Netball (noun): friendly competition passionately executed
New Zealand defeated Wales 70 – 44
Jamaica defeated South Africa 57 – 46
England defeated Malawi 74 – 49
Australia defeated Barbados 79 – 24
Day 2 was netball at its most entertaining, with four teams taking the court for their first match.
Wales took their match right up to opponents New Zealand, winning the 2nd quarter and finishing with their narrowest ever margin of defeat against that team. New Zealand showed patches of great form in the first and third quarters, but are yet to achieve consistency across the full game. During the third quarter the effective World Youth Cup trio of Jury, Sokolich-Beatson and Sinclair were particularly impressive.
The Jamaican/South African game was the match of the day – full of energy, wonderful contests, athleticism and skill. South Africa were in control for most of the game, before being overrun in the last ten minutes of the game. It was a valiant effort from the Proteas, particularly given the inexperience of their shooting end. Jamaican fans were in full voice, involving the crowd as they roared their approval of the Caribbean nation’s defensive efforts.
England took their match against Malawi seriously, keeping many of their star players on court for most of the match. Malawi started each quarter slowly and were ultimately outclassed by their more experienced opposition. Like Uganda, Malawi enjoy strong crowd support in Australia, and will look to build into the tournament.
Australia had another big win, this time against the very different style of Barbados. Like other Caribbean nations, the Bajans contested hard in the air and around the body. Australia again exposed the full depth of their squad, using different combinations again from last night. Robinson appeared at centre, while the backline of Geitz (GK), Bruce (GD) and Brandley (WD) was particularly impressive.
There were no significant injuries today.
Serena Guthrie (England) overcame yesterday’s scare, playing at centre and wing defence in today’s game. She said, “It was just a tweak of the ankle, we got onto it pretty quickly, but it’s nice to get out there today without hobbling around. I was feeling pretty anxious after yesterday, so I was icing it all night. Nice and easy, whatever it takes, but I’ve got a pretty good medical team around me at Team England.”
Australian team family members were spotted in the crowd proudly wearing their gold “Sideline Champion” T-Shirts. The Diamonds’ Parents and Partners program has been a highly successful initiative of the Australian Institute of Sport, helping families understand what is involved in being an elite athlete. Family members have the opportunity to go into Diamonds’ camp for a few days, watch match play and take part in interactive sessions with coaches and support staff.
Pete Lazer, MC extraordinaire kept the crowd entertained during breaks. Hugely popular was the “rollercoaster cam” with a section of the audience acting out a hair-raising ride.
The Malawi players look to have hit the Gold Coast shops, with the entire team wearing matching pink, purple and white sneakers.
While the Anna Harrison styled lift hasn’t seen much court time recently, the “Boost” as shown by New Zealand’s Katrina Grant and Temilisi Fakahokotau has gained in popularity. Being used by a number of countries, the Boost gives players a helping hand into the air.
Tomorrow’s matches are shaping up as a rivalry round, with traditional foes Uganda taking on Malawi, Scotland playing Wales, and Fiji against Barbados.
PHOTOS OF THE DAY
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