Tag: Vangelee 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.

Fantasy Team: AUS/NZ v. Rest of the world

THERE is no shortage of talent across the netball world with stars hailing from a range of different countries. Draft Central has created two teams, one comprised of players from Australia and New Zealand the other made up of netballers from around the globe.

Australia/New Zealand:

GK: Jane Watson
GD: Katrina Rore
WD: Ash Brazill
C: Laura Langman
WA: Liz Watson
GA: Ameliaranne Ekenasio
GS: Caitlin Bassett

BENCH: Gretel Bueta, Gina Crampton, Jo Weston

Starting in the defensive third it is hard to go past the tried and tested duo of Jane Watson and Katrina Rore. Watson has come along in leaps and bounds with her pressure over the shot, speed off the mark and impressive leap causing all sorts of havoc down back. Throw in the experience and class of Rore and the defensive unit is one to be envious of. Rore is electric, nimble on her feet and has proven to be a real barometer for any team, able to create tips and deflections time and time again.

The midcourt is littered with highly athletic netballers able to run all day and constantly do the unthinkable. Starting in wing defence is Ash Brazill, with the Diamonds midcourter renowned for her aerial ability and flashy style of play. Brazill can create plenty of turnover ball and has a high endurance to run toe to toe with her opponent all game. It is no surprise that the centre bib goes to Silver Ferns and netball legend Laura Langman. With experience to boot, speed off the mark, explosiveness and undeniable netball smarts Langman is one of the most exciting midcourters to take the court. She can single handedly turn the game on its head with a perfectly timed intercept or a pin-point pass into the circle. Diamond, Liz Watson takes out the wing attack position with the speedy centre court player strong around circle edge. Her vision is second to none and is constantly two moves ahead of her opponent such is netball understanding. Watson oozes class, dynamism and precision able to deliver the ball into the goalers with great ease.

The goal circle is headlined by two impressive shooters with Ferns goal attack, Ameliaranne Ekenasio getting the nod. Ekenasio is a smooth mover that glides across the court and is a real playmaker in the attacking third. She backs herself from range, able to shoot from anywhere in the circle and uses her quick footwork to reposition in the goal circle. In at goal shooter is Diamonds captain Caitlin Bassett with the towering goaler renowned for her strong holds and high volume. Her positioning under the post is impressive able to ward off defenders with her angles and footwork, while also making the most of her long limbs to reel in passes going over the baseline.

The experience and class does not stop there with Gretel Bueta unlucky not to get the start but earning a spot on the bench, while versatile attacker Gina Crampton also earned herself a spot. The final place goes to Diamonds’ Jo Weston given her defensive pressure.

Rest of the world:

GK: Geva Mentor
GD: Karla Pretorius
WD: Vangelee Williams
C: Serena Guthrie
WA: Bongi Msomi
GA: Helen Housby
GS: Sam Wallace

BENCH:  Lenize Potgieter, Chelsea Pitman, Shamera Sterling,

Kicking things off down in goal keeper is England Roses and netball veteran, Geva Mentor. The highly talented defender is nothing but class with her silky footwork, lean over the shot and skill to pick off passes entering the defensive third. She is deceptively quick and applies a wealth of pressure. Pairing with Mentor is Spar Proteas goal defence Karla Pretorius. The South African defender is in a league of her own with her speed off the mark and uncanny ability to reel in intercepts. She is simply unstoppable when on song, causing all sorts of havoc down back with her menacing style of play, quick footwork and long arms to force turnovers and propel the ball back down the court.

Through the midcourt Jamaican defender Vangelee Williams gets the nod at wing defence. She is a highly versatile player that can drop back into circle defence when needed but has an impressive skillset around the circle edge credit to her balance and netball smarts. Meanwhile, t is hard to go past England Roses midcourter, Serena Guthrie in centre. Guthrie is a running machine that just keeps on going, throwing herself at everything that comes her way. She has speed to boot and while she is more defensively minded can apply plenty of attacking pressure with her well-weighted passes into the goal circle. The 30-year-old is a key cog for any side able to provide that steadying presence and spark up when needed. In at wing attack is South African speedster Bongi Msomi, with the nippy midcourter able to dart around the court and create space in the attacking third. Msomi has lightning quick hands, able to fire off passes into the circle and is strong around the circle edge despite her slight frame.

