HISTORY OF THE NETBALL WORLD CUP2020-03-27T07:39:25+10:00


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  • Ian HarkinIan Harkin
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    2015 – 14TH WORLD CUP (SYDNEY)

    Back to Sydney 24 years after the successful 1991 event, and there was another step forward for netball with the re-branding of the tournament, so this was now the 14th Netball World Cup. And it was another success. The world record for a netball crowd was broken three times. 16,752 attended the final and that now stands as the record.

    There was a change in format for this event, aimed at getting closer, higher quality matches in the group stages. Unfortunately, there was a lack of fairness though as teams ranked just outside the top eight, were given little or no chance of breaking into that top eight.

    One of the major reasons for the change in format was to take advantage of the enormous popularity of clashes between Australia and New Zealand and to have them meeting early in the tournament.

    When they did clash on just the third day, it was the Kiwis who came out on top, with an impressive five goal win. This win no doubt gave them confidence, but it also allowed the Diamonds to look at improvements, should they meet again in the final.

    And meet again they did. There were close, intense battles throughout the whole tournament, but ultimately, we were left with another trans-Tasman final. In the semis, New Zealand defeated England by 11 goals, and then Australia beat Jamaica by exactly the same margin.

    The final was almost decided in the first quarter. A dominant opening from Australian captain Laura Geitz at goal keeper and Julie Corletto in goal defence, shut the Silver Ferns shooters out of the game and the Diamonds led by nine at quarter time.

    New Zealand narrowed the gap in each of the last three quarters, but the damage had been done. The Aussies held on in a tense final 15 minutes to win 58-55 and claim their 11th title.

    Caitlin Bassett shot 48/51, the most goals by anyone in a world cup final, and she was ably supported by the terrific work of Nat Medhurst at goal attack. Medhurst and Corletto both won their third straight world title, and later it was revealed that Corletto had in fact played the majority of the game with a fracture in her foot.

    In the playoff for third, England easily accounted for Jamaica 66-44, while South Africa once again got the better of close rivals Malawi 48-46 in the battle for fifth. Despite that result, Malawi’s Mwai Kumwenda was named player of the tournament.

    This was the fifth and last world cup for Sonia Mkoloma of England and Leana de Bruin of New Zealand, both equalling the record. Rhonda John-Davis of Trinidad and Tobago also played in her fifth event, but continued to play on, meaning she would have the chance to break the record by going for number six in Liverpool.


    Ian HarkinIan Harkin
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    1st – AUSTRALIA
    BASSETT, Caitlin
    BELL, Erin
    BULLEY, Rebecca
    CORLETTO, Julie
    GEITZ, Laura (Captain)
    GREEN, Kimberlee
    HADLEY, Paige
    HALLINAN, Renae
    LAYTON, Sharni
    MEDHURST, Natalie
    THWAITES, Caitlin
    Coach: Lisa Alexander

    2nd – NEW ZEALAND
    BROWN, Jodi
    CULLEN, Kayla
    DE BRUIN, Leana
    FRANCOIS, Shannon
    GRANT, Katrina
    KARAKA, Phoenix
    KOPUA, Casey (Captain)
    LANGMAN, Laura
    MES, Bailey
    PASEKA, Malia
    RASMUSSEN, Grace
    TUTAIA, Maria
    Coach: Wai Taumaunu

    3rd – ENGLAND
    BAYMAN, Sara
    CLARKE, Jade
    COOKEY, Pamela
    DUNN, Rachel
    FRANCIS, Stacey
    GREENWAY, Tamsin
    GUTHRIE, Serena
    HARTEN, Jo
    HOUSBY, Helen
    MENTOR, Geva (Captain)
    MKOLOMA, Sonia
    Coach: Tracey Neville

    All team lists… https://netballscoop.com/forums/topic/team-lists-2015-world-cup-2/

    Ian HarkinIan Harkin
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    4 pools of 4 teams with the top teams then going to another 2 pools of 4, then on to semi finals and a final.


