Tag: Khadijah Williams

Memorable Matches: Sunshine Girls defeat Silver Ferns – 2018 Comm Games

WITH netball taking a back seat to coronavirus in 2020, Draft Central is taking a look at memorable matches in world netball history. Next up is Jamaica’s bronze medal win over New Zealand at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, after missing out on the gold medal match by the slimmest of margins. 

It was a period of rebuilding for New Zealand, and this loss almost felt like the tail on the end of years of frustration for the nation, which had never failed to make a final before, let alone miss out on a medal overall. But for Jamaica, this was the culmination of years of edging closer to the title, and while it was the nation’s third bronze medal it was the first Commonwealth Games win against the Ferns, proving the Sunshine Girls could push any team to its limit on their day.

The two sides battled mercilessly throughout, with neither really able to snatch onto momentum for the full match. There was arguably a scoring end with majority of both teams’ scoreboard impact hitting in alternating quarters, with Jamaica dominating the first and third, drawing out a strong lead on both occasions, while New Zealand fought back during the second and fourth quarters to no avail. With quality shooting targets up opposing ends with the likes of Maria Folau, Jhaniele Fowler and Romelda Aiken finding plenty of the ball, the Jamaicans were a fraction cleaner. Khadijah Williams (20 assists from 31 feeds) zipped around as she does best, with the wing attack using her quick footwork to out-position the likes of Sam Winders and Claire Kersten and open up space for both Shanice Beckford (15 goals, 16 assists) and Adean Thomas. While Ferns goal keeper Temalisi Fakahokotau was more than up for the challenge lining up on Fowler and Aiken respectively, it was her penalty count that got the Ferns in trouble, racking up 24 penalties (18 contacts) in her 49 minutes on court. Katrina Rore’s respective cleanliness could not make up the numbers, with the usually tenacious defender failing to have her usual impact.

It was inaccuracy that plagued the Ferns throughout, unable to be their typical cool, calm and collected selves under the post thanks to the phenomenal defensive effort from the Sunshine girls. While Jamaica’s shooting was not at 100 per cent either, the side was far cleaner with the ball in the attack and more careful with the shot where New Zealand wasted attempts from further out than they wanted. Young gun Shamera Sterling was well up to the task in defence for the Sunshine Girls, and was still really an unknown quantity, able to cherry pick the ball with ease and slow down the Ferns’ speedy frontline. Despite Sterling’s dominance, Folau still managed to rack up 34 goals but ultimately was unable to hold up the attack end on her own as both Bailey Mes and Ameliaranne Ekenasio failed to make a real threatening impact on the match, both sitting in the 60s for goal accuracy. Grace Kara was electric around the circle, and while she only assisted 24 goals from her 40 feeds into the circle, she provided a consistent effort on the edge to keep Jodi-Ann Ward busy and cause some confusion for defenders. Meanwhile Vangelee Williams started out in wing defence but rotated back to goal defence after the first, adding another element to the defensive circle and certainly a more robust defender at the post. Williams and Sterling combined for 14 gains between them and while five of those were rebounds, it was their positioning and constant pressure that allowed the duo to find that front space to find the loose ball.

While the Ferns sported a high class team, their experience was outweighed by Jamaica’s tried and true connections down the court, firing on all cylinders and using their flair to rack up the deflections and intercepts. While both teams had highly talented defensive attributes, Jamaica collected more gains (21 versus 17) and 13 more deflections than the Ferns. While not all the deflections resulted in gains, every time the Sunshine Girls got hands to ball they put more doubt in the Ferns’ minds, not looking back as they dominated defensively. With two highly strung teams pushing to prove something, all signs of cleanliness went out the window. Both teams racked up over 70 penalties apiece, something almost unheard of especially on the international stage, combining for a whopping 147 penalties throughout.

NEW ZEALAND 11 | 16 | 12 | 16 (55)
JAMAICA 15 | 14 | 17 | 14 (60)

New Zealand

GS: Bailey Mes
GA: Maria Folau
WA: Grace Kara
C: Shannon Saunders
WD: Sam Winders
GD: Katrina Rore
GK: Temalisi Fakahokotau

BENCH: Ameliaranne Ekenasio, Kelly Jury, Claire Kersten, Te Paea Selby-Rickit, Michaela Sokolich-Beatson
COACH: Janine Southby

Jamaica

GS: Jhaniele Fowler
GA: Shanice Beckford
WA: Khadijah Williams
C: Adean Thomas
WD: Vangelee Williams
GD: Stacian Facey
GK: Shamera Sterling

BENCH: Romelda Aiken, Nicole Dixon, Rebekah Robinson, Paula Thompson, Jodi-Ann Ward
COACH: Sasher Henry

SHOOTING STATS

NEW ZEALAND

Maria Folau 34/44
Bailey Mes 12/20
Ameliaranne Ekenasio 9/13

JAMAICA

Romelda Aiken 24/31
Jhaniele Fowler 21/22
Shanice Beckford 15/18

Fantasy teams: New Zealand A v. Jamaica

NEW Zealand have steadily developed the next tier of players over the past couple of years with coach Noeline Taurua taking a clear look to the future of the Silver Ferns as shown with the New Zealand A team. Pitted up against a developing yet strong Jamaican team the battle sees a variety of up and coming stars as well as some experienced and well-versed international players.

New Zealand A:

GK: Sulu Fitzpatrick
GD: Kayla Cullen
WD: Sam Winders
C: Kimiora Poi
WA: Whitney Souness
GA: Tiana Metuarau
GS: Maia Wilson

BENCH: Ellie Bird, Maddy Gordon, Temalisi Fakahokotau

Starting in defence is Pulse premiership player and electrifying goal keeper Sulu Fitzpatrick. The defender is quick on her feet, can leap into action in a heartbeat given her impressive hops and is extremely dynamic both in the air and at ground level. Accompanying her is former Silver Fern and lanky defender Kayla Cullen who oozes nothing but class. She can ply her trade in goal defence, goal keeper or wing defence such is her netball understanding, versatility, strong movement and read of the play making life hard for opposition attackers.

The midcourt is littered with nimble and speedy players that are renowned for their ability to dart around the court and cause havoc. Wing defence, Sam Winders knows what it takes to play at the highest level having stepped out on court for the Ferns multiple times. Her defensive pressure, three-foot marking and ability to shadow attackers makes her a daunting prospect for many as she is constantly on the lookout for her next intercept or tip. Energiser bunny, Kimiora Poi gets the nod at centre with the 168cm nippy midcourter able to exploit every tiny bit of space and use her speed to burn off opponents. Her quick hands into the circle also allows her to catch defenders off guard and deliver pin point passes into the shooters. Partner in crime, Whitney Souness takes out the wing attack position. Although she plays a similar role to Poi given their speed and dynamic movement, her strength around the circle edge and general ball placement to feed into the circle makes her a promising prospect for New Zealand netball.

Looking into the goal circle there is no shortage of talent headlined by the likes of Northern Stars goaler in the ANZ Premiership, Maia Wilson. The 22-year-old has come along in leaps and bounds with her strong holds, and clever footwork, while her impressive rebounding ability, high volume of shorts and accuracy to post are just a couple of key components in her game play. Out in goal attack is Tiana Metuarau who much like her other teammates has developed at a rate of knots with her impressive timing along the baseline and skill with ball in hand. Metuarau has speed to burn, is confident in the attacking third and is not afraid to take the game on.

Rounding out the squad is physical and ball winning defender Temalisi Fakahokotau, speedster Maddy Gordon and holding goaler Ellie Bird.

Jamaica:

GK: Shamera Sterling
GD: Jodi-Ann Ward
WD: Vangelee Williams
C: Adean Thomas
WA: Nicole Dixon
GA: Shanice Beckford
GS: Jhaniele Fowler

BENCH: Romelda Aiken, Khadijah Williams, Kadie-Ann Dehaney

There is no denying that the Sunshine Girls are bookended with top tier talent, able to turn a game on its head in a matter of seconds. Down in defence, Shamera Sterling leads the way with the long-limbed defender able to get a hand in everything that comes her way. Her ability to read the play, take a screaming intercept and constantly reject the ball from entering the goal circle is second to none. Out in goal defence, Jodi-Ann Ward plays a less flashy role than her defensive counterpart but still has an undeniable influence with her quick footwork, strong hands over pressure and court coverage to force timely turnovers. Ward is also very versatile able to move into wing defence and goal keeper when needed, giving her that competitive edge.