The goal attack position goes to the cool, calm and collected Helen Housby. The Roses shooter is hardly ever frazzled and can shoot from anywhere in the circle, given her impressive range and accuracy to post. She is quick on her feet and is not afraid to take the hard drive into the circle to receive the ball. Her pairing with Trinidad and Tobago goaler, Sam Wallace is highly impressive with the two able to seamlessly move in the circle and create plays. Wallace is arguably one of the most laidback and underrated shooters and uses that to her full advantage, getting up to the high balls with ease while also putting up a wealth of shots.

Rounding out the team is South African and unconventional shooter, Lenize Potgieter along with Roses midcourter Chelsea Pitman and Jamaican excitement machine Shamera Sterling.

Who would win?

Both teams are packed with plenty of x-factor, however given that Australia and New Zealand sit one and two on the rankings it is fair to assume they might have the upper hand. The experience of Langman, Rore and Bassett in each third will help give the Diamonds/Ferns team that competitive edge over the rest of the world while their strength through the midcourt is also another key indicator.

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

Top 5 international games of 2019

THIS year marked 12 months filled with international tournaments ranging from the Constellation Cup, Quad Series and most importantly the World Cup.

#1 Australia (51) defeated by New Zealand (52) – World Cup Final

The World Cup gold medal match lived up to the hype with traditional arch rivals going head to head in a one-goal thriller. In the end, it was the Silver Ferns that prevailed in the tight battle after going down earlier in the tournament. The Ferns showed nothing but class, composure and skill to withstand the Diamonds pressure and apply their own scoreboard pressure. Led by the retiring, Casey Kopua the Ferns seemed to have the upper hand with their slick ball movement and zoned style of defence to pick off passes and restrict Australia’s flow in attack. Laura Langman and Maria Folau were other key pillars throughout the high intensity game while goal attack Ameliaranne Ekenasio displayed her skillset. Unfortunately, the Diamonds struggled for consistency with the goal circle changing with Caitlin Bassett, Gretel Tippett and Steph Wood all spending time under the post. It was a heart in mouth game with reputation and national pride all at stake but led by coach Noeline Taurua the Ferns had utter control and never really looked like dropping the game.

#2 Zimbabwe (79) defeated Sri Lanka (49) – World Cup

In their first World Cup appearance, Zimbabwe well and truly announced themselves on the international stage taking it to Sri Lanka with a convincing performance. The Gems did not muck around putting the after burners on in the first quarter to establish a commanding lead and did not let up steadily building on their margin. The outing helped to put talented goaler Joice Takaidza on the map with Takaidza going on a scoring rampage with 59 goals from 62 attempts at 95 per cent. Another star player that emerged from the clash was goal defence Felisitus Kwangwa who showed her defensive prowess and ability to read the play racking up eight gains and seven intercepts. Zimbabwe’s strong performance was just one of many for the rest of the World cup.

#3 England (52) defeated Australia (49) – Northern Quad Series

Despite Australia securing the Quad Series for another year the Roses came out on top in a class match between the two sides. In recent times, there has been plenty of history with England pipping Australia at the post in the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in 2018 and once again taking out the win against a strong Diamonds side. The game was filled with intensity, physicality and determination with neither side letting up on the pressure. Roses goal shooter Rachel Dunn was a star under the post showcasing her cool, calm and collected nature to pile on 13 goals in a row while Helen Housby and Jo Harten also played an important role. The lead chopped and changed throughout with both sides trying to find the right combo that could out manoeuvre the other the likes of Caitlin Thwaites, Kelsey Browne and April Brandley all doing the job on the court. The win sparked plenty of joy for the Roses who claimed an impressive win on home soil and set the tone for the rest of the international netball calendar.

