Jamaica defeated Northern Ireland 79 – 41
England defeated Uganda 55 – 49
Malawi defeated New Zealand 57 – 53
Australia v South Africa 60 – 38
There were a number of interesting results on Day 4 of the Commonwealth Games, none more so than Malawi’s first ever defeat of New Zealand. The Silver Ferns led by as much as 10 goals early in the match, before being overrun by a patient Malawi. Wild celebrations followed by a team elated with their historical victory. See full match report.
South Africa’s bad run of luck with injuries continued, and while they pluckily regrouped, it wasn’t enough to overcome an Australian team that is in red hot form. Full match report to come.
England had a close encounter with Uganda, although they rested a number of their big name stars leading into the latter half of the tournament. See full match report.
Jamaica v Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland are tough! Many of the team play Gaelic Football, and they needed that grit with their third huge match in four days. They’ve improved with every game, leading Jamaica for the first part of this match. It took the Sunshine Girls until late in the first quarter before they could pull away.
Jamaica rested a number of their stars, but Vangalee Williams and Stacian Facey were particularly impressive in defense, making life difficult for the Northern Ireland shooters, who were averaging just 61% in the early stages of the match. Williams and Facey picked off most of the rebounds, which Jamaica had little trouble converting at the other end of the court.
The Jamaican centre court found their towering shooters Jhaniele Fowler-Reid and Romelda Aiken with ease. Both were deadly accurate, shooting at a combined 95%.
For Northern Ireland, the midcourt trio of Michelle Drayne, Caroline O’Hanlon and Fionnuala Toner were impressive – zippy in attack and dogged in defence, picking up six intercepts between them. The defensive end battled manfully, but were outmatched for height and reach.
SO WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR THE LADDER
Pool A: Jamaica and Australia are both undefeated and should make the semi-finals.
Pool B: England are currently clear on the top of the ladder with three wins and no losses, and appear to have an unassailable lead on goal differential. New Zealand sit in second with one loss, while Uganda and Malawi have had one win and two losses. However, if New Zealand lose another match (potentially to England), they, Uganda and Malawi will sit on equal points. Goal differential will matter, but all three teams could be in with a chance of making the semis. Our tip: New Zealand will still make the medal rounds based on their superior differential.
After three games, Australia’s Caitlin Thwaites and Susan Pettitt are both sitting on 100% accuracy. Phenomenal!
It was a tough day on the injury front, with the worst being to South Africa’s Precious Mthembu. The in form wing defence went down with a suspected ruptured ACL in her knee, and was taken straight to hospital.
Erin Burger, also of South Africa, dislocated one of the fingers. The tough as nails centre left the court, had it reduced, and resumed play shortly afterwards.
Sam Sinclair (NZL) had a heavy knock to the head in the second quarter of her match, and didn’t return. Concussion is suspected.
Steph Wood suffered a blood nose, and while it wasn’t serious, the reaction of her captain was priceless.
Clive Palmer was one of the people caught on Kiss Cam, going in with great enthusiasm and good sport.
Netball Scoop is staffed by volunteers, and we have a particular fondness for others in this role. We spoke to Jane Molloy, who is one of the army of gorgeous volunteers, who combine friendship and enthusiasm with support. They go to enormous trouble to help people at the Games, all with a smile on their face. Jane travelled from Melbourne to take up a volunteering role at the netball. She said, “I applied months ago, and was ecstatic when I got the chance to be involved. I’m passionate about netball, and just wanted to be part of the excitement. It didn’t matter what I did, whether it was serving drinks or cleaning up afterwards. I’m passionate about this sport.”
“The experience has been above and beyond all my expectations.”
NETBALLERS AS OTHER ATHLETES
BLOOD, SWEAT AND TEARS
Netballers are tough. Incredibly tough. They train hard, and play harder. They make a commitment to their sport, and sacrifice much. In pain or in defeat, they can be incredibly lonely figures. It’s the hidden side of being an elite athlete.