The midcourt is quite dynamic with all three players possessing plenty of speed to run opponents off their feet. The defensive minded Vangelee Williams is constantly on the hunt for an intercept with the wing defence able to read the play effortlessly and drop into the holes across the court. She is strong around circle edge to create tips and block easy access into the attacking third. Moving into centre is Adean Thomas with the 173cm midcourter able to take the ball at full speed and stop on a dime credit to her control and balance. Thomas is an exciting player to watch, able to light up the court with her playmaking style, dynamic footwork and vision into the circle. Similarly, Nicole Dixon plays with plenty of attacking flair able to find her fair share of space around the circle edge and deliver the ball into the goalers. She is quick off the mark and hardly ever stands still, always looking to work the angles and be an option in the attacking third.

Goal attack Shanice Beckford has speed and skill to boot, able to get under the feet of opposition defenders and command the ball despite her small stature. She is not afraid to back herself under or away from the post and is a real playmaker for Jamaica. Standing tall in goal shooter is Jhaniele Fowler with the 198cm goaler a commanding presence under the post. Her strength in the air is almost unmatchable, constantly reeling down any high balls, and using her body to ward off any oncoming defenders. She is hardly ever fazed by the defensive pressure and puts up a high volume of goals at an even higher accuracy.

On the bench is fellow towering goaler Romelda Aiken, along with dynamic midcourter Khadijah Williams and the ever-reliable Kadie-Ann Dehaney.

Who would win?

Boasting a slightly stronger midcourt group the New Zealand A team have the upper hand in the middle third with the likes of Winders, Poi and Souness all strong options. While Jamaica ooze nothing but class in both the goal keeper and goal shooter positions thanks to Sterling and Fowler it comes down to whether or not the Sunshine Girls can get on top of Wilson and Fitzpatrick to really romp it home something they definitely have the capability to do. With speed to boot and an uncanny intercepting ability Jamaica have a clear upper hand when it comes to not only connections across the court but so too scoring prowess.

Memorable Matches: South Africa defeat Jamaica – NWC 2019

WITH netball taking a back seat to coronavirus in 2020, Draft Central is taking a look at memorable matches in world netball history. Next up is South Africa SPAR Proteas’ stellar three goal victory over Jamaica at the 2019 Netball World Cup. Then world number two nation, Jamaica lost to the Spar Proteas for only the third time, seeing South Africa top Pool C heading into the preliminary rounds.

It was a spectacular start that kept the Proteas ahead from the get-go, limiting every opportunity the Sunshine Girls had to get goals and the board and forcing plenty of errors. While Jamaica has a wealth of talent bookending the court, where they lack some star-power is through the midcourt which is where they were well and truly beaten by South Africa.

The first half went all the way of the South Africans, leading by more than 10 goals at the main change. While it was partially down to the impressive scoreboard pressure the Proteas applied, full credit had to go to the defensive efforts of Karla Pretorius and Phumza Maweni, with the pair denying every opportunity into the goal circle. Where Jhaniele Fowler is a major target at the post for Jamaica, Maweni well and truly shut her down while Pretorius kept the likes of Shanice Beckford away from her range.

Pretorius racked up three intercepts and four gains throughout. A real workhorse through the middle of the court, Erin Burger impressed with her ability to impact on and off the ball and propel the play forward, with Bongi Msomi doing what she does best in attack, running laps around her opposition to hand ball on a silver platter to Lenize Potgieter, who shot 19 goals alone in the first half – only two less than the Sunshine Girls did overall. 

But while the first half was all down to South Africa, Jamaica came out flying to well and truly outscore the Proteas in the second half. A massive 17 goal to 10 third quarter allowed the Sunshine Girls to power their way back into the game, only down by four goals by the final change. Burger was well matched in the second half by Nicole Dixon in at centre, while Vangelle Williams did whatever was necessary to limit Msomi’s impact by blocking her every move – but racking up the penalties as she did so, collecting 16 penalties out at wing defence, only two and one less than respective goal keepers, Sterling (19) and Maweni (18). Khadijah Williams racked up the 21 goal assists to form a threatening combination with Beckford feeding into the circle, racking up 12 alone in the second half.

Where goal keeper Shamera Sterling had a messy first half she cleaned up her act later, only picking up the eight penalties in the second half to pull back the margin, but was not entirely able to limit Potgieter’s silky movement at the post. Sterling only picked up the two intercepts across the entire game, with South Africa aware of the goal keeper’s ability to pluck ball out of the air with ease and able to poke holes in the defensive play.

Fowler dominated at the post with ease in the second half, drawing penalties from the long-limbed Maweni and shooting 23 goals at 100 per cent accuracy to keep Jamaica in the game. It was South Africa’s dominant defensive effort that kept them afloat even when Jamaica came out flying in the second half, with five Proteas collecting an intercept to their name. Where the Proteas racked up elements of defensive pressure, they also kept down the penalties, maintaining the defensive without the physicality. 

The last quarter was neck and neck with neither side really able to grab the momentum, seeing the score see-saw as each team took advantage of their centre pass. But a vital turnover or two allowed South Africa to always stay one step ahead of Jamaica, never conceding a goal for the Sunshine Girls to take the lead. While the defensive pressure was what saw the game come down to the close margin in the end, the phenomenal scoreboard pressure applied by both goal shooters saw the game come down to the wire with little to separate the two stars.

Fowler missed just the one goal all match for 38 goals at 97 per cent accuracy, while Potgieter was just as solid with 36 from 39 attempts. Their respective goal attacks in Beckford and Maryka Holtzhausen were not quite as accurate, shooting at 74 and 66 per cent respectively, but it was their ability to evade their opposition and assist their goal shooter that allowed them both to still have an impact.

JAMAICA 9 | 12  | 17 | 12 (52)
SOUTH AFRICA 16 | 16 | 10 | 13 (55) 

STARTING SEVEN

Jamaica
GS: Jhaniele Fowler
GA: Shanice Beckford
WA: Khadijah Williams
C: Nicole Dixon
WD: Vangelee Williams
GD: Stacian Facey
GK: Shamera Sterling

BENCH: Adean Thomas, Jodiann Ward, Romelda Aiken, Kadie-Ann Dehaney, Rebekah Robinson
COACH: Marvette Anderson, Sasher-Gaye Henry

 

South Africa

GS: Lenize Potgieter
GA: Maryka Holtzhausen
WA: Bongiwe Msomi
C: Erin Burger
WD: Khanyisa Chawane
GD: Karla Pretorius
GK: Phumza Maweni

BENCH: Shadine van der Merwe, Sigi Burger, Izette Griesel, Renske Stoltz, Zanele Vimbela
COACH: Norma Plummer

SHOOTING STATS

Jamaica
Jhaniele Fowler 38/39
Shanice Beckford 14/19

South Africa
Lenize Potgieter 36/39
Maryka Holtzhausen 19/29

2020 Nations Cup: Breakout performances

THE Nations Cup brought plenty of excitement with each nation boasting very talented line-ups filled with a host of young up and coming prospects. We take a look at each country and identify one key player that made a name for themselves on the international stage throughout the competition.

England – Eleanor Cardwell (GS/GA)

In a new look line-up the talented goaler made a lasting imprint on the Roses outfit with her composure and skill. The typical goal shooter was forced out of her comfort zone throughout games, pulling on the goal attack bib and plying her trade in the attacking third. She showcased her versatility and netball nous to read the play and use her height to full effect. Cardwell was not afraid to go to post, backing herself from range and swinging the ball around the circle edge to reposition under the post. The shooter positioned cleverly to gobble up any rebounds that came her way and used her feet to hold space under the post. It was a real testament to her mindset, able to come on and have an impact when things were not going to plan and adapting her game play to suit the needs of the Roses. Her connection with fellow goaler George Fisher is one to watch for future years with the duo finding good space, while her work with Kadeen Corbin was also solid.

Jamaica – Nicole Dixon (C/WA)

Dixon was one of the most consistent players through the midcourt for the Sunshine Girls with the 24-year-old using her speed and light frame to evade opponents across the court. The talented midcourter found plenty of space in the attacking third, hitting the circle edge with pace and precision. She used a variety of passes to shake up her deliveries into the circle and grew with confidence throughout the Nations Cup. She backed herself in the contest, unfazed by the extensive experience of opposing midcourters and worked well with Khadijah Williams to identify the space and capitalise. Dixon racked up the centre pass receives, using her footwork and dynamism to win the ball and weave it down the court.