    POOL A

    New Zealand 73 def Barbados 28
    (Paseka 28/38, Mes 24/31, Tutaia 12/15, Brown 9/12)
    (Wharton 14/16, Piggott 6/6, Sealy 4/5, Thomas 4/6)

    Australia 73 def Trinidad & Tobago 32
    (Thwaites 26/32, Bell 18/19, Bassett 17/18, Medhurst 12/15)
    (Wallace 11/14, McCollin 10/11, Noel 6/11, Cooper 5/7)

    New Zealand 74 def Trinidad & Tobago 38
    (Mes 21/25, Paseka 21/27, Brown 16/20, Tutaia 16/20)
    (Wallace 24/30, Cooper 9/11, McCollin 4/4, Noel 1/1)

    Australia 83 def Barbados 16
    (Bassett 30/30, Bell 21/24, Thwaites 17/18, Medhurst 15/19)
    (Wharton 7/13, Piggott 5/11, Thomas 4/5)

    Trinidad & Tobago 55 def Barbados 39
    (Wallace 37/42, Cooper 18/20)
    (Wharton 23/25, Thomas 7/8, Piggott 6/8, Sealy 3/3)

    New Zealand 52 def Australia 47
    (Tutaia 34/48, Mes 18/21)
    (Bassett 38/43, Medhurst 6/7, Bell 3/7)

    Pool order:
    1. New Zealand
    2. Australia

    3. Trinidad & Tobago
    4. Barbados

    POOL B

    Jamaica 90 def Samoa 44
    (Fowler-Reid 39/45, Aiken 29/32, Beckford 11/13, Griffiths 11/16)
    (Naoupu 21/26, Tanimo 15/20, To’o 8/11)

    England 60 def Scotland 19
    (Dunn 22/23, Harten 16/22, Cookey 11/12, Housby 11/15)
    (Sole 13/17, Pettitt 3/6, Gallagher 3/7)

    Scotland 47 def Samoa 36
    (Sole 19/28, Gallagher 15/20, MacDonald 13/14)
    (Tanimo 20/20, Naoupu 14/14, To’o 2/2)

    England 54 def Jamaica 50
    (Harten 37/46, Housby 11/13, Cookey 6/8)
    (Aiken 27/29, Beckford 17/20, Fowler-Reid 6/7)

    England 85 def Samoa 34
    (Harten 30/35, Housby 26/29, Cookey 17/17, Dunn 12/16)
    (Tanimo 17/18, Tuipulotu 8/10, To’o 7/9, Naoupu 2/5)

    Jamaica 71 def Scotland 24
    (Fowler-Reid 59/62, Griffiths 12/14)
    (Pettitt 9/15, Sole 8/14, Gallagher 7/11)

    Pool order:
    1. England
    2. Jamaica

    3. Scotland
    4. Samoa

    Ian HarkinIan Harkin
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    POOL C

    Singapore 56 def Sri Lanka 43
    (Soh 39/55, Chen 17/25)
    (Algama 34/39, Alwis 9/11)

    Malawi 58 def South Africa 51
    (Kumwenda 40/43, Simtowe 18/24)
    (Potgieter 43/48, Holtzhausen 8/14)

    South Africa 69 def Singapore 21
    (Potgieter 39/45, du Plessis 19/27, Holtzhausen 11/14)
    (Soh 11/18, Yu 6/9, Chen 4/6)

    Malawi 101 def Sri Lanka 18
    (Kumwenda 32/36, Mvula 28/31, Chimaliro 21/22, Simtowe 20/22)
    (Alwis 7/8, Mendis 6/11, Algama 5/9)

    Malawi 75 def Singapore 31
    (Kumwenda 39/43, Simtowe 23/24, Chimaliro 7/7, Mvula 6/9)
    (Soh 23/31, Chen 5/10, Yu 3/4)

    South Africa 89 def Sri Lanka 17
    (Potgieter 43/46, Holtzhausen 21/24, Lombard 14/19, du Plessis 11/11)
    (Algama 13/17, Alwis 3/7, Mendis 1/4)

    Pool order:
    1. Malawi
    2. South Africa

    3. Singapore
    4. Sri Lanka

    POOL D

    Wales 59 def Fiji 52
    (Lewis 31/39, Thomas 28/28)
    (Mitchell 35/35, Rusivakula 17/25)

