Netball: Seven-a-side Super League resumes as Dolphins get opening win

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SINGAPORE - There was relief, and also ring rust, as the 2022 Deloitte Netball Super League (NSL) resumed on Saturday (Jan 15) after an 18-month hiatus - the first local league to kick off in full-scale after football's Singapore Premier League.

After multiple postponements caused by the pandemic last year, the NSL went without a hitch on its first day with Covid-19 safe management measures in place.

The games were played in the usual seven-a-side format, a first for the sport as clubs and players have had to modify and adapt to 3v3 games owing to safety measures then limiting the number of participants for team sports.

The tournament opener saw the Blaze Dolphins stage a huge upset over title holders Sneakers Stingrays, winning the tie 58-37.

The Dolphins racked up a five-point lead in the first quarter (17-12) as the Stingrays struggled to cope with their rivals' aggression. There was no let up from the Dolphins in the next three periods, as they outscored their opponents in every quarter before clinching a confidence-boosting first win of the season.

Dolphins coach Wang Jingqing said: "We were very excited and nervous but the team stuck to the game plan well. Overall, I think the team did well and defended well as a team".

In keeping with strict health and safety protocols, the players were not allowed to shower and had to leave the venue within 15 minutes of the end of their matches. The only interaction between the sides were the handshakes before and after the game.

Officials and players also had to undergo antigen rapid tests (ARTs) every day before the matches. No spectators were allowed but all the matches will be streamed live on Netball Singapore's (NS) Facebook page.

NS chief executive Cyrus Medora said: "I am relieved that the league is finally going on after two years. It's about time our elite players started playing again, allowing selectors to scout for the national team ahead of the Asian Championships which will be the qualifier for next year's World Championships in South Africa."

The relief and excitement was echoed by the NSL coaches and players.

Stingrays goal shooter Amandeep Kaur said: "We have been waiting quite some time for it and it's a good opportunity for us to come together as a relatively new team and I am very grateful for it."

Her coach Goh Seck Tuck expressed gratitude to the association for making the effort to allow ...

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