New Zealand – Maia Wilson (GS)

It was a real coming of age game for the 22-year-old goal shooter. Wilson has been up there in the past couple years using her height and strength to claim prime positioning under the post but this tournament gave her the podium to well and truly shine. Her footwork and accuracy under the post were key aspects to her game and she was unfazed by the physical presence of opposition defenders. Her connection with captain, Ameliaranne Ekenasio was impressive with the two rotating through the circle seamlessly while creating blocks and holds to create easy access to goal. Wilson went from strength to strength throughout the Nations Cup, showcasing her range in the goal circle and high netball IQ to consistently provide an option in the attacking third. Her output was high, posting up plenty of shots and most importantly capitalising on her opportunities. Wilson is definitely a player to watch in the future, finding her feet against some of the world’s best defenders and growing with confidence.

South Africa – Rome Dreyer (C/WA)

With Erin Burger retiring, the reins to the midcourt were up for grabs and Rome Dreyer put her hand up. The talented midcourt player upped the ante throughout the Nations Cup using her change of pace to have an impact across the court. Still developing her craft, Dreyer showcased both her defensive and attacking tendencies to win ball back for her side or deliver well-weighted passes into the circle. Although costly at times, the midcourter has plenty of potential and could become the key cog in the midcourt for the Spar Proteas in years to come.

2020 Nations Cup: Jamaica stuns a stacked South African side

South Africa (54) defeated by Jamaica (59)

It was a frantic final minute with South Africa looking to do the unthinkable and snatch victory from Jamaica, but the Sunshine Girls stood strong securing a four-goal win to kick start their international campaign. Jamaica flew out of the blocks early pushing their opposition into chase position from the get-go thanks to their slick and patient ball movement.

The Spar Proteas were not afraid to play around with positions, with Lenize Potgieter donning the goal attack bib in the first quarter. Although it took her some time to find her feet Potgieter built into the game, using her netball nous and strong holds to hit the scoreboard. Paired with Ine-Mari Venter, the two showed they have plenty of skill but at times struggle with movement in the goal circle given their holding tendencies. The defensive combination of Kadie-Ann Dehaney and Shamera Sterling was near on unstoppable given their prowess in the air and at ground level. Renowned for their ability to read the play and take an intercept the two consistently delivered, using their feet to get around the body of the opponent and use their long reach over the shot to cause doubt. The Proteas struggled to combat the speed and decision making of Jamaica, constantly on the back foot and unable to find their normal rhythm across the court. Jamaica established a six-goal lead heading into quarter time credit to their clever play and strong defensive play setting them up for a dominant game.

With the defence end, solid Jhaniele Fowler upped the ante under the goal post with the towering goal shooter making light work of Phumza Maweni. The South African goal keeper was on the receiving end of a lot of whistle, bodying up on Fowler and causing contact which ultimately gifted the Sunshine Girls with any easy passage to goal. The work of Nicole Dixon and Khadijah Williams through the midcourt was impressive, constantly identifying the space and delivering the ball into Fowler time and time again. Their turn of pace helped to give them that edge against South Africa with both players driving hard to create space. The connection between the Spar Proteas defensive trio was solid with Shadine van der Merwe plying her trade through the midcourt and down back using her speed to fly through for an intercept. As the game went on the partnership of Venter and Potgieter blossomed with the two rotating through with more ease and choosing the right time to hold or move, while also showcasing that accuracy was not an issue capitalising on their opportunities. Despite the attack end stabilizing, Jamaica were still in full control using the angles to transition down the court and ball speed.

Despite a commanding lead Jamaica made a couple of changes with Sterling switching into her preferred position of goal keeper and Latanya Wilson coming on in goal defence. Ward had an immediate impact, getting involved in the transition and applying strong hands over pressure to block Potgieter’s view. South Africa also rung in the changes with Potgieter dropping back into goal shooter while Lefébre Rademan pulled on the goal attack bib. Rademan offered speed and agility in the goal circle forcing the new Jamaican defensive unit to rethink their approach. Wing attack and speedster Bongi Msomi was crucial through the midcourt for the Proteas, working the ball down the court and weaving in and out of the pocket to make space in the attacking third. But Jamaica was unfazed by the changes, sticking to the basics and thinking through everything their opposition threw at them. By three quarter time the Sunshine Girls held a 12-goal lead credit to their dominant performance across each third.

After a disappointing third term, South Africa came out with a fire in the belly and increased intensity. Goal defence and live wire Karla Pretorius upped the ante hunting the ball at every opportunity and limiting the movement of Shanice Beckford who had the best of her in the previous quarters. Through the midcourt Rome Dreyer lifted her game, using her precision passing and vision to deliver pin point passes into Potgieter and Rademan. The increased movement in the goal circle opened up more options for the Proteas with the two shooters relishing the extra space and causing headaches for the Jamaican defenders. Up the other end, Jamaica brought on Shimona Nelson with the young shooter making the most of her opportunities, holding strong and using her aerial ability to reel in passes. But despite the moment being well and truly with South Africa they left their run too late, with Jamaica running out comfortably.

2020 Nations Cup Preview: Jamaica

WITH the Nations Cup set to commence on Sunday we take a look at how each team is faring up heading into the first international tournament of 2020. It is the inaugural time this competition will take place with England, South Africa, Jamaica and New Zealand all set to do battle in hope to claim the Nations Cup. Jamaica have opted for a similar line-up to the World Cup while adding in some unknown quantities.

Overview:
After a relatively disappointing 2019 international campaign where they did not live up to the expectation and hype of many netball fans, expect Jamaica to come out with a point to prove and a real fire in the belly. All three opposition nations got the better of them during the World Cup and that will be something they hope to rectify in the Nations Cup given the star power they have across the court. The Sunshine Girls ooze plenty of flair and excitement but struggle to maintain that intensity for a solid four quarters, making them a difficult team to match up against. If they are on song early they can really trouble the opposing countries given their solid defensive and attacking units, however their inexperienced midcourt could be their eventual downfall.

Who’s missing?
Queensland Firebirds goal shooter, Romelda Aiken has not made the journey over to England for the upcoming tour. Although she was not often given the start, the talented goaler was a real impact player, able to burst on the court and add to the tally with ease. Aiken is a commanding force in the goal circle, often letting her athleticism and long reach do the talking and could be sorely missed in the attacking half if things are not going to plan. The defensive duo of Vangelee Williams and Stacian Facey are also set to miss the Nations Cup. The two offer a wealth of experience down back while also contributing to the midcourt flow with their attacking mindset. Williams thrives on the physicality, able to body up on her opponents while Facey can take a strong intercept. Another player missing through the midcourt is Adean Thomas with the versatile centre court player able to rotate through wing attack, centre and wing defence. With a less experienced midcourt it will be hard to replace the calibre of Thomas, who can think her way through the pressure and deliver well weighted passes into the shooters.

Players to watch:
Shimona Nelson was unable to play in the World Cup due to injury but proved throughout the Suncorp Super Netball season what she can do on the big stage. Her game developed at a rate of knots in 2019 and she will be hoping to get her chance to shine on the international stage. Despite being costly at times with her hands, Nelson has really tidied her game up by controlling the space, putting up strong holds and shooting high volumes of shots to make her an exciting prospect for the Sunshine Girls. Up the other end, the likes of Shamera Sterling can turn a game on its head in an instant, such is her strength and presence across the court. The lanky goal keeper is not afraid to hunt the ball, renowned for intercepting ability and read of the play. She can sense the moment and is skilful enough to force a turnover or get a timely deflection. Jodi-Ann Ward should not be forgotten, with the talented defender able to have an impact despite her light frame. Ward is nimble on her feet and has a high netball IQ, able to drop into the right places and pick off errant passes that come her way.

New additions:
Despite donning a very similar line-up to the World Cup, the likes of Latayna Wilson have joined the ranks to help bolster the Sunshine Girls’ defensive stocks. Having played with the Celtics Dragons, the defender could offer some useful insight into the Roses shooting line-up having played against them in the Vitality Netball Superleague while also possessing a plethora of defensive attributes such as her lean over the shot. Fellow defender Shannika Johnson is also a new inclusion in the Jamaican side and will have plenty to prove to solidify herself a spot in the Sunshine Girls outfit.