#4 England (45) defeated by South Africa (48) – Northern Quad Series

The SPAR Proteas came to play in the Quad Series edging out England and claiming a narrow three-goal victory over the home side. South Africa proved that they have a wealth of talent and can mix it with the best in the world coming up against the likes of talented goal keeper Geva Mentor and owning the circle with their strong holds and accuracy to post. Despite a slow start to the game the SPAR Proteas really built into the game hitting their straps in both the second and third quarter to all but cement the win. It is fair to say South Africa were led by goal defence Karla Pretorius who once again showcased her experience and class to win the ball and transition it down the court. Pretorius paired well with Phumza Maweni to limit the influence of Dunn, Housby and Harten while the match-up between Bongi Msomi and Serena Guthrie brought plenty of intrigue. But all in all, this game was a real coming of age match for South Africa after years of being around the mark but never able to pull it off.

#5 Jamaica (52) defeated by South Africa (55) – World Cup

South Africa got off to a flyer in their pool match against Jamaica clearly asserting themselves and making it hard for the Sunshine Girls to catch up for the remainder of the game. It was close game for the majority with Jamaica clawing back the margin in the second half with a 17 goal third quarter but it was not enough to stop the juggernaut that was South Africa. Lenize Potgieter stood tall once again under the post using her signature quick release shot to full affect nailing 36 goals from 39 attempts while partner in crime Maryka Holtzhausen also played her role with 19 goals. Defensively South Africa had all the answers as well with Pretorius, Maweni and Khanyisa Chawane putting in the hard yards. It was a relatively disappointing outing for the Sunshine Girls who struggled to find their mojo and despite many tipping them to win simply could not generate the same scoring and defensive intent as their opponents. However, it was not through a lack of trying with Jhaniele Fowler leading the way with her commanding height and sheer accuracy only missing one of her 39 attempts. Youngster Shamera Sterling also plied her trade while Vangelee Williams also made her presence felt down back for Jamaica but it was not enough.

NWC 2019: Pool G preview

POOL G will see some exciting games throughout the second stage of the World Cup with three of the top five nations all within the same group. South Africa, Jamaica and England will all face each other throughout the stage while Uganda, Trinidad and Tobago and Scotland round out the rest of the teams in the pool. We take a look at two key games from the pool that could have an influence on the next stage.

JAMAICA v. UGANDA

This will be the last time that the Sunshine Girls will be able to assert themselves on the competition and leave a lasting impression. Unable to collect wins against both England and South Africa, Jamaica will want to make sure that they put out a full four quarter performance against the She Cranes who have shown they have what it takes to mix it with the best.

Jamaica have game changers right across the court with highly athletic defenders and shooting superstars that can turn a game on its head in an instant. They have a plethora of options in the goal circle with Jhaniele Fowler able to dominate under the post with her height, ball control and accuracy to post. But if Fowler is not firing, Romelda Aiken is also a viable option given her experience, rebounding skill and strength under the post to bring the ball down with confidence and skill. Up the other end the Sunshine Girls are spoilt for choice with Kadie-Ann Dehaney, Shamera Sterling and Vangelee Williams all capable of winning ball back. Sterling and Dehaney are both renowned for their aerial capabilities and could pose a real threat for Uganda given their skill to hunt any cross-court ball, as well as their respective closing speed and lean over the shot.

The She Cranes have continued to develop throughout the World Cup gaining some big wins and working hard to remain competitive in tough match-ups. With plenty of inexperienced players across the court it will be up to the likes of Mary Cholock and Peace Proscovia to steer the ship in attack and post a hefty total. Although both shooters play a similar style they have shown that they can work together and may have to revert to this method in attack if they are to worry the Jamaican defence. Stella Oyella has also been influential through the midcourt and in the goal circle for Uganda, highlighting her versatility and skill to make an impact wherever she is across the court.

With their place in the next stage on the line expect the Sunshine Girls to come out with a fire in the belly in hope to progress and move one step closer to that elusive title. Meanwhile, the She Cranes will be wanting to make the most of their opportunities on the world stage. All eyes will turn to the match-ups in the goal circle with Dehaney or Sterling likely to face the likes of Proscovia and Cholock who are both dominant in their own right.

