Birmingham Scoop – Day 6

Birmingham Scoop – Day 6

Wednesday 3rd August


**Keep your eyes on Netball Scoop’s socials, as we bring you a “Behind the Scenes” vlog of each day’s activities, along with ‘Short and Sharp’ on the Reels.** 




South Africa 69 def Wales 51
Uganda 63 def Northern Ireland 26
Scotland 72 def Barbados 28
Malawi 70 def Trinidad & Tobago 30




I’ll have what she’s having. 

An overeager Malawi fan rocked, yelled and cheered in the stands, with just one issue – she was a game early. She left and later returned for the correct match, and together with a group of passionate fans provided quite a test of concentration for commentator Jenny Woods, who was not only sitting just a couple of metres from the superfan, but was covering the game on her own.

Meanwhile, the quarter time interview in the Uganda/Northern Ireland was one of the best yet. The presenter spoke to Moira, who plays for club A & A Music. Moira has played for the past 70 years, and covers all positions on court other than centre, as she thinks she might find that one a little hard to keep up with. Fair play Moira! 

After using hand towels to dry the court, much to the crowd’s bemusement, improvements were finally made on Day 6 with the introduction of mops. They got rousing applause from the audience when they appeared. 

The Earl and Countess of Wessex and children had a family day out at the netball. They watched the Wales-South Africa game, later joined the fan zone, and met the English Roses. 

There has been a bit of chatter about the blow-out scorelines this tournament and Scotland’s head coach, Tamsin Greenway had some strong thoughts about the topic. When we posted those on our socials, ANZ Premiership coach, Kiri Wills (Northern Stars) had a brilliant offer: that the Thistles head to NZ to play a preseason tournament against some of their ANZ sides. It might take a little strategic planning, but we know fans will be right behind this idea! 



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Nia Jones recently celebrated her 50th test match for Wales, and in a lovely act of symmetry, it turns out her current coach, Sara Moore, was her former goal keeper (to Jones’ GD) when Nia made her original debut. 


Nia Jones with her coach and former teammate, Sara Moore. Image Jenny Sinclair.


It’s fair to say Uganda have had some shoe issues this tournament – they just haven’t been laced tightly enough. The latest issue came when Gary Burgess was umpiring, and he promptly told an athlete he wasn’t holding time so she could relace her shoe, but rather that the penalty could be set. 

Burgess later had the crowd in stitches when he said,  “No, No, No!” to the goal defence. We hope she got the message, Gary. 



Shadine van der Merwe appears to still be on managed time for an undisclosed niggle, and only took part in half South Africa’s match. 

Nia Jones (Wales) had a heavy fall during the first quarter of her match, and appeared to bump her head. However, she played out the game. 

After a heavy fall yesterday, Proscovia Peace (Uganda) sat out the entire match today against Northern Ireland.


Nia Jones was grimacing after a heavy fall. Image Sue McKay/Kick It To Me Photography



Mary Cholhok (Uganda) – 41/46 (89%)
Shaffie Nalwanja (Uganda) – seven gains
Michelle Magee (Northern Ireland) – seven gains
Shonette Azore-Bruce (Barbados) – eight gains



Michelle Magee lifted her team from the back. While the Northern Ireland team struggled in at times, she was impressive with her tenacity to keep the ball bouncing back, with seven gains including four intercepts, four pickups and a rebound in the match against Uganda.

Elmere van der Berg impressed for South Africa in their win. Playing firstly at goal attack, she combined well with Ine-Mari Venter for three quarters, before taking over the goal shooter position in the final quarter. She is confident on the shot, and her height makes her a difficult opponent in the circle. 

Defender Nicola Smith also had a big impact when injected into the game in the second quarter. She finished the game with six possession gains and while in combination with Phumza Maweni, the South African team took charge.

After a slow start in the first quarter, when the Ugandan team struggled to find their connections against Northern Ireland, shooting spearhead Mary Cholhok went on to dominate the final three quarters, eventually finishing with 41/46.

The Bajan captain, Shonette Azore-Bruce had an impressive outing at goal keeper. She used all her wiles and experience against the Scottish shooters, to finish with five rebounds, five pickups and an intercept. 

Emily Nicholl did Scotland proud. To match her four intercepts, two pick-ups and one rebound, she made quite a statement! 