Team list:
Jhaniele Fowler, Shanice Beckford, Shamera Sterling, Jodi-Ann Ward, Khadijah Williams, Shadian Hemmings, Shimona Nelson, Nicole Dixon, Latanya Wilson, Kadie-Ann Dehaney, Gezelle Allison, Shannika Johnson.

NWC19: Day 11 – Silver Ferns claim remarkable one-goal victory over Diamonds

NEW Zealand has turned around a one-goal defeat at the hands of arch-rivals Australia to inflict that exact result on the Diamonds in the Netball World Cup final. The Silver Ferns had a shaky first few minutes, but once they settled into the game, were clearly the dominant team, maintaining possession and forcing turnovers. Australia racked up a massive 82 penalties to New Zealand’s 49, while the Silver Ferns had 57 per cent time in possession in what was a remarkable 52-51 victory in a game for the ages.

The defensive pressure from the Australians was noticeable early and it was the reigning champions who raced out to an early lead, 6-3 after a couple of crucial turnovers from the Silver Ferns. Just as New Zealand were on the attack following an Australian turnover, Jo Weston leaped high to grab a terrific intercept, and an end-to-end play finished with Caitlin Bassett securing her eighth goal in seven minutes. An uncharacteristically fumbly Maria Folau turned the ball over on the baseline to allow the Diamonds to transition down the court resulting in another goal to Bassett. But the work of Jane Watson to stand her ground in front of the Australian captain up the other end was telling, forcing a penalty and then turning a potential four-goal deficit into just three. Bassett was beginning to be called for a number of penalties on Watson, as the Silver Ferns got to within two goals and the pressure was at an all-time high. A loose pass from Jo Weston opened the door for the Silver Ferns as Australia became the side under the pump; the Diamonds margin cut to just one. Turnovers from Folau and Kelsey Browne – the latter a massive pass that missed Bassett by a good couple of feet indicated the speed of the game that was forcing mistakes from even the most talented players. Folau missed a long bomb she would normally gobble up, then another wobbly pass from Weston handed New Zealand back the ball and the Silver Ferns took full advantage with Folau and Ameliaranne Ekenasio capitalising to level the scores just before the final whistle for both sides. At the first break, Bassett was the dominant shooter with all her nine attempts going in, but picking up five penalties, while Folau and Ekenasio both had five from eight. Laura Langman was a rock of consistency in the midcourt, picking up six goal assists and 11 feeds in the opening term.

New Zealand opened the second term to hit the front for the first time after Ekenasio made good on her first attempt for the quarter following a Folau miss, while Steph Wood shot her second goal to settle Australia’s nerves. Folau’s normal accuracy was out the window early with just one goal from her first three attempts, as Ekenasio picked up an important rebound off a Folau miss to make sure the Silver Ferns scored the basket. Langman’s stunning form continued with the first four goal assists of the term, being the real difference on the court. The teams maintained their goal-for-goal nature despite Bassett missing a couple of shots in the first half of the term. Up the other end, Folau’s accuracy had returned as she used her body work to get closer to the post. A highlight-reel goal assist from Jamie-Lee Price with six minutes to go was impressive as the GIANTS Netball star went long from the midcourt straight to the uncontested Bassett who was under the post and made no mistake. But another couple of rare misses from Bassett saw the Diamonds shooter with nine from 13 as the time ticked into the final few minutes of the term, with Wood finishing perfectly with a nice long bomb to nail her third goal from as many attempts. The fierce defensive pressure that the Australians showed in the opening few minutes of the match seemed to have eased off as Folau and Ekenasio were starting to get some easy looks at the post, having nailed 15 consecutive goals without a miss. The Diamonds’ fears were made worse by a loose turnover by Browne resulting in New Zealand scoring back-to-back goals in the last minute and now holding an important 28-25 lead over their Trans-Tasman rivals. At the main break, it was the penalties column that had Australian fans frustrated, with the Diamonds recording 36-27, whilst also having 11 turnovers to the Silver Ferns’ seven. Bassett still had 20 goals to half-time despite her four misses, whilst Liz Watson was one of the few who stood up in the first half with eight goal assists from 14 feeds. Unfortunately her opposite centre Langman already had 12 goal assists from 20 feeds, while Ekenasio was efficient with 12 goals from 13 attempts.

The third term saw Gretel Tippett come on for Wood, with her first pass a turnover. But a Ferns error to Katrina Rore returned the ball back to Australian hands for Bassett to score. Up the other end, Sarah Klau replaced Courtney Bruce in goal keeper to see if the new defensive mix could yield results. But a turnover from Watson was not the ideal scenario for the Diamonds as Ekenasio again picked up a terrific rebound off a Folau long-bomb miss. Up the other end, Tippett slipped out of court for a second turnover and in the blink of an eye, the three-goal half-time lead was out to seven and slowly slipping away from the Australians as the Silver Ferns had five of the first six goals to hold a 33-26 advantage. A rare mistake into the circle from the Silver Ferns handed the Australians the ball, only for the leaders to win it straight back thanks to a deflection from Folau. The New Zealand shooter had overcome her early ball control issues to cause all sorts of headaches for Lisa Alexander’s defence, moving well around the circle and taking full control of the match against the inexperienced Klau. Australia was able to stem the bleeding to keep it at the seven-goal margin after that slow start to the term, but were not seemingly able to force a turnover with the Silver Ferns thinking their way through their possession. Noeline Taurua’s side was happy to keep possession, even going backwards and waiting for the right pass, and it proved effective as their slow but steady method restricted any unnecessary loose ball turnovers. The game was back on an even goal-for-goal keep as Tippett had overcome her early turnovers to nail five consecutive goals, while April Brandley’s inclusion at wing defence immediately had an impact up the defensive end with Weston picking up Australia’s first intercept for the quarter and then cutting the deficit to four with back-to-back goals. Australia forced another turnover in the last five seconds but the ball got to Bassett just a second too late as the whistle sounded before she could shoot with the Australians down, 37-41. Folau was dominant in the term with eight goals from nine attempts, while Watson managed to take back control in her one-on-one match-up with Langman, picking up eight goal assists to Langman’s four, but instead Gina Crampton stepped up for the Silver Ferns with seven goal assisted from nine feeds. It was hard to fault the New Zealand side as they were primed heading into the last 15 minutes with a solid lead and renowned as strong finishers – they almost stole the win off the Diamonds in the Preliminary Stage Two.

Neither side made any changes at the final break with the respective sevens returning to the court and Australia made a promising start with an intercept from Weston off a Crampton turnover leading to three consecutive goals and all of a sudden Australia was back to within a goal just 90 seconds into the final stanza. Folau settled her side’s nerves with her twenty-fifth goal of the night before Bassett made sure the silver Ferns knew they were up for a fight. Neither side had missed a shot in the first five minutes as both teams were happy to keep possession down the court. New Zealand forced Australia to blink first however with a missed pass seeing Kopua intercept at a crucial juncture in the contest and give the Silver Ferns some breathing space with Ekenasio nailing two consecutive goals to extend the lead back out to four with eight minutes to play. Folau looked to buy time in the circle and chew time off the clock, but her first miss of the quarter, and for almost 15 minutes saw Australia regain possession and score back-to-back goals through Bassett and cut the deficit back to a goal with six and a half minutes left. A nicely read intercept from Kopua off a Browne pass was quickly returned back to Australian hands as the experienced defender unluckily slipped out of court. A deflection by Tippett with four minutes remaining almost had the Diamonds fans up and about, but the Silver Ferns won it back and converted to maintain a two-goal advantage. The Diamonds kept pushing and refused to give in, but a turnover with three minutes was costly as Browne could not take the ball cleanly and all of a sudden, an end-to-end play leading in an Ekenasio goal put the visitors back out to the three-goal advantage. As if the tale was always going to have another twist, Australia turned the ball over and Tippett converted back-to-back goals and it was one goal the margin with 90 seconds remaining and the heart rate of everyone both at the arena and at home was sky high. Ekenasio held her nerve to slot the goal with a minute remaining, as did Bassett up the other end, but it was New Zealand who just had to maintain possession for another 40 seconds holding the one-goal lead. The Ferns raced it back to defence to try and play keepings off which they did and rejoiced with a remarkable one-goal win to take out the title, 52-51.

