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2011 – 13TH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS (SINGAPORE)
For the 13th World Championships, netball headed back to Singapore for a second time and it was another memorable tournament. In the playoff for fifth, South Africa and Malawi had another great battle, with the Proteas coming out on top this time 52-50. Then England totally dominated the Jamaicans 70-49 to claim third place.
But the main attraction was the final and it was another classic. Australia had lost their captain Sharelle McMahon to injury earlier in the year. Centre Nat von Bertouch took over the captaincy, and she had another great duel here with Kiwi rival Laura Langman. New Zealand started strongly and led 26-20 at half time. Irene van Dyk was on top, and at the other end, the Australians were struggling in attack.
This led Norma Plummer to make changes to the Diamonds, bringing goal shooter Caitlin Bassett and goal keeper Laura Geitz into the game. The changes produced immediate results with the margin reduced to just one at three-quarter time.
With time running out in the fourth quarter, the Ferns looked headed for victory. They were up by one and had possession. But a steal by player of the match Nat Medhurst saw Australia draw level.
And so we were off to extra time. Less than a year after the unbelievable commonwealth games final in Delhi, here we were again. At this stage, it seemed almost impossible to separate these two teams.
In extra time, the play ebbed and flowed until finally it came to Maria Tutaia who had the chance to shoot the winning goal. But her shot rimmed out. Geitz was there to pick up the scraps and send the ball down court. The ball found its way to Bassett at the other end, who calmly shot the winning goal in the final seconds, prompting another huge celebration from the Diamonds.
It was another incredible finish, and the two players that Plummer had brought on at half time, had played a big hand. Although she didn’t know it at the time, this would be the legendary shooter van Dyk’s fifth and last world cup, having played in two with South Africa and three with New Zealand.