    Uganda 74 def Zambia 38
    (Proscovia 56/62, R.Nanyonga 10/14, Oyella 8/9)
    (Jere 22/24, Banda 11/11, E.Bwalya 5/6)

    Uganda 61 def Fiji 40
    (Proscovia 37/45, R.Nanyonga 24/29)
    (Mitchell 27/30, Rusivakula 8/12, Rauluni 5/8)

    Wales 71 def Zambia 44
    (Lewis 44/49, Thomas 13/14, Rowe 12/12, Bell 2/5)
    (Jere 31/37, E.Bwalya 11/18, Banda 2/4)

    Fiji 59 def Zambia 51
    (Mitchell 41/47, Rusivakula 18/25)
    (Jere 31/39, Banda 16/19, E.Bwalya 4/5)

    Wales 49 def Uganda 47
    (Lewis 35/42, Thomas 14/14)
    (Proscovia 26/32, R.Nanyonga 21/23)

    Pool order:
    1. Wales
    2. Uganda

    3. Fiji
    4. Zambia

    Ian HarkinIan Harkin
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    POOL E

    Malawi 59 def Uganda 53
    (Kumwenda 48/53, Simtowe 11/13)
    (Proscovia 38/39, R.Nanyonga 15/18)

    New Zealand 55 def Jamaica 48
    (Tutaia 36/43, Mes 19/25)
    (Aiken 41/44, Beckford 7/9)

    New Zealand 57 def Malawi 49
    (Mes 33/38, Brown 16/19, Tutaia 8/9)
    (Kumwenda 38/42, Simtowe 11/13)

    Jamaica 59 def Uganda 47
    (Fowler-Reid 23/25, Aiken 16/16, Beckford 15/16, Griffiths 5/7)
    (R.Nanyonga 29/34, Proscovia 18/24)

    Jamaica 63 def Malawi 62
    (Aiken 44/48, Beckford 17/18, Griffiths 2/3)
    (Kumwenda 39/41, Simtowe 23/23)

    New Zealand 76 def Uganda 33
    (Paseka 49/55, Brown 22/29, Tutaia 5/7)
    (Proscovia 19/22, R.Nanyonga 11/18, Amono 2/4, Oyella 1/2)

    Pool order:
    1. New Zealand
    2. Jamaica

    3. Malawi
    4. Uganda

    POOL F

    South Africa 68 def Wales 40
    (Potgieter 49/57, du Plessis 13/16, Holtzhausen 6/8)
    (Lewis 29/32, Thomas 8/11, Bell 3/4)

    Australia 51 def England 41
    (Bassett 28/32, Medhurst 14/18, Thwaites 9/13)
    (Harten 30/33, Housby 6/9, Cookey 5/6)

    England 78 def Wales 33
    (Harten 28/29, Dunn 21/31, Cookey 15/15, Housby 14/15)
    (Rowe 16/21, Lewis 7/8, Thomas 7/8, Bell 3/6)

    Australia 66 def South Africa 31
    (Bell 33/35, Thwaites 33/38)
    (Potgieter 21/27, du Plessis 7/12, Holtzhausen 2/2, Lombard 1/3)

    England 62 def South Africa 46
    (Harten 35/39, Housby 14/15, Cookey 13/14)
    (Potgieter 35/38, Holtzhausen 11/22)

    Australia 89 def Wales 24
    (Thwaites 43/46, Bell 24/26, Bassett 15/19, Medhurst 7/8)
    (Lewis 14/16, Rowe 8/8, Bell 1/4, Thomas 1/4)

    Pool order:
    1. Australia
    2. England

    3. South Africa
    4. Wales

    Ian HarkinIan Harkin
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    15/16 Playoff: Singapore 59 def Sri Lanka 32
    (Soh 41/50, Chen 8/11, Yu 5/8, Liew 5/11)
    (Mendis 15/19, Algama 11/13, Abeywickrama 6/9)