SOUTH AFRICA v. ENGLAND

In arguably one of the most exciting match-ups of the stage South Africa will take on competition favourites England in hope to claim a big scalp. Both sides ooze class, skill and experience making for a highly anticipated game.

The SPAR Proteas are littered with game winning players right across the court with coach Norma Plummer doing a wealth of work to create a dynamic and highly skilled team. In the shooting circle, the likes of Lenize Potgieter and Sigi Burger have both proven to be prolific under the post with their silky movement, strong holds and accuracy all impressive. Potgieter’s unconventional shooting style puts many defenders off, making her hard to stop from just about anywhere in the goal circle. Maryka Holtzhausen also poses an imposing threat with her strong drives and ability to draw the attention of the defender. South Africa are also strong through the midcourt with the likes of Bongi Msomi and Erin Burger impressive through the centre and attacking third. Msomi has showcased her speed, dynamic footwork and vision to feed the ball seamlessly into the shooters, while Burger has plied her trade running hard both ways to provide hands over pressure and be an attacking force. South Africa have arguably the best goal defence in the world with Karla Pretorius in a league of her own. The talented defender has a unique ability to win ball that no one else can, read the play and use her quick footwork to clog up space and force turnovers. Her partnership with Phumza Maweni is electric with the two able to limit the easy access into goal and cut off ball time and time again credit to their athleticism and netball understanding.

England are equally as blessed with genuine guns across the court. Having established themselves as competition front runners the Roses are dynamic, slick and extremely skilful with ball in hand. They have game winners in each third with the likes of Serena Guthrie through the midcourt able to turn the game on its head. Her extreme athleticism and speed makes her an integral member for the Roses, given her ability to win ball back and take game changing intercepts. Up the defensive end the likes of Geva Mentor, Eboni Usoro-Brown and Fran Williams pose an imminent threat credit to their netball nous, though will be missing stalwart defender Layla Guscoth for the remainder of competition to injury. Mentor is all class with her impressive footwork, cleanliness and sheer defensive pressure to force turnovers and mistakes by opposition shooters. In the goal circle the Roses possess plenty of firepower with Jo Harten able to shoot from anywhere in the circle while Rachel Dunn oozes experience and composure.

There will be plenty of excitement and intensity in this game with both sides vying for the number one position in the pool and bragging rights. With potential match-ups between Harten and Maweni along with Guthrie and Burger the game could literally be won in any third.

NWC19 reviews: Day 1 – Favourites cruise through as Barbados and Zimbabwe produce magical wins

NEW ZEALAND (64) defeated MALAWI (45)

New Zealand has exorcised any past demons from its shock loss to Malawi at last year’s Commonwealth Games, downing the Queens by 19 points on the opening day of the Netball World Cup. In the first completed match of the tournament, the Silver Ferns took control early with a six-goal lead at quarter time and really strangled the life out of Malawi in the second term, restricting their opponents to just six goals as they raced to a 15-goal lead at the main break. It was tight after half-time but New Zealand still managed to extend its lead by four, eventually getting up 64-45. It was far from a disgraceful loss for the Queens who actually had more possession (53 per cent), but with 23 turnovers to 15, Malawi coughed up the ball more than they would like. New Zealand’s 100 per cent accuracy of the long bomb was a treat to watch, whilst the defensive duo of Casey Kopua (nine deflections, three centre pass receives, two rebounds and two intercepts) and Jane Watson (three deflections, one intercept) restricted Malawi to just 60 per cent under the post. Maria Folau continued her terrific form in the goal circle with 39 goals from 43 attempts, while Ameliaranne Ekanasio posted an accurate 20 from 21. Laura Langman was unsurprisingly solid in the midcourt with 19 goal assists and 23 feeds. For Malawi, the goal circle duo of Joyce Mvula (22 goals from 27 attempts) and Jane Chimaliro (18 from 22) were impressive, although they would have loved to have had Mwai Kumwenda out on the court. Takondwa Lwazi (18 goal assists, 35 feeds) was also impressive playing through wing attack, as was Towera Vinkumbo up the other end with three rebounds and an intercept.