Folau (28 goals from 35 attempts) and Ekenasio (24 from 26) proved a formidable goal shooting combination, with Langman 20 goal assists from 38 feeds and Crampton (16 from 28) the dominant payers in the midcourt. Kopua and Watson both had two intercepts in the defensive circle, while Rore finished with an intercept and a deflection gain. For Australia, Bassett shot 35 goals from 40 attempts, with Tippett sinking all 11 of her attempts. Watson was the most prolific Australian on the court with 21 goal assists from 30 feeds, while Browne had 17 from 24. Weston overcame some first quarter mistakes to not turn it over in the remaining three terms and picked up three intercepts and two rebounds, while Wood scored five goals from six attempts in the first half, as well as eight goal assists from 11 feeds. Overall it was New Zealand’s cohesion down the court and not having a weakness with Taurua not needing to make a change on the way to the Silver Ferns celebrating the victory, and the latest Netball World Cup title.

AUSTRALIA 10 | 15 | 12 | 14 (51)
NEW ZEALAND 10 | 18 | 13 | 11 (52)

STARTING LINE-UPS:

Australia:

GS | Caitlin Bassett
GA | Steph Wood
WA | Kelsey Browne
C | Liz Watson
WD | Jamie-Lee Price
GD | Jo Weston
GK | Courtney Bruce

New Zealand:

GS | Maria Folau
GA | Ameliaranne Ekenasio
WA | Gina Crampton
C | Laura Langman
WD | Katrina Rore
GD | Casey Kopua
GK | Jane Watson

BRONZE MEDAL: ENGLAND (58) defeated SOUTH AFRICA (42)

It might not have been the colour they wanted coming into the tournament, but England was able to celebrate winning a medal on home soil at the 2019 Netball World Cup. The Roses took home the Bronze Medal after a dominant 16-goal win over South Africa, their second victory over the SPAR Proteas at the tournament. They had to fight for an early lead to head into the first break two goals up, then went from strength-to-strength from there, extending the lead at each break to eventually run out fairly comfortable winners, 58-42. Helen Housby was dominant in the circle, nailing all her 29 attempts as she picked up nine goal assists from 11 feeds as well. Her partner-in-crime Jo Harten also scored 29 goals, from 34 attempts, while Serena Guthrie was back to her best with 22 goal assists from 29 feeds, as well as an intercept and a deflection. Natalie Haythornthwaite also caused headaches for the opposition, recording 19 goal assists from 30 feeds and 24 centre pass receives, whilst in defence, Geva Mentor was unstoppable under the post with a massive six rebounds, four deflections and one intercept. For the SPAR Proteas, Lenize Potgieter shot 28 goals from 32 attempts, while Maryka Holtzhausen was rather inaccurate with just 12 from 20 on the night, although she recorded nine goal assists from 11 feeds. Erin Burger was busy in the midcourt with 13 goal assists from 29 feeds, while Shadine Van der Merwe had seven deflections in the defensive half. Karla Pretorius picked up two intercepts, four deflections and a rebound to do all she could for her side.

5TH PLACE: JAMAICA (68) defeated MALAWI (50)

A dominant performance from high volume shooter Jhaniele Fowler helped Jamaica to a 68-50 win over Malawi to claim fifth spot at the 2019 Netball World Cup. The Sunshine Girls rounded out a strong carnival, only dropping two games and having the final game in control throughout to win each of the four quarters on their way to an 18-goal win. They led early racing to a 20-13 quarter time lead and whilst they were pushed through the middle part of the game, ran away in the final term to assure themselves of an impressive victory. Fowler posted a massive 53 goals from 54 attempts, while Romelda Aiken had eight from 12 as the next highest scorer. Nicole Dixon was the creative playmaker for the Sunshine Girls, picking up 28 goal assists from 40 feeds and also having a couple of deflections, while Khadijah Williams had 13 goal assists from 19 feeds. In defence, Kadie-Ann Dehaney picked up an intercept and a rebound along with five deflections, as Jodi-Ann Ward had three rebounds, an intercept and a deflection for the winners. For the Queens, Jane Chimaliro scored 25 goals from 33 attempts, also recording two intercepts and a rebound, while Joyce Mvula posted up 23 goals from 29 attempts. Takondwa Lwazi had 22 goal assists from 48 feeds, as well as an impressive four intercepts and two deflections through the midcourt, working hard with Thandie Galleta (17 goal assists, 35 feeds).

7TH PLACE: ZIMBABWE (47) defeated by UGANDA (58)

Uganda has reasserted its dominance over fellow African qualifier, Zimbabwe with an 11-goal win to claim seventh spot at the 2019 Netball World Cup. Uganda lead from the start to open up a nine-goal lead by the main break before the Gems wrestled back momentum to cut the deficit to eight by the final break. The She Cranes then regained the momentum to run out the game 13-10 in the final quarter and record ad 58-47 victory. Stella Oyella was accurate at the post for the winners, putting up 16 goals from 17 attempts, whilst having 12 goal assists and 20 feeds, teaming well with Peace Proscovia (27 goals from 33 attempts) and Mary Cholock (15 from 18) in the goal circle. Ruth Meeme was also prolific with a game-high 16 goal assists from her 19 feeds as well as two intercepts, while up the other end, Muhayimina Namuwaya had three intercepts and a rebound. For the Gems, Joice Takaidza was the dominant scorer with 30 goals from 36 attempts, while Sharon Bwanali had nine from 10, also picking up 14 goal assists from 19 feeds. Felistus Kwangwa would go close to the biggest surprise packet of the tournament, picking up another two intercepts.

NWC19: Day 8 – Diamonds and Roses top groups as Calypso Girls split points with Thistles

NORTHERN IRELAND (46) defeated BARBADOS (43)

Northern Ireland has secured a top 10 place at the Netball World Cup after seeing off Barbados in a three-goal thriller on the final day of the Preliminary Stage Two. It means the Warriors finish above rivals Scotland, and face Trinidad and Tobago for ninth place. In the game, Barbados took an early one-goal lead at the final break, before the Warriors levelled the scores by half-time. Northern Ireland skipped out to a four-goal advantage heading into the final break which proved to be the difference in the end, as the Bajan Gems could only cut into the deficit by one to go down 43-46. Caroline O’Hanlon was absolutely phenomenal for Northern Ireland, helping herself to 22 goal assists, 39 feeds and four intercepts, whilst fellow experienced Warrior, Fionnuala Toner took in four intercepts and had four deflections. Goal shooter Noleen Armstrong was accurate at the post with 19 goals from 21 attempts, whilst Emma Magee shot 22 from 29 at goal attack. For the losing side, Shonette Azore-Bruce continued her terrific World Cup four to record another four intercepts and two rebounds as well as nine deflections, while Latonia Blackman (19 goals from 20 attempts, 15 goal assists and 18 feeds) and Shonica Wharton (24 from 26) were reliable in the goal circle.

AUSTRALIA (50) defeated NEW ZEALAND (49)

Australia and New Zealand have played out the game of the tournament in a tale of two halves that resulted in the reigning champions getting home by a single goal. The Diamonds took control in the first half to lead by three and six goals at the first two breaks, before the inevitable Silver Ferns fightback came to the fore. New Zealand outscored their Trans-Tasman rivals 14-12 in the third then roared back into the contest in a nail-biting final term, only falling one-goal short, 49-50. With a three minutes left on the clock and Diamonds shooter Caitlin Bassett sinking a goal to make it a three-goal advantage, the Silver Ferns looked gone until three consecutive goals levelled the scores with just over a minute to play. The Australian held their nerve and their defensive structures for Bassett to sink the winning goal in the final minute, before Maria Folau had a chance to level the scores at the final whistle, but missed. Bassett finished 37 goals from 41 attempts, while Steph Wood assisted had 13 goal assists to match her 13 goals. Up the other end, Folau (21 from 24) was her usual self at the post, while Ameliaranne Ekanasio had 20 from 24 but also picked up five goal assists, 15 centre pass receives, eight feeds and two rebounds. Australian goal keeper Courtney Bruce was sensational once again with three intercepts, three rebounds and eight deflections, teaming well with Jo Weston (two intercepts, two rebounds and four deflections. For the Silver Ferns, Casey Kopua helped herself to three intercepts, three deflections and a rebound, while Laura Langman stepped up when her side needed her to finish with a game-high 16 goal assists as well as 26 feeds.

