HK OPEN NATIONAL TEAM - Coach's report

14 Sept

3rd/4th Play-off: After our loss to Sri Lanka, we had a short turn around time to prepare for Malaysia.  Malaysia plays a completely different style to Sri Lanka so we had to really adjust our game plan going into the match.  Malaysians were another team with lots of experience (combined total of 310 international caps) and most of them have come through the Bukit Jalil Sports School which is coached by their current National Coach.  So they have a great understanding of each other's play and movements.  We matched the Malaysians for first half with nervous starts from both shooting end. Half time score we were down 23 to 15. 

Their defence end went hard at the ball and our players didn't match it and dropped some contested balls and a few more unforced errors crept in. We started the 3rd quarter with first 3 goals and then Malaysians score 5 in a row and our attach end was looking a bit tired and was a bit static.  We needed to call an injury time out to put some fresh legs on and to give the attack end a bit more movement. 

We had to give it a go in the last quarter and I put two fresh legs on Emma Gregory into GA and Rita Hanaronnachai in the C which gave us the movement we needed in our attack end and pay quick dividends straight away.  Although we won the last quarter 16 to 10, the gap was too far and we ended up losing the game 50 to 39.


13 Sept

Semi-Final day:  After a nervous start from our shooters, shooting at 56% in the first quarter, we were down by 6 gaols (9-15).  The Sri Lankans double teamed on our GS (Krystle) and forced young GA Angela Chan to take the mid range shots.  The HK team persisted with our game plan and went out hard in the 2nd quarter and the shooters got into their rhythm bouncing back to shoot 14 from 19 at 74% and Sri Lankans were restricted to 12 attempts (scoring 9).  Credit to our full court defence and our leaders Jessica McCauley and Ellie Stanley doing a good job against the two tall Sri Lankans shooters.  Half time score, we got back to one goal down (23-24). We turned over the ball a lot and continuously to put relentless pressure full court but unfortunately we couldn't capitalised and finished with the shots and shot at 58% for the quarter (11/19) and SL 13/14.  With just 3 down going into the fourth quarter, we were pumped and ready to fight it out for the last 15 minutes.  But two unforced errors in our first 2 centre passes gave the ball to SL who scored quickly.  The SL scored 6 straight goals before we scored our first one and then they scored another 11 goals before we scored our second goal of the quarter.  By the time an injury time-out was called, it was too late. 

The total number of international caps for Sri Lankan team was 433 and HK was 126 before the Asian Champs.  Lack of experience  and possibly match fitness was probably our downfall in the last quarter which is no fault to the players, unfortunately in HK, we don't have injury- time and only playing 12 minutes quarters. 

So overall I was disappointed with the end scoreline as the match was much closer then it indicated and the players deserved a better recognition.   We ended up having the same number of attempts with the SL (65 attempts) and they shot at 88% (mostly closed range) and we shot at 65%.  We fought hard to cause the upset of the century but it wasn't to be. Now our World Cup dream is over and we have to regroup and gather ourselves for the 3rd/4th match play-off against Malaysia tomorrow who also have a hard fought game in their semi-final against Singapore.

10 Sept

Day 4:  HK fought hard right to the end but was outclassed in the end by Singapore who was able to play their fast paced game and ran out winners 63 to 28.  The scoreline did not indicate the competitiveness of the match and we made a few unforced errors at the beginning of the match which allowed Singapore to take a handy lead 15 to 8 after first quarter.  The stadium was very pro Singapore as expected and some of our players took awhile to adjust to the big occasion.    We never experience anything like that in HK and to be put under that sort of pressure was quite tough for us.  
Mid- courters Rachael Wilcock and Grace Yuen worked tirelessly in the middle to try to generate some drives and pace in our game. However on several occasions in each quarter, we have lapses and allowed Singapore to score some quick goals to extend the margin.    Changes were made at half time trialling by 11 goals but the players did not adjust to the pace of the game quick enough and made no impact on the game.   

The positives to take from this is that we never stopped trying and worked hard throughout the 60 minutes of the game.   Also 11 out of the 12 players got on court and were able to get a feel of what it's like at  the 'next level' and know what is expected from them to prepare them for the semis.   In previous games, we got away with a lot of things like accuracy of passes, timing of leads, intensity of our leads etc but against a top side, we need to be more clinical in those areas.  

We look forward to the two rest days and will go and watch the Sri Lanka vs Malaysia game closely tomorrow as we will be playing the winning team in the Semis.  Our Semis will be on Saturday at 5pm.  

9 Sept

HK recorded another big win against newcomers Vietnam 80 to 17.  HK was outstanding from the first whistle and lead 23 to 4 after first quarter.  We had a business-like approach and went out there and got the job done in a convincing style.  This win has consolidated our spot in the Semi-Finals.   We are ready to take on host and defending champions, Singapore tomorrow night at 7pm.   This will be our 4th game in a row and Singapore had a rest day today.  But I've managed to rotate our players and were able to share the workload around and kept the players relatively fresh for tomorrow.

We will need to raise our standard and intensity to a whole new level.  Singapore is a classy side with pace and structures and very experienced at international stage compared to us. However I think we match up quite well against them and we had a good tussle with them when we came here for a training tour back in July.   We will really need to stick to the game plan and play to our strengths.  

8 Sept

HK played a very determined Japan team today who was quick with their ball work and played the possession game for most of the game.  They played a high possession game and kept the ball low so it was tough defending that style of attack which we are not very used to.  The HK girls managed to adjust and were eventual winners 66 to 24.

We have another must win game against new comers Vietnam tomorrow and then we face No 1 rank Singapore on Wednesday.  We need to make sure we cement our win tomorrow by playing our style of netball but with opportunity to hopefully rest some players for the big game against Singapore.    

7 Sept - Coach's Report

Day 1: HK (rank 4th in Asia) had a huge win over India (rank 5th in Asia) 84 to 17.   HK team had 104 attempts at shot, shooting at 81% and we restricted the Indians to just 28 attempts, shooting at 61%.   Co-vice captain Krystle Edwards shot a team high 48 out of 57 at 84%.  To keep the Indians to just 28 attempts in 60 minutes of netball was a result of full court defence which created turnovers and intercepts from our defenders.
Our main focus for this game was to really go out hard in the first quarter.  Be relentless when we are in defence and  be in control when we have the ball.  We achieved that and outscored India 23 to 5.  This allowed us to run out our combinations and also to make sure everyone have got their 'first game' experience under their belt.  

I made changes at every interval so the girls did well  to keep our intensity and momentum throughout each quarter. Qrt 2: 16 -5, Qrt 3: 21-5, Qrt 4: 24-5.    There are a few areas where we can still improve on and we got away with a few things today that we probably won't against a tougher opposition.   So yes I am pleased to get this win and we will always continue to look to improve and continue to build and be ready for the business end of the tournament.

Next game is Japan (Rank 7th in Asia) at 3pm tomorrow.  Another must win game for us.   Japan is very passionate and quite fast with their ball work and movement.  Their style is very different to India so we will need to adjust our game to overcome them.