    13/14 Playoff: Barbados 53 def Zambia 38
    (Wharton 22/25, Sealy 20/23, Piggott 11/13)
    (E.Bwalya 17/24, Banda 10/15, Jere 7/12, Moono 4/8)

    11/12 Playoff: Fiji 51 def Scotland 41
    (Mitchell 29/31, Rusivakula 22/26)
    (Gallagher 22/27, MacDonald 17/18, Sole 2/5)

    9/10 Playoff: Trinidad & Tobago 64 def Samoa 51
    (Wallace 53/60, Cooper 11/12)
    (Naoupu 32/36, To’o 19/25)

    7/8 Playoff: Wales 64 def Uganda 41
    (Rowe 32/38, Lewis 31/35, Thomas 1/1)
    (Proscovia 31/34, R.Nanyonga 4/5, Oyella 6/6)

    5/6 Playoff: South Africa 48 def Malawi 46
    (Potgieter 32/34, Holtzhausen 16/22)
    (Kumwenda 36/41, Simtowe 10/11)


    NEW ZEALAND: 50 (Tutaia 35/42, Mes 15/22)
    ENGLAND: 39 (Harten 31/36, Cookey 7/10, Housby 1/4)
    (11-5, 21-17, 37-27, 50-39)

    Starting lineups:
    NEW ZEALAND: GS Mes, GA Tutaia, WA Rasmussen, C Langman, WD Cullen, GD Grant, GK Kopua
    ENGLAND: GS Harten, GA Housby, WA Greenway, C Clarke, WD Guthrie, GD Beckford-Chambers, GK Mentor


    AUSTRALIA: 67 (Bassett 49/52, Medhurst 18/19)
    JAMAICA: 56 (Aiken 33/36, Beckford 14/16, Fowler-Reid 9/10)
    (17-15, 35-26, 49-42, 67-56)

    Starting lineups:
    AUSTRALIA: GS Bassett, GA Medhurst, WA Green, C Ravaillion, WD Hallinan, GD Corletto, GK Geitz
    JAMAICA: GS Aiken, GA Beckford, WA K.Williams, C Thompson, WD Henry, GD V.Williams, GK Facey

    3/4 PLAYOFF
    ENGLAND: 66 (Harten 52/59, Cookey 14/18)
    JAMAICA: 44 (Aiken 26/28, Fowler-Reid 12/13, Beckford 6/6)
    (11-16, 28-23, 45-33, 70-49)

    Starting lineups:
    ENGLAND: GS Harten, GA Cookey, WA Greenway, C Clarke, WD Guthrie, GD Beckford-Chambers, GK Mentor
    JAMAICA: GS Aiken, GA Beckford, WA Henry, C Dixon, WD Thompson, GD V.Williams, GK Facey

    Ian HarkinIan Harkin
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    (16-7, 30-22, 43-37, 58-55)

    GS Bassett
    GA Medhurst
    WA Green
    C Ravaillion
    WD Hallinan
    GD Corletto
    GK Geitz


    Shooting stats:
    Bassett 48/51 (94%)
    Medhurst 10/13 (77%)
    TOTAL 58/64 (91%)

    GS Mes
    GA Tutaia
    WA Rasmussen
    C Langman
    WD Cullen
    GD Grant
    GK Kopua

    3rd Quarter.. de Bruin GD (Grant).

    Shooting stats:
    Tutaia 38/53 (72%)
    Mes 17/22 (77%)
    TOTAL 55/75 (73%)

    Tournament MVP: Mwai Kumwenda (Malawi)
    Umpires: Gary Burgess and Dave Brown

    Crowd 16,752

    Stats from Champion Data… https://mc.championdata.com/nwc2015/index.html?competitionid=9705&matchid=97050301



    2. New Zealand
    3. England

    4. Jamaica
    5. South Africa
    6. Malawi
    7. Wales
    8. Uganda
    9. Trinidad & Tobago
    10. Samoa
    11. Fiji
    12. Scotland
    13. Barbados
    14. Zambia
    15. Singapore
    16. Sri Lanka

    Ian HarkinIan Harkin
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    From ABC Grandstand
    World Cup Final Photo Gallery – Getty Images https://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-17/netball-world-cup-final/6701674


    Australia’s Diamonds sink New Zealand in final, winning 58-55
    ABC Sport

    Australia has won its third-straight Netball World Cup with a 58-55 win over New Zealand in the final. The pressure was on the Diamonds to retain their title after losing to their trans-Tasman rivals in the pool stage but the decider was a different story.

    Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander and Silver Ferns coach Waimarama Taumaunu kept the faith in their starting semi-final line-ups and proceedings kicked off at a rapid pace. Playing in front of a world-record crowd of 16,752, Australia broke the first centre pass in the third minute and capitalised on the momentum, shooting a perfect 16/16 to take a nine-goal lead into the first break.

    Diamonds centre Kim Green told Grandstand the plan was always to try to run New Zealand off the court early. “Lisa said to put on the thigh burners and make sure that we are just relentless, we’re just having that resistant pressure the whole way down the court and we really set ourselves up in that first quarter,” she said. “It’s a shame that we weren’t able to pull through for the other three quarters and keep building on that. But to get a start like that is critical in any game but in a World Cup, it’s definitely something that we were focusing on.”

    Already tired coming into their eighth game in 10 days, the energy expended in the opening stanza appeared to take a toll on the Australian team as the rest of the game was far more of a contest. A pair of misses by shooter Caitlin Bassett were the only blemishes in the circle as Australia led 30-22 at half-time while the Silver Ferns’ reliance on goal-attack Maria Tutaia (38/53) proved costly as she struggled from the edge of the circle.

    They went into the main break having missed nine of their 31 attempts but zeroed in after the half and the gap was shortened to six goals heading into the last quarter. Tutaia did put away a few signature long bombs but her efforts were offset by a brutal display from Diamonds captain Laura Geitz and retiring goal-defence Julie Corletto. The Diamonds maintained at least a five-goal advantage until the final minute, when a run from New Zealand made for a nervy finish, but the hosts held on for victory.

    “To finish like that in front of our home crowd, to have family here and to play with that particular group of girls, to play with Julie Corletto, it’s wonderful to step into the defensive circle with such a wonderful athlete,” Geitz said. “World Cup netball, that’s what it comes down to — hard work and just grinding away. Our attackers were just sensational and capitalised on every tip and touch that we got and the first quarter set us up nicely.”

    Bassett shot 48/51 while West Coast Fever team-mate Natalie Medhurst landed 10 of her 13 attempts and had 16 assists. “The drive to the circle was amazing,” Bassett said. “The girls were bringing the ball down really quickly and Nat did a great job in keeping goal-defence busy which kept me in a one-on-one situation, which was perfect.”

    New Zealand has not claimed the world title since 2003 in Jamaica and has lost four of the past five World Cup finals. England beat Jamaica 66-44 in the bronze-medal match earlier in the day.

    Ian HarkinIan Harkin
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    Julie Corletto retires with third world title after injury-plagued career
    ABC Sport

    Emotions were running high for the Netball World Cup-winning Diamonds after their three-goal victory in Sunday’s final, but no higher than for retiring defender Julie Corletto. After 52 Tests and three world titles, the 28-year-old goal defence has drawn the curtain on her illustrious 12-year netball career. To have even played in the final was an achievement in itself, given the injury challenges Corletto has endured.

    A troublesome knee had threatened to derail the Diamonds stalwart’s swansong in Sydney on Sunday, but after a heavily managed workload this week, the 2009 Liz Ellis Diamond recipient managed the full 60 minutes in front a world-record 16,752 crowd in Sydney. As she hobbled around afterwards with both knees packed in ice, the 2007 and 2011 World Cup-winning veteran said a hat-trick was every bit the fairytale ending she had hoped for.

    “I was trying to hold my emotions back but it’s hard,” Corletto said. “As you can see I’m pretty much broken now, but I got a gold medal so there’s nothing sweeter than that to finish on such a high.” Plagued by various injuries throughout her career, Corletto has played in just over 50 per cent of the 92 Tests Australia has contested since her debut against Jamaica in 2007.