ZIMBABWE (43) defeated by MALAWI (59)

Malawi has earned the right to battle for the number two African nation after seeing off Zimbabwe in the final round of Preliminary Stage Two, avoiding a head-to-head with Jamaica in the next round as a bonus. The Queens were just too clinical for everyone’s second side at the World Cup in the Gems, winning each of the four quarters, but by no more than six goals on their way to a 59-43 triumph. Joyce Mvula showed off all of her experience for the Queens, finishing with 41 goals from 43 attempts, while Jane Chimaliro (18 from 20) also had 16 goal assists and 17 feeds. It is hard to look past the performances of Towera Vinkumbo and Takondwa Lwazi however, with the pair absolutely sensational in defence and midcourt respectively. Vinkhumbo picked up a massive six interceptions, eight defelections and two rebounds, while Lwazi had 32 goal assists – double the next highest player on the court – as well as 47 feeds – 30 more than the next highest – and four deflections. For Zimbabwe, goal defence Felisitus Kwangwa continued her great form with two intercepts, one rebounds and six deflections, whilst up the other end, Joice Takaidza got it done in the circle with 22 goals from 24 attempts. Pauline Jani (13 from 15) was the other key scorer for the Gems.

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO (43) drew with SCOTLAND (43)

In a remarkable game, Scotland has held on against Trinidad and Tobago for the sides to record the first draw at the 2019 Netball World Cup. Battling each other for their first win in Pool G, they could not be split by the final whistle as the Thistles led by two goals at the first break before the Calypso Girls battled back to level by the final break. In a low-scoring final term, both sides could only manage the nine goals each and finished on 43 goals apiece. Sam Wallace was the standout shooter on the court showing off her Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) experience with 29 goals from 30 attempts as well as six goal assists and six feeds, whilst Kalifa McCollin finished with 14 from 17, assisting well with 12 goal assists and 22 feeds. Candice Guerero was key in the midcourt with 14 goal assists and 25 feeds – both team-highs, while picking up three deflections and an intercept. For the Thistles, Lynsey Gallagher (23 goals from 25 attempts) worked hard in the goal circle for 10 goal assists, 10 centre pass receives and 14 feeds, only bettered on the assist end from Claire Maxwell who finished with 16 as well as 33 feeds out of the middle. Emma Barrie scored 17 goals from 21 attempts, whilst Nicola McCleery linked up well in the attacking end with 21 centre pass receives, 14 feeds and nine goal assists. The draw means Trinidad and Tobago finish higher based on their other results against teams, which means they battle for ninth spot against Northern Ireland, while Scotland hope to get one over Barbados in the battle for eleventh.

JAMAICA (61) defeated UGANDA (48)

Jamaica has cruised into the next stage with a handy 61-48 victory over Uganda. The Sunshine Girls raced to a four-goal lead at the first break, then piled on 22 goals to 11 in the second term to all but end the contest there thanks to a 15-goal half-time lead. They extended the advantage to 17 by the final break before Uganda hit back to score some consolation goals and cut the final deficit to 13. The two towering SSN shooters were dominant for their sides with West Coast Fever’s Jhaniele Fowler scoring 38 goals from 39 attempts for the winners, while Sunshine Coast Lighting’s Peace Proscovia did not miss a shot from her 28 attempts for the losers. Midcourters Nicole Dixon (13 goal assists, 14 feeds), Khadijah Williams (10 goal assists, 25 centre pass receives and 19 feeds) and Adean Thomas (15 goal assists, 24 feeds) all stepped up, while Queensland Firebirds’ shooter Romelda Aiken finished with nine goals from 11 attempts for Jamaica. On the other side, Jesca Achan (15 goal assists, 32 feeds) and Ruth Meeme (14 goal assists, 32 feeds) were prolific through midcourt, while Racheal Nanyonga did it all with 12 goals from 19 attempts, 12 goal assists and 17 feeds. Both sides head into the next stage in contention for a top five spot, with Jamaica to face Zimbabwe and Uganda to meet continent rival, Malawi in a bid to play for fifth spot. The losers from both games end up facing off for seventh.

ENGLAND (58) defeated SOUTH AFRICA (47)

A dominant first quarter helped England to secure top spot in Group G and live up to expectations as pre-tournament favourites on home soil. The Roses raced away to an eight-goal lead at the first break and despite some great play from the SPAR Proteas, were never headed. The home side kept up the pressure throughout the match, leading by as much as 13 goals by the final change, before South Africa managed to win the last term with a 17-15 quarter but still fell short, 47-58. It was an even team performance from the English with Helen Housby (24 goals from 26 attempts) and Jo Harten (30 from 33) both prolific in the goal circle, while Housby also had seven goal assists, 13 centre pass receives and seven feeds. In midcourt, the experience of Serena Guthrie (14 goal assists and 26 feeds) and Chelsea Pitman (12 goal assists, 19 centre pass receives and 16 feeds) was obvious on the attacking end, whilst up the other end, Jade Clarke had a three deflections, only beaten by the world class Geva Mentor who picked up six deflections and four rebounds in a dominant display. Speaking of world class, Karla Pretorius was a thorn in the Roses’ side with three intercepts – the same amount as the entire English side – and two deflections, whilst in attack, Lenize Potgieter (17 goals from 21 attempts) and Sigrid Burger (11 from 12) shared the goal shooter role, as Maryka Holtzhausen was prominent, though inaccurate with 19 from 27, as well as six goal assists and nine feeds. Erin Burger had a team-high 15 goal assists and 34 feeds in a vital role at centre. Now England face New Zealand in the semi-finals, while South Africa meet reigning champions Australia with the two matches to determine the 2019 Netball World Cup final.

NWC 2019 Day 4: Samoa, Uganda and Malawi all prevail in tight tussle

ZIMBABWE (36) defeated by NEW ZEALAND (79)

The Silver Ferns continued their dominant form with a 43 goal victory over Zimbabwe. New Zealand showcased their class, composure and netball smarts to work the ball down the court and exploit the weaknesses in their opposition line-up. They used every inch of the court to create strong leads and set up a clever zone defence to pick off any cross-court passes. The Ferns shared the shooting load between the likes of Maria Folau, Ameliaranne Ekenasio and Te Paea Selby-Rickit proving they are a real force to be reckoned with given their versatility and options. Selby-Rickit was the most accurate of the lot with 23 from 23 sitting at 100 per cent for the match with Folau close behind at 92 per cent with 23 from 25. Star Zimbabwe shooter Joice Takaidza was well held throughout the match only managing seven goals from her nine attempts credit to the immense pressure applied by Jane Watson, Phoenix Karaka and Casey Kopua. In the half that she was on, Watson left her mark with an impressive four gains, three intercepts and two deflections while Karaka also highlighted her defensive prowess with four gains, two intercepts and six deflections. But the Gems were gallant in defeat with the likes of Rudo Karume leading the way down back, getting hands to ball with three gains and two intercepts. Perpetua Siyachitema was important through the midcourt for Zimbabwe, providing good speed and vision into the circle with a team high goal assists.

NORTHERN IRELAND (43) defeated by MALAWI (47)

It was a close contest between Northern Ireland and Malawi with a mere four goals separating the sides. The lead chopped and changed in the opening quarter with Northern Ireland establishing a four goal buffer before the Queens sparked up and gained some attacking momentum to go on a seven goal shooting spree. But the Warriors were not to be outdone, winning the second quarter and drawing even in third showcasing the extreme intensity of the match. But in the end a big last quarter performance from Joyce Mvula and Jane Chimaliro helped them to victory with the two shooters only missing two goals. Mvula finished with 30 goals from 31 attempts at 97 per cent while Chimaliro slotted 15 from 18. Through the midcourt Bridget Kumwenda combined well with centre, Takondwa Lwazi who controlled the middle corridor feeding seamlessly into the shooters. Lwazi had a team high 18 goal assists along with two gains and one intercept while Warriors centre, Caroline O’Hanlon also put on a masterclass through the midcourt with 21 goal assists and four deflections. Defensively, Fionnuala Toner was strong switching between wing defence and goal defence effortlessly and picking up plenty of ball with four gains, four intercepts and two deflections for the Warriors. But her efforts were matched by Malawi defender Towera Vinkhumbo who amassed seven gains, three intercepts, six deflections and three rebounds.

