SINGAPORE: Sneakers won all their five matches in Round 1 of the Deloitte Netball Super League, to top the table with the maximum of 15 points while defending champions Blaze ended the first round in the second spot on 13 points having lost a game to Sneakers in the opening match of the season. Fier Orcas is in third place with nine points, while Swifts are in fourth position with six points, and Llabten and Mannas are at the bottom of the table with a point each.
It was a tantalising start to the 2023 campaign as Sneakers and Blaze displayed mental strength in their match with the former snatching a 51-49 win in the closely fought match at the Our Tampines Hub. With the results, Sneakers were awarded three points and Blaze earned a point for losing the match by less than six goals.
Since that loss, Blaze kept pace with league leader Sneakers as they won their next four matches against Llabten (52-42), Mannas (52-33), Swifts (53-26), and Orcas (54-36). Sneakers also maintained their rhythm at the top, as the rest of the teams had no answer against them. Sneaker’s second match was against Orcas (66-32), before going up against Llabten (73-37). It was comfortable for Sneakers in their next two matches against Mannas and Swifts, winning 63-41, and 65-37 respectively.
With the conclusion of Round 1 matches on Feb 25, six players from the Fiji national netball team joined the local team for the start of Round 2 matches that were played the next day. The players are Sereana Maragi (Sneakers), Nina Nakula (Blaze), Reama Verekautu (Orcas), Jimaima Kete (Swifts), Elina Drikibau (Llabten), and Unaisi Rauluni (Mannas).
“This is especially valuable in the world cup year, where members of the Fiji Pearls squad will have regular game time for a month before coming home to play in the Quad Series at the end of March,” said Netball Fiji CEO Vivian Koster in an interview with The Fiji Times.
Three matches were played last Sunday to kickstart Round 2. There was no revenge for Blaze as they went down for the second time this campaign to Sneakers by a bigger margin, as the league leaders won 64-35. Mannas narrowly lost 49-50 to Orcas and Swifts won 58-41 against Llabten.
Brunei and Thailand national teams will also be featured from Round 2 onwards. They will be playing their first match this week on March 2 at Jurong East Sports Hall. Brunei will be up against Blaze at 7.15 pm, while Thailand will take on Swifts at 8.35 pm. The full Round 2 fixtures can be found below.
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