    But her tireless performance against the Silver Ferns showed every bit why she has been hailed as one of netball’s most extraordinary athletes. Captain Laura Geitz, arm in arm with Corletto and coach Lisa Alexander, described her team-mate as an inspiration. “She made me cry before the game,” Geitz said.

    “It’s just amazing to see emotion from this girl, because she’s a warrior. I don’t think any of you sitting here understand just what this girl puts herself through to be out on court and just what she brings to the team. She inspires every single person that wears the green and gold. And she just deserves all the success, she’s one of the most amazing human beings.”

    Corletto’s departure was very real for goal-attack Natalie Medhurst, who has played alongside Corletto for eight years. “Probably the most emotional thing is to share this with Jules,” she said. “She’s a freak, and it’s really sad to see her go. It’s surreal, I just can’t believe it … we made our debut together, we’ve been in three winning World Cups.”

    Ian HarkinIan Harkin
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    Australia beat New Zealand in final to win Netball World Cup once again
    Erin Delahunty – The Guardian

    New Zealand learned the hard way to never poke the Australian bear as a rampaging Diamonds team, wounded by a loss to their arch rivals earlier in the tournament, beat the Silver Ferns 58-55 in a characteristically heart-stopping Netball World Cup final in Sydney.

    Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander had demanded more intensity and a greater defensive effort after the shock five-goal pool-stage loss and the Diamonds delivered in the gold medal match at Allphones Arena, in front of record crowd of 16,752.

    Captain Laura Geitz proved why she is the best defender in the world by intercepting and deflecting, causing held balls and generally getting in the head of her opponent, World Cup debutant Bailey Mes. It is the third straight World Cup success for Australia, who have got their hands on the trophy 11 times now.

    “It’s been years with this particular playing group … building towards this moment,” Geitz said. “To finish like that, in front of our home crowd, to have family here, and to play with that particular group of girls – to play with Julie Corletto – to me, it’s wonderful to be able to step into the defensive circle with such an awesome athlete.”

    Gutsy goal defence Corletto, playing her last game for Australia, tempered the influence of the Silver Ferns’ queen of cool, goal attack Maria Tutaia, in one of the games’ key match-ups.

    Tutaia, who came into the match with a shooting accuracy of 79%, well below most of the other big-name shooters, including all four Diamonds goalies, still fired, with 38 at 72% accuracy, but Corletto’s persistent pestering and Geitz’s dominance of Mes helped reduce her influence.

    “We’re pleased we won the last three quarters, but we just did it the wrong way around,” said Tutaia. “We beat Australia on day three, we could have done it today, but you’ve got to give props to them, they did really well.

    “We got a little bit complacent, their pressure on D [defence] was pretty tough to break. The very first time the team got named, we were pretty much written off, so for us to come here to compete and really play the full 60 minutes of hardcore netball is what we came to do.”

    As tipped, Caitlin Bassett started in the circle and Nat Medhust at goal attack. Kimberlee Green, with her lower right leg again strapped, went to wing attack and Kim Ravaillion started at centre. Renae Hallinan was at wing defence.

    It went goal-for-goal early on, until a Geitz tip two minutes in swung the momentum Australia’s way. Another intercept from Australia’s inspirational captain provided the next break and the goalers rewarded their skipper, putting on three unanswered goals to make the score 5-3.

    More Geitz brilliance translated on the scoreboard, thanks to 100% shooting from both Bassett, with 13, and Medhurst, with three, and the quarter finished 16-7. “Our attackers tonight were sensational,” said Geitz. “They capitalised on every little tip and touch that we got. That first quarter set us up nicely.”

    The Silver Ferns out-scored Australia by one in the second, with 15 goals, 11 courtesy of Tutaia, who came to life from her favoured long range. At the other end, Bassett continued on her consistent merry way, shooting 14 from 16, while Medhurst didn’t put a shot up.

    “The supply to the circle was amazing,” Bassett said. “The girls were bringing the ball down really quick and Nat [Medhurst] was doing a great job of keeping the goal defence busy, which put me in a one-on-one situation, which is perfect.”

