Reply To: HISTORY OF THE NETBALL WORLD CUP2020-04-06T21:49:48+10:00
Avatar photoIan Harkin
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    From the NZ Herald…
    World-beating Silver Ferns – Kingston 2003

    Temepara Clark’s sending off was the make or break moment in the 2003 final, recalls the winning Silver Ferns captain Anna Stanley, who was Anna Rowberry then. The New Zealand netballers broke a 16-year drought in Jamaica, beating Australia 49-47 in the final after being a player down for a two-goal penalty period. Clark, the Silver Ferns’ centre and player of the final, was dismissed during the final quarter for repeated infringements.

    Coaches Ruth Aitken and Leigh Gibbs had planned for that and many other possibilities but still, it was a rare event to deal with. “It was a huge moment and unheard of in netball. I’d never struck it in a game although it became a bit of an in-thing after the world champs,” says the 31-year-old Stanley. “It was huge to lose one of our stars and centre, but it didn’t ruffle any feathers and we didn’t lose our pass off while she was off.”

    “We’d planned for all sorts of things, including what to do should the lights go off, which actually happened while Jamaica were playing Australia. The Jamaicans are pretty laid back people, a bit unpredictable, and we had to prepare for a few scenarios. Lesley [Nicol] went from wing defence to centre as planned but I was going ‘oh my god, oh my god’ and trying to take my bib off to go to centre. It’s the pressure of the moment – you forget practical reasoning. The main thing is to stick to your job and not try and do a million and one things. We did that, Bubs [Clark] came back on, and we were away again.”

    The 2003 world champions had a few travelling supporters including Stanley’s parents and a sister. “It was quite special seeing the Kiwis in the crowd, thinking they had come all that way to support us,” she says. She remembers the Jamaicans as loud and friendly although the players were conscious of their security when leaving their motel.

    Inevitably, Bob Marley music loomed large although the tournament song The World’s Greatest by R. Kelly brings back fondest memories. It has become a retrospective theme for team members, although their campaign motto was “if you want something you’ve never had, you’ve got to do something you’ve never done”.

    A Vilimaina Davu intercept sealed the win in the final and the ball ended up with Stanley at the last whistle. “I threw it into the air and thought ‘holy hell, we’ve won’,” says Stanley. Next came the drug testing – an ordeal for the dehydrated Stanley and two teammates. Against the rules, they sent attendants for beer to help the process. “I have such wonderful memories of the tournament,” says Stanley, who lives in Tauranga with her husband Jeremy Stanley, the former All Black, and their one-year-old daughter Jaya. Stanley was jogging/pram pushing when the Herald called.

    She says: “I thought it might be quite hard when I retired but what I’ve learnt is that no one can ever take the memories away. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I did play netball and was a world champion. But I can look back and be really proud.”

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