AUSTRALIA (91) defeated BARBADOS (22)

The Diamonds were clinical once again, holding Barbados to 22 goals and clogging up the space to cause havoc right across the court. Australia were hot right from the get-go and piled on the pain in the second quarter, keeping the Bajan Gems to two goals for the quarter credit to the defensive pressure right across the court. The new look defence end for Australia provided plenty of excitement with Sarah Klau and Courtney Bruce pairing well in the circle to pick off stray passes and force turnovers. Bruce finished with nine gains, four intercepts, eight deflections and two rebounds thanks to her impressive footwork and read of the play. Trialed in a different position, talented defender Jo Weston claimed Player of the Match honours for her performance in wing defence, blocking both Samantha Browne and Damisha Croney any easy access to circle edge. In her 50th international cap, goal shooter Caitlin Thwaites showcased her shooting prowess with long bombs, strong holds and sheer brilliance under the post with 20 goals at 100 per cent. Gretel Tippett shone after being brought on at half time, nailing 25 goals from 26 attempts, while Steph Wood and Caitlin Bassett also dominated the scoreboard, setting up the win in the first half of the match. For the Bajan Gems, Shonica Wharton impressed in the circle displaying her shooting range backing herself from long range with 20 goals from 24 attempts, while goal attack Sheniqua Thomas struggled to make an impact on the scoreboard with two goals for the match.

SRI LANKA (88) defeated SINGAPORE (50)

Sri Lanka stamped their authority on the game from the first whistle finding easy avenues to goal time and time again. Unfortunately, Singapore could not match Tharjini Sivalingam who was simply too tall to stop under the post. She recorded a competition high 76 goals from 78 attempts highlighting her sheer ability to win games off her own back. The 208cm shooter was a whopping 35cm taller than youngster Sindhu Nair who worked tirelessly all game to try and regain possession for Singapore and repel the ball, picking up one gain, one intercept and three deflections. In the last quarter Nair made her way to the bench allowing Joanna Toh to make her presence felt, picking up two gains, one intercept, one rebound and one deflection. Dulangi Wannithileka was pivotal through the midcourt providing plenty of ball into Sivalingam and driving hard to the top of the circle with 26 goal assists, while Hasitha Mendis also displayed her speed and skill around the circle edge with a game high 31 goal assists from 35 feeds. Although Singapore struggled to combat the commanding presence of Sivalingam they made the most of their opportunities under the post sitting at 81 per cent shooting accuracy. Kai Wei Toh topscored for Singapore with 16 goals while Charmaine Soh and Pei Shan Lee slotted 15 goals apiece sitting at 83 per cent.

JAMAICA (48) defeated by ENGLAND (56)
By: Sophie Taylor

It was the battle of World Ranked number two and three to start the afternoon session of Round 4, with England coming out on top for their fourth game on the trot. The victory relegated Jamaica to their second loss in a row, in danger of being kicked out in the preliminaries. Despite matching goal for goal in the second and final quarters, it was the third quarter where England really pulled away and capitalised with three goals from gains as well as 85 per cent of their centre passes – compared to Jamaica’s 57 per cent, shooting only 10 goals to England’s 16. It was a mostly defensive game, with both sides putting on a bucketload of pressure to produce turnover ball. Roses goal keeper Geva Mentor impressed down back, racking up two intercepts and four deflections, causing chaos in defence with Eboni Usoro-Brown in her 100th international cap. Captain, Serena Guthrie was phenomenal through the midcourt with 23 goal assists, two intercepts and nine deflections (three to advantage) while goalers, Helen Housby and Jo Harten, shared the load with 29 and 27 goals respectively at a combined 87 per cent. For the Sunshine Girls, Jhaniele Fowler shot at 100 per cent with 43 goals while Khadijah Williams had 26 assists from 39 feeds.

FIJI (54) defeated by SAMOA (55)
By: Sophie Taylor

It was a close affair when the two island nations met for the first time, with Samoa coming up with the narrowest of margins after being down by two at three quarter time. With seconds on the clock Fiji put in the hard yards to speed down the court and even up the ledger, sinking a goal that was rejected by the umpire for the one goal loss. A spectacular third quarter saw Fiji take the front for the first time in the match shooting 12 goals to seven before two multiple goal runs from Tee Salanoa (32 goals from 33 attempts at 97 per cent) and Toa Tanimo (nine from 10) got the ball rolling once more as Samoa stole back their early lead. Samoa goal keeper Lenora Misa was impressive with six gains and four intercepts while Ariana Luamanu in wing attack was solid, getting plenty of turnover ball back with two gains and two intercepts. For Fiji, Lydia Panapasa was a key target at the post with 42 goals from 44 attempts at 95 per cent, while goal attack Unaisi Rauluni scored 12 from 17 with 34 goal assists from 42 feeds. Defensively, Kelera Nawai and Dee Bolakoro combined for seven gains and six intercepts.

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO (54) defeated by UGANDA (57)
By: Sophie Taylor

Another tight match prevailed in stage two of the preliminaries, with Uganda narrowly beating Trinidad and Tobago by three goals despite a final quarter surge from the Calypso Girls. It was a relatively even affair, with Trinidad and Tobago coming out on top at the end of the first quarter before Uganda bit back with 31 goals to 24 in the following two quarters to lead by five at the final change. It was Uganda’s cleanliness that got them home in what was an even match across the board, with no stats from either side speaking for the win apart from the penalty count – 42 to Uganda and a whopping 73 to Trinidad and Tobago. Uganda made a host of changes throughout the match, with every player taking the court and proving difficult for Trinidad and Tobago to settle with each quarter. A host of goalers made their way through the circle for Uganda, with Stella Oyella (26 from 29) and Peace Proscovia (23 from 25) putting up much of the volume. For the Calypso Girls, Daystar Swift was impressive providing plenty of ball back to attack with her four gains while Sam Wallace (38 from 41) and Kalifa McCollin (16 from 16) combined well at the post at a combined 95 per cent.

SOUTH AFRICA (66) defeated SCOTLAND (38)
By: Sophie Taylor

South Africa had their closest match of the series so far when they took on a competitive Scotland side, but still came out on top by 28 after an impressive 17 goal to six final quarter. The usual suspects in Lenize Potgieter (30 from 30) and Sigi Burger (26 from 29) were impressive at the post, spending a half each in goal shooter and aided with ease by their fellow goalers and midcourters who shared the load around the ring with a combined 63 assists. Karla Pretorius and Zanele Vimbela starred as usual in defence, combining for 12 gains and five intercepts. Despite the loss the Thistles showed some good patches, also sharing the load around with every player taking the court in an attempt to stop the Proteas. Bethan Goodwin top scored for Scotland with 18 goals from 24 in her three quarters, with Emma Barrie, Lynsey Gallagher and Niamh McCall combining for the remaining 20 goals at 71 per cent accuracy. Captain, Claire Maxwell was prolific taking the court for her 100th cap and finishing the match as the only player on court for the full 60 minutes, with 22 goal assists from 42 feeds. Defensively, Emily Nicholl and Hayley Mulheron impressed with four and three gains respectively.

NWC19 reviews: Day 2 – Malawi, Northern Ireland and Uganda get their first win on the board

AUSTRALIA (73) defeated ZIMBABWE (37)

The result might not have been a surprise, but the way in which the losing side Zimbabwe stood up to the world number ones captured plenty of hearts across the globe. Both sides won the day before, but Australia was expected to trounce the lowly nation, and proceeded to race to an 8-1 lead early on. But from there, whilst the margin kept building, Zimbabwe’s speed and dare across the court was impossible not to like. They scored 13 goals to Australia’s 15 in the third term giving the reigning champions something to seriously think about going forward. Caitlin Bassett (49 goals from 53 attempts) was the main scorer though maligned for her 10 turnovers, whilst Gretel Tippett had 24 from 28, as well as 16 goal assists and 18 feeds. Our Player of the Game had to be Courtney Bruce who was absolutely phenomenal in goal keeper with nine intercepts and four rebounds, while Liz Watson had a game-high 21 goal assists and 27 feeds. For Zimbabwe, Joice Takaidza (15 goals from 20 attempts) and Pauline Jani (11 from 13) were the key shooters, whilst Perpetua Siyachitema was eye-catching despite 11 turnovers, notching up 12 goal assists and 23 feeds at wing attack, while Felisitus Kwanga picked up four intercepts, five deflections and two rebounds. Australia picked up plenty of whistle in the victory, meaning the side will have to adjust to the umpiring better going forward to ensure they come out on top in closer affairs.