BARBADOS (69) defeated SINGAPORE (34)

Barbados has taken care of business in its opening round match with Singapore, smashing the lowest ranked nation by 35 goals in a dominant performance by the Americas qualifier. From the first whistle until the final one, it was all the Bajan Gems who posted 33 goals to 14 in an explosive first half to all but seal the victory early on. They did not take the foot off the pedal in the second half, though Singapore found greater fluency through to its goal circle reaching double figures in both terms, but Barbados comfortably got home 69-34. The winners dominated across the court, smashing their opponents in feeds (93-57), intercepts (16-7) and rebounds (13-3) with height being a huge factor in the result. Barbados’ goalkeeper Shonette Azore-Bruce was a star with a massive 10 rebounds, four intercepts and four deflections, while partner in crime in the defensive circle, Rhe-Ann Niles-Mapp showed all her years of experience with six deflections and two intercepts herself. Up the other end, Latonia Blackman (22 goals from 23 attempts) and Shonic Wharton (27 from 29) were on point, while Amanda Knight was terrific in the midcourt with 16 goal assists, 29 feeds and three intercepts, whilst wing attack Damisha Croney helped herself to 15 goal assists and 25 feeds. For Singapore, Sindhu Nair had seven deflections and two intercepts, wile the bulk of the scoring was left up to Charmaine Soh (21 goals from 31 attempts).

AUSTRALIA (88) defeated NORTHERN IRELAND (24)

It was a clinical performance from the Aussie Diamonds who proved that they have a point to prove and are seeking redemption. The relatively new-look team held no punches competing hard across the court and using their connections to render Northern Ireland scoreless for the opening four and a half minutes of the first quarter. Sarah Klau made her presence felt in her debut game picking off passes and using her netball smarts to move her feet and get around the body of Emma Magee and Shaunagh Craig. Klau finished with a whopping six gains, four intercepts and five deflections. The Diamonds’ pressure right across the court proved to be too hot to handle with each player firing on all cylinders and flying down the court with precision and pace. The connection between former Sunshine Coast Lightning attacking trio Caitlin Bassett, Steph Wood and Kelsey Browne was in full flight with the three linking up with ease and sighting one another in the goal circle with ease. Browne was awarded Player of the Match honours given her impressive performance, hitting the circle edge time and time again while showcasing her dynamic footwork to outmanoeuvre her opponent. Lisa Alexander made a host of changes at half time swapping five of the starting seven with Paige Hadley making her much-awaited return to the Diamonds coming on in centre, relieving Liz Watson of her duties in the third. Hadley used her strength and vision to pierce through the defence. Meanwhile the transition from Bassett and Wood to Caitlin Thwaites and Gretel Tippett was seamless with the two goalers only missing two shots for the game and finishing with 25 from 26 and 18 from 19 respectively. Although it was a relatively one sided affair, Northern Ireland had passages of good play led by the likes of Caroline O’Hanlon who was strong through the midcourt driving hard before she was helped from the court after a big collision with Jamie-Lee Price. Overall it was an impressive performance from Australia who limited Northern Ireland to a mere nine goals in the second half of the game credit to their defensive pressure and strength around the contest.

ZIMBABWE (79) defeated SRI LANKA (49)

In a history-making day, Zimbabwe won its first Netball World Cup match on debut, downing Asian region qualifiers, Sri Lanka by 30 goals in a high-scoring affair. The Gems took control and extended their lead each term to the point it was 11 by the final break. The floodgates opened in the last term as the debuting nation piled on 26 goals to seven in the final term with ease getting to the post. Joice Takaidza posted the most goals (59) of any player in the first session as she and Ursula Ndlovu (14 goals from 15 attempts) created all sorts of headaches for Sri Lanka. Whilst the goalers were posting up high numbers at great accuracy, it was the defensive end getting it done with Felisitus Kwanga picking up seven intercepts, five deflections and a rebound, reading the Lankans’ feeds through to the circle perfectly. Sri Lanka relied too much on their towering goal shooter, Tharjini Sivalingam who admittedly was unstoppable when the ball went in her zone, shooting 44 goals from 45 attempts, but with her posting almost 90 per cent of Sri Lanka’s total goals, it became more predictable to defend. Dulangi Wannithileka did score from all of her five attempts in goal attack, also having 17 goal assists and 21 feeds on the day. Neither side took a shot from long range, preferring to get the ball in close, but Zimbabwe were cleaner with the ball as the Lankans turned the ball over 38 times and were well beaten in gains (5-21) and intercepts (3-13) with Zimbabwe fans confident they can be a serious player in this year’s World Cup.