Shadine van der Merwe has been on managed minutes at the Commonwealth Games, as she continues to manage an injury. Image Sue McKay/Kick It To Me Photography




South Africa 69 def Wales 51 (12-12, 19-9, 22-11, 16-19)

Wales came into this match off a strong showing against Pool A leaders Australia, which would have filled them with confidence prior to taking on South Africa. Both teams started with tall shooters, but were unable to find attacking connections in the early part of the game. Bethan Dyke for Wales and Bongi Msomi for South Africa had high work rates throughout the match, putting in consistent, repeated efforts to find circle edge to make feeding into the tall shooters as easy as possible.

The South African defenders were highly penalised, giving Wales several opportunities at easy goals or allowing them to reset following a miss, which Wales needed as their shooting percentage was lower than they would’ve liked. The injection of Nicola Smith in place of Zanele Vimbela saw the defensive pressure lift, helping shut down the Wales attacking end in the latter half of the second quarter. 

South Africa lifted to another level after half time, with Wales being forced to feed from off the circle edge which gave Phumza Maweni & Smith ample opportunity to contest in the air, and often end up with ball in hand. Welsh defenders had no answers to the dynamic movement in the South African attacking end, with the shooters growing in confidence and nailing their shots from range. 

Wales were unfortunately unable to keep their intensity from the first quarter for the remaining 45 minutes, with the game blowing out in favour of the Proteas. This gave the South Africans a chance to rest some of their big players including Msomi, Maweni, Van de Merwe & Venter who have seen limited bench time over the Pool matches. With South African stars on the bench, Wales mounted a comeback in the final 10 minutes. Captain Nia Jones hustled hard through the mid court, earning crucial turnovers that shooter Betsy Creak was able to convert in impressive fashion, hyping up the crowd in the process. 

Wales won the final quarter by three, and will be pleased with their start and end of the game. Their ability to maintain it for 60 minutes will be vital as they look to put out a strong performance against bottom ranked Barbados, to maintain fourth spot in Pool A and hope to play off for 7th and 8th position come finals. 

South Africa appear to have identified their strongest seven, with the mid court and goal defence position causing the most difficulty for coaches. They face Scotland tomorrow, which will be a chance to challenge themselves while likely securing a win. They will be eyeing of a 5th vs 6th face off against fellow African nation Uganda or Malawi to determine their final ranking at the tournament. 

van der BERG 35/39 (90%)
VENTER 33/36 (92%)
TALJAARD 1/1 (100%)
TOTAL 69/76 (91%)

CREAK 26/37 (70%)
ROWE 21/25 (84%)
ROBERTS 4/5 (80%)
TOTAL 51/67 (76%)


Elmere van der Berg is a rising star for South Africa. Image Sue McKay/Kick It To Me Photography


Captain Bongiwe Msomi warming up for South Africa. Image Sue McKay/Kick It To Me Photography


Uganda 63 defeated Northern Ireland 26 (11-5, 17-6, 17-8, 18-7)

It was a slick consistent match from the She Cranes and one the Warriors would rather forget. Northern Ireland showed signs of fatigue from the outset, with their running lines and passes easily predicted and negated by Uganda, who duly converted a high proportion of their gains and turnovers.

The tone was set with a deflected shot by Nampungu in the first quarter. From then on, she and her goal keeper Nalwanja picked off balls at will, combining for 13 gains and only 17 penalties. The Ugandans were faster all across the court, pushing the Northern Ireland team into long leads away from the ball and snaffling intercepts both in the air and on the ground. Northern Ireland could string together nice play for four or five passes, but then either rushed a long pass or hesitated on a feed.

Plenty of cautions and warnings were dished out by umpire Gary Burgess, to Toner for repeated contacts, and to several Ugandans for intentional obstruction. The Warriors were on the wrong end of the whistle by far, with four athletes incurring 11 penalties or more. Even forgiving that, Northern Ireland had a woeful shooting outcome of 59%, compared to a mighty 90% of their opponents. Cholhok was a wonderful target – she mixed up her game with holds front and back, occasional drives out to assist downcourt play, and a frenzy of successful long-range attempts in the final quarter.

Michelle Magee was the best for the Northern Irish, playing the most minutes and finishing with seven gains. She kept her eyes and her energy level up throughout the match. 

Northern Ireland athlete, Niamh Cooper discusses the match with The Netball Show. Listen here or on your favourite podcast app.