NORTHERN IRELAND (60) defeated SRI LANKA (48)

Northern Ireland assured itself a place in the next stage thanks to a 12-goal win over Sri Lanka in the second day’s matches. The Warriors suffered a huge loss to Australia, but managed to get over the top of a determined Lankans outfit. Northern Ireland lead from start to finish, although the losers managed to reach double figures in each of their quarters, and won the last term 11-9 to show signs of improvement since the first game. Emma Magee was dominant at goal attack with 26 goals from 29 attempts as well as 11 goal assists, 15 feeds, two deflections and one rebound. Up the other end, Gemma Lawlor had eight deflections and an intercept, while Caroline O’Hanlon (22 goal assists , 45 feeds and four deflections) and Michelle Drayne (20 goal assists and 42 feeds) lead from the front. For the Lankans, it was no surprise to see towering shooter Tharjini Sivalingam do all the heavy lifting with 48 of her side’s 50 goals, whilst recording two rebounds. Chathurangi Jayasooriya was strong in defence with eight deflections, one intercept and one rebound, whilst Dulangi Wannithileka had 20 goal assists and 29 feeds as well as nailing the one shot she put to the post.

NEW ZEALAND (78) defeated BARBADOS (25)

Much like Zimbabwe, Barbados came crashing back to earth when coming up against a genuine world class side, suffering a crushing 53-goal defeat at the hands of New Zealand. The Silver Ferns showed no mercy in the big win, piling on 42 goals to 14 in the first half and 36 to 11 in the second half as all 12 players managed to get court time in Noeline Taurua‘s side. Jane Watson was phenomenal in defence – and one of only two players to play a full game – with nine deflections, six intercepts and two rebounds, teaming well with Casey Kopua (six deflections, two rebounds and one intercept), while Bailey Mes scored 30 goals from 33 attempts, had seven goal assists and three rebounds. Maria Folau was used sparingly for 21 goals from 24 attempts, rotated with Te Paea Selby-Rickett (20 from 22). Barbados’ best was once again Shonette Azore-Bruce who picked up two rebounds, two deflections and an intercept in defence, whilst Amanda Knight managed two goal assists, two feeds, two deflections and an intercept.

MALAWI (87) defeated SINGAPORE (38)

Malawi condemned Singapore to bottom spot in the pool with a massive 49-goal win. The Queens rebounded from their loss to New Zealand to completely dominate the second day’s game as every player tasted court time in a confidence-boosting win. Thandie Galleta put on a master class in the midcourt with a massive 37 goal assists, 51 feeds, three deflections and one intercept, while Towera Vinkhumbo had four intercepts, three deflections and two rebounds in the defensive goal circle. In attack, Joyce Mvula (31 goals from 33 attempts) and Jane Chimaliro (23 from 24) teamed well, as did Alinafe Kamwala (27 from 32) who all pumped out a high volume of shots. For Singapore, Sindhu Nair had four deflections and only two penalties in defence, whilst Kimberly Lim (13 goal assists, 20 feeds and 22 centre pass receives) and Charmaine Soh (15 goals from 17 assists, nine centre pass receives) were among the best.

ENGLAND (70) defeated SCOTLAND (34)

It was another comprehensive win for England who ran out 36 point victors over Scotland. Unfortunately, though the Roses will be without star Layla Guscoth who injured her Achilles during the match. Her absence will be a huge loss for England but they proved that they have plenty of star power without her with the likes of Geva Mentor, Eboni Usoro-Brown and Fran Williams all able to do the job down back. Rachel Dunn showcased her class under the post with her traditional and conventional netball style shooting 49 goals from 52 attempts. Her partnership with Helen Housby was impressive with the two finding good space with Housby nailing 14 from 16 while Natalie Haythornthwaite highlighted her versatility swapping between wing and attack goal attack slotting four from four at 100 percent. Though the game was played on England’s terms the likes of Lynsey Gallagher stood up in the goal circle with her clever movement, good footwork and accuracy to post with 13 from 14 at 93 percent. Emma Barrie also displayed her shooting prowess with 11 from 13. Defensively Emily Nicholl worked tirelessly to limit the attacking thrusts from England with two intercepts and three gains for her efforts. Her partner in crime Hayley Mulheron also applied her trade in at goal defence picking up one intercept, two deflections and a gain. But their efforts were matched by Guscoth who won plenty of ball back with two intercepts and three gains while electric centre Serena Guthrie showcased her athleticism picking up two intercepts, two gains and one deflection. 

UGANDA (69) defeated SAMOA (48)

Uganda notched up their first win in the World Cup with a solid performance against Samoa. The She Cranes skipped out to an early lead and never looked back, seeming a class above their opponents who struggled to combat the scoring prowess of Mary Cholock. The holding goal shooter put on a masterclass under the ring with her strength and accuracy to post a real feature of her game, converting 34 goals from 39 attempts. Stella Oyella also had a huge influence in the She Cranes win, making her presence felt on the scoreboard with 17 goals from 18 attempts along with 12 goal assists. Through the midcourt the likes of Racheal Nanyonga was influential finding the circle edge with ease and delivering well-weighted passes into the shooters, racking up 16 goal assists. Nanyonga also showed her defensive capabilities with one intercept, one gain and a deflection. Joan Nampungu was a rock in defence picking up plenty of ball and limiting any easy access to goal for Samoa, finishing the match with four deflections, one gain and two pick ups. For Samoa, Tee Salanoa and Sanita To’o were the shining lights with the two combining well in the goal circle to create screens and scoring opportunities. Salanoa topscored for Samoa with 25 from 26 at an impressive 96 per cent accuracy while To’o registered 20 from 25.

JAMAICA (68) defeated TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO (43)

It was a convincing win for the Sunshine Girls in their second match of the World Cup, however it certainly did not go all their way. Despite a comprehensive 25 goal victory, the Calypso Girls fought for much of the match, only dropping the ball in the second quarter when they shot only eight goals for the term, letting in 25 goals to the Jamaicans. It was an interesting fight for Jamaica, who have arguably some of the most dynamic players in the series with a combination of aerial ability and speed on their side, but Trinidad and Tobago showed a good fight to push the Sunshine Girls in the second half to keep the scoreline in their favour. It was the shooting accuracy that kept the Calypso Girls in it, shooting at a combined 84 per cent and sharing the load well thanks to a shared effort from Sam Wallace (19 goals from 24 attempts) and Kalifa McCollin (19 from 21). Candice Guerero and Rhonda John-Davis also managed the load well around the circle, with a respective 14 and 12 assists, finding the circle edge well despite the defensive pressure from the Sunshine Girls. For Jamaica, Jodi-Ann Ward was phenomenal with three intercepts, three deflections and four pickups, finding plenty of the ball as she battled John-Davis for dominance. Meanwhile, Jhaniele Fowler was the go-to Sunshine Girl at the post with 38 goals at 95 per cent, working well with Shanice Beckford, Rebekah Robinson and Romelda Aiken who also each had patches on court with a combined 30 goals. Similarly to the Calypso Girls, Khadijah Williams and Nicole Dixon shared the load around the circle with 16 assists each from a combined 53 circle feeds. It was the Jamaicans’ ability to capitalise off loose ball that secured them the victory, with 16 gains and 12 rebounds across the board propelling plenty of ball back through to attack.

SOUTH AFRICA (90) defeated FIJI (35)

South Africa put on a masterclass right across the court against Fiji to claim their second win and position themselves nicely in their pool. The Pearls simply could not do enough to stop the SPAR Proteas who had answers for everything that was thrown at them with their clever ball movement, impressive footwork and accuracy to post. The SPAR Proteas made the most of their opportunities in the goal circle finishing with an impressive 91 per cent shooting accuracy while Fiji only managed 75 per cent credit to the intense defensive pressure applied by South Africa. Sigi Burger proved her worth to the side notching up an impressive 32 from 36 while Lenize Potgieter was not to be outdone nailing 33 from 34 at 97 per cent, highlighting her ability to break games apart with her dynamic movement and understanding in the goal circle. Up the other end Zanele Vimbela absolutely dominated, amassing a whopping nine gains, six intercepts, five deflections and three rebounds while Phumza Maweni also showcased her defensive prowess with five gains, two intercepts, three deflections and three rebounds. While the Pearls struggled to combat the pressure of South Africa, the likes of shooter Lydia Panapasa stood tall nailing 11 goals straight. Asilika Sevutia showcased her versatility across the court switching between the thirds. The talented midcourt player started in centre before moving into wing attack and then wing defence, racking up the feeds while also providing strong hands-over defensive pressure to try and slow down her opponents. Defender, Adi Vakaoca Bolakoro left her mark on the game competing hard to win the ball picking up three gains, one intercept, three deflections and three rebounds for her efforts but unfortunately it was not enough to quell the star power of South Africa.