JAMAICA (85) defeated FIJI (29)

The Sunshine Girls starred with a 56-point win over the Fiji Pearls who simply could not stop the scoring prowess of Jamaica. Fiji struggled from the first whistle with Jamaica kicking into gear and covering all options while making the most of their opportunities under the post. The Sunshine Girls have a plethora of options with star players across the court particularly in the defensive and offensive circle. Romelda Aiken got the nod at goal shooter over Jhaniele Fowler and although she had a relatively shaky start the star shooter worked her way into the match scoring 26 goals from 36 attempts at 72 percent. Shanice Beckford made her presence felt on the court in the first quarter with the speedy goal attack creating space and showcasing her accuracy to post with long bombs sitting at 11 from 13. Though Jamaica got off to a hot start it was the third quarter that really blew Fiji away with a 27 to four goal quarter highlighting their scoring ability and defensive pressure. Fowler made her way onto the court slotting goal after goal finishing with 33 from 35 at 94 percent for a half of netball. with such a strong lead the Sunshine Girls made a few changes in the goal circle pushing Aiken out into unfamiliar territory at goal attack with Fowler down back in goal shooter making for a dynamic and tall goal circle that proved difficult to control. Kadie-Ann Dehaney, Shamera Sterling and Vangelee Williams all starred getting hands to ball with ease and applying strong hands over pressure creating doubt in the minds of Fiji shooters. The top scorer for Fiji was Unaisi Rauluni who managed 10 from 13, she was closely followed by Lydia Panapasa who scored seven from nine. Unfortunately for the Pearls they were unable to penetrate through the defence of Jamaica who clogged up space and came off the body to pick off passes and propel the ball back down the court with pace and precision.

SOUTH AFRICA (76) defeated TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO (45)

The South Africans have showed much improvement in recent years, and well and truly showcased their skills dominating against Trinidad and Tobago at every turn. The match started relatively even with both sides capitalising off turnovers, sharing the ball evenly with the SPAR Proteas only up by four goals at the first change. It was the second term that got the ball rolling for the Proteas, with Lenize Potgieter (42 goals from 43) backing up a dominant first term and shooting 16 goals – more alone than Trinidad and Tobago in the second. The third term went much the same, with the Proteas limiting goal opportunities but Trinidad and Tobago lifting their defensive pressure to deny South Africa easy ball in attack with Shaquanda Greene racking up three gains to sit equal with South Africa’s Karla Pretorius for the quarter. The South Africans pulled out the margin again in the final quarter, shooting 20 goals to 11 in the last on their way to a 31 goal victory. Sam Wallace was impressive as ever in the loss, capitalising off plenty of opportunities at the post and shooting 28 goals from 30 attempts as she topscored for Trinidad and Tobago. Defensively, South Africa’s Pretorius was dominant as ever, racking up seven gains and four intercepts, while Trinidad and Tobago’s Aniecia Baptiste racked up eight deflections (two to advantage) and three gains in goal defence. Through the midcourt, Bongi Msomi got plenty of the ball with 17 centre pass receives and 31 goals from 45 feeds while Maryka Holtzhausen had a blinder in at goal attack with 18 goals at 82 per cent, 22 centre pass receives, 18 goal assists and two intercepts. Trinidad and Tobago’s Rhonda John-Davis racked up 17 assists from 32 feeds, while Candice Guerero had 14 from 25 in centre.