CHOLHOK 41/46 (89%)
EYARU 8/9 (89%)
NASSANGA 14/15 (93%)
TOTAL 63/70 (90%)

CROSBIE 14/20 (70%)
MAGEE 7/11 (64%)
MCGRATH 3/5 (60%)
BOWMAN 2/8 (25%)
TOTAL 26/44 (59%)


Proscovia Peace was unable to take part in today’s match. Image Sue McKay/Kick It To Me Photography


Scotland 72 def Barbados 28 (18-4, 24-7, 12-9, 18-8) 

Scotland continued their growth across the week, with a strong 44 goal victory against Barbados. Featuring slick ball movement through court, improved accuracy, and strong defensive work, Scotland dominated throughout the court. Driven by Iona Christian’s midcourt leadership (26 feeds, 14 centre pass receives), she and Hannah Leighton provided crisp service to their shooters. With Beth Goodwin and Niamh McCall both sitting at 88%, Scotland’s accuracy was a highlight. 

Latonia Blackman, Barbados’ most capped player who is attending her 6th Commonwealth Games – a joint netball record shared with England’s Geva Mentor – switched between goal attack and wing attack during the match. She was among the Bajan’s best, with 14 feeds, 7 centre pass receives for just three turnovers. Blackman said after the match, “I just play to keep to keep fit.

“I go running early in the morning about 5 o’clock, I workout on the beach sometimes, and go to the gym.”

Inspired by her 15 year old daughter, Blackman said that the lack of match practice during Covid has been particularly difficult for the team.

Both sides emptied their benches in the third quarter, with all players other than Barbados’ Zakiya Kirton, earning court time. Less experienced players such as Kelly Boyle and Sarah McPhail made the most of their opportunities, but national coach Tamsin Greenway would have been frustrated with her charges, with a score differential of just three across that 15 minute period. 

For Barbados, defenders Akina Stoute (3 gains) and Shonette Azore-Bruce (8 gains) were among their sides best. However, the loss relegates them to the bottom of Pool A, and most likely the play off for 11th versus 12th against either Trinidad & Tobago or Northern Ireland. 

Unless Scotland can cause a big upset against South Africa, they will probably play off for 9th or 10th. 

GOODWIN 30/34 (88%)
McCALL 22/25 (88%)
BARRIE 20/25 (80%)
TOTAL 72/84 (86%)

AGARD 19/23 (83%)
WHARTON 5/8 (63%)
HOLDER 4/6 (67%)
TOTAL 28/37 (76%)


Scottish fans have shown they’re as passionate as anyone! Image Jenny Sinclair


Malawi 70 def Trinidad & Tobago 30 (17-8, 22-7, 18-8, 13-7)

Improved shooting accuracy from both sides was a feature of the last match of the night. With Malawi and Trinidad & Tobago each playing possession style games, ball was difficult to win unless errors were made. Defensive pressure from Malawi’s defenders forced Trinidad & Tobago into22 turnovers across the match – however, while they were defeated, it was perhaps the best outing of the tournament from the Caribbean nation, and certainly a strong last quarter. 

Malawi’s captain and goal defence Caroline Mtukule (2 gains), in combination with Towera Vinkhumbo (7 gains), made life challenging for their opponents. They created a number of turnovers, and then swung the ball with speed into attack. 

However, the match ups of the evening were happening in the opposite circle, with Shaquanda Greene and Aniecia Baptiste defending Mwai Kumwenda and Sindi Simtowe in a highly aerial and athletic contest. 

After the score blew out in the second quarter, Trinidad & Tobago reduced their error level and held Malawi to 13 goals in the final term.

Tomorrow’s games featuring these sides will be fascinating. Trinidad & Tobago will take on Northern Ireland to determine who finishes 5th and 6th in their pool, while Malawi’s match against Uganda will feature 3rd v 4th. 

KUMWENDA 27/28 (96%)
MVULA 22/26 (85%)
CHIMALIRO 16/16 (100%)
SIMTOWE 5/6 (83%)
TOTAL 70/76 (92%)

NOEL 23/26 (88%)
COOPER 2/4 (50%)
TOTAL 30/39 (77%)



(local UK time)

9am – Australia v Jamaica
11am – Wales v Barbados

2 pm – Trinidad & Tobago v Northern Ireland
4pm – Malawi v Uganda

7pm – South Africa v Scotland
9pm – New Zealand v England


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