The 52-39 final score line did not reflect the end to end battle that took place for three of the four quarters. It was only in the final period of play that Nike Marlins showed their strength, winning it 20-8 to pull out of reach.
The teams have met twice in the league this year with both results going in Marlins’ favour – 57-48 and 53-24 – but the Dolphins had nothing to lose as underdogs and kept the pressure on for 60 minutes.
The added presence of some African flare in the shape of Botswana internationals, Tebogo Radipotsane (Blaze GS) and Kagisano Mawela (Marlins GK), made the on-court battle even tougher and Radipotsane got Blaze off to the start they’d been hoping for with some strong holding of space and accurate shooting. The Blaze led 14-10 after the opening quarter.
Marlins looked to fight back in the second with Captain Jean Ng coming into defence as GK alongside Mawela who moved to GD. Dolphins Captain Lin Qingyi (GD) worked hard at the other end of the court with Huang Meixin (GK) to keep the Marlins shooters at bay but they settled into their rhythm and won the quarter 13-8 for a one point 23-22 advantage at half time.
The Marlins were still only one point ahead after the third quarter but Yu Mei Ling and Pamela Liew contributed points in the final quarter for the Marlins to wrap up the win.
Winning captain, Jean Ng, was delighted with the victory.
She said: “It is fantastic to win and do it two years running is even better. Last year we showed our potential and this year we really fulfilled it. It is great for the team.”
Dolphins captain Lin reflected on her team’s effort, saying: “Reaching the final was beyond my expectations for the team and today we started really strongly but faded in the final quarter and Nike Marlins came back at us really hard. It was a good match and it’s been a great season for us.”
The 2012 national open squad of 18 players was also announced after the final. They will train in preparation for this year’s Asian Championships which are being held in Sri Lanka in August, and the year-ending Nations Cup in Singapore. 12 players from this squad will be selected for each tournament.
National Open Squad
Chen Huifen (Blaze Dolphins)
Chen Li Li (Mission Mannas)
* Premila Hirubalan
Suhailah Bte Kariman (Mission Mannas)
Shelby Koh (M1 Starfish)
Kwok Shuyi ( M1 Starfish)
* Vanessa Lee
Pamela Liew (Nike Marlins)
Lin Qingyi (Blaze Dolphins)
Natalie Long (Mission Mannas)
Jean Ng (Nike Marlins)
Nurul Baizura (M1 Starfish)
* Charlene Porima
Melissa Teo (M1 Starfish)
Cassandra Soh (M1 Starfish)
Charmaine Soh (Mission Mannas)
* Melody Teo (Nike Marlins)
Yu Meiling (Nike Marlins)
* Overseas based
1st: Nike Marlins
2nd: Blaze Dolphins
3rd: Mission Mannas
4th: M1 Starfish
5th: Sneakers Stingrays
6th: Bedok Kings Vipers
MVP International — Ntebogang Motlakaleso (M1 Starfish)
MVP Shooter — Chen Huifen (Blaze Dolphins)
MVP Centre Court Player — Nurul Liyane (Nike Marlins)
MVP Defender — Serene Lim (M1 Starfish)
MVP Coach — Yap Hui Kim (Nike Marlins)
Umpire Award — Eric Lee