SCOTLAND (53) defeated SAMOA (35)

It started off as a close contest before Scotland pulled away in the second half to claim the all important win. Samoa put up a fight going in hard and sticking to their structures to work their way through the defence and feed the ball into the shooters particularly in the first quarter with only two goals separating them at the break. But Scotland just chipped away and slowly wore down their opponents to open the game up and capitalise. In the goal circle the likes of Bethan Goodwin and Lynsey Gallagher stood up with their composure and accuracy second to none with 21 from 25 and 23 from 27 respectively. Youngster Emma Barrie also got a run in at goal shooter showcasing her ability to have an influence on the play slotting eight from nine. Defensively Emily Nicholl was solid for Scotland winning back a fair share of the ball credit to her clever footwork and ability to read the play and drop into holes amassing four gains, two intercepts and five deflections. Though Samoa were unable to sustain their first quarter performance across the whole game they had glimpses of brilliance moving the ball with pace and skill to dodge their way through Scotland’s pressure and deliver into the goal circle. Toa Tanimo impressed throughout the match with her composure and accuracy to post leading the way for Samoa with 18 goals from 20 attempts at 90 percent. Goal attack Sanita To’o was pivotal in attack both in the goal circle and across the transverse line to bring the ball down into the shooting third with 13 feeds and 12 centre pass receives highlighting the wealth of work she does off the ball. Rachel Rasmussen and Gene Solia-Gibb worked exceptionally well in defence bouncing off one another and applying good pressure to try and limit the forward thrusts from Scotland picking up a combined six gains, one intercept and nine deflections credit to their hard work.

Netball World Cup Preview: Jamaica

THE 2019 Netball World Cup sees 16 countries head to Liverpool, England, with 60 matches played over the 10 day period between July 12-21. Countries have been split into four pools, playing a round robin in that pool before going further depending on their respective success.

Jamaica have rocketed into second on the International Netball Federation World Rankings as of the beginning of July, putting the side in the position to go far in the Netball World Cup based on confidence alone after beating out New Zealand for the bronze medal in the 2018 Commonwealth Games. The Sunshine Girls have proved they have what it takes to challenge the top sides in recent years, using their underdog status to push teams across the board and pose a big threat if given the opportunity. Jamaica have possibly the most difficult lineup of the top five countries as they are in Pool C, taking on South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago and Fiji in the opening matches before potentially proceeding forward in the competition.

Captain and dominant goal shooter, Jhaniele Fowler is among the biggest names in the Sunshine Girls camp, standing tall at the post and aided by Romelda Aiken who has proved a stalwart option in the circle since her debut. With young gun Shimona Nelson named but unable to play due to an ongoing injury and limited load, Shanice Beckford will be the key in attack to both feed into the circle and provide a small, speedy option inside with a skilled long-bomb shooting ability. However, with both Fowler and Aiken likely to play the role of the traditional tall holding shooter, it will be down to form for who takes the court, especially given neither player has the versatility, speed or endurance to rotate into goal attack. Aiken can also play a valuable role in defence if required, mixing in with the likes of Shamera Sterling, Kadie-Ann Dehaney, Stacian Facey and Vangelee Williams to generate valuable ball back and propel through the midcourt to attack. Sterling has an exceptional track record over the past year, using her consistency, long arms and lithe movement to cleanly intercept and pick off the loose ball, while Facey and Dehaney can provide different height options to highlight their respective aerial and footwork abilities. But while Jamaica have dominant options bookending the court in both attack and defence, the Sunshine Girls’ midcourt is a relatively unknown quantity so will likely be the difference in the big matches of the competition against more consistent sides. Through the midcourt are Adean Thomas, Khadijah Williams, Nicole Dixon and Jodi-Ann Ward, who all have a wealth of experience and versatility to play whichever role is required of them. With Beckford able to rotate into the midcourt and Ward able to move into the defensive circle if needed, the side certainly has no shortage of options in the instance of injury.

Fixtures:

Round 1: vs. Fiji, July 12
Round 2: vs. Trinidad and Tobago, July 13
Round 3: vs. South Africa, July 14

Predicted finish: 5th