    With Australia leading 30-22 at the half, Kiwi coach Waimarama Taumaunu brought Leana de Bruin to goal defence, but it didn’t slow Medhurst, who delivered another four goal assists and six feeds, as well as three goals for the third quarter. Meanwhile, Bassett went back to shooting 100%, knocking down 10 for 37/39 for the game.

    The Kiwis outscored Australia again in the third, getting to within four, but the Diamonds settled and finished the quarter 43-37 up to set up an epic final stanza. Steady heads and a three-goal run nine minutes in put the score to 52-44 – and the result out of doubt.

    Bassett scored 11 in the last quarter and 48 at 94% for the match. Medhurst added five in the last, to finish with 10, at 77% accuracy. Corletto and Geitz’s combined numbers though – two intercepts and 10 deflections and a swag of rebounds – told a story of complete defensive dominance.


    Australia v New Zealand: Netball World Cup final – as it happened https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2015/aug/16/australia-v-new-zealand-netball-world-cup

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    In 2019, we were off to Liverpool. It was 24 years since the Birmingham world championships, the last time that netball’s main event was held in England. There was great excitement from local fans, because unlike 1995, England was considered a strong winning chance here. Crowds were great each day, and the overall tournament crowd record was broken.

    World netball was now so competitive, there appeared to be five possible winning chances going into the tournament. Unfortunately, three of them (England, South Africa and Jamaica) were all on one side of the draw and that meant that one of those three had to miss out on the semis. And that team was Jamaica, after the South Africans defeated them 55-52 in a pulsating group game.

    Both semi-finals were classic affairs. The South Africans came up against Australia and gave them a huge fright. The Australians got out to a good lead and looked in control but the determined Proteas wouldn’t go away and a nervous Diamonds team clung on desperately to win by just two goals.

    Then it was the Roses against the Silver Ferns. In a seesawing match, first one team held sway, then the other. The kiwis gained the upper hand in the third quarter through the incredible shooting of goal attack Ameliaranne Ekenasio, and although a spirited England team threatened to come back, New Zealand held on strong to win by the same margin; two goals.

    So here we were again. For all the talk about how the rest of the world was catching up (and they were), the final was once again Australia v New Zealand, as it had been at every world cup since that 1995 event in Birmingham. And this final was another great trans-Tasman classic.

    Earlier in the tournament, Australia had beaten New Zealand by a solitary goal in the group stages, but the kiwis would have gained great confidence from that match, having fought back from a deficit of eight goals. In the final, it was New Zealand which got on top in a high scoring second quarter and they led by four going into the last 15 minutes.

    Once again, it was Ameliaranne Ekenasio who was the star for the Silver Ferns. Under enormous pressure, she held her nerve throughout and landed some amazing goals to continually keep the Australians at bay. The Diamonds came home hard in the last quarter, but the kiwis held on.

    The Silver Ferns’ greater experience counted for plenty as they protected their one goal lead and played out time to record a tremendous 52-51 victory. Playing a big part in the win were New Zealand netball greats Casey Kopua, Maria Folau and captain Laura Langman. For Kopua and Folau, this was their world cup swan song. For Langman, who knows?

    The resurrection of the Ferns was now complete. Noeline Taurua had achieved what was almost unthinkable. In the job less than 12 months, she had successfully turned the team right around from their disastrous showing at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

    In the playoff for third, England accounted for South Africa quite comfortably 58-42. But fourth place was still a great achievement for the Proteas and Karla Pretorius was rewarded with the title of Player of the Tournament. Meanwhile, a disappointed Jamaican team had to make do with fifth place, beating Malawi 68-50.

    2019 will be remembered as a celebration of African netball, with all four nations finishing in the top eight. Joining South Africa (fourth), Malawi (sixth) and Uganda (seventh) were first timers Zimbabwe (eighth). The excitement and fanatical crowd support that followed the Gems whenever they played will be remembered for years to come.

    This was the fifth world cup for Jade Clarke and Geva Mentor of England, both equalling the old record. But the phenomenal Rhonda John-Davis of Trinidad and Tobago, broke that record by playing in her sixth tournament, an incredible achievement. It remains to be seen if either Mentor or Clarke will equal the record again in Cape Town.


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