GS Bethan Goodwin
GA Lynsey Gallagher
WA Samantha Murphy
C Claire Brownie
WD Bethany Sutherland
GD Fiona Fowler
GK Hayley Mulheron
GS Peace Proscovia
GA Rachael Nanyonga
WA Halima Nakachwa
C Ruth Meme
WD Florence Nanyonga
GD Lilian Ajio
GK Stella Nanfuka
Umpires: Helen George (Australia), Angela Armstrong-Lush (New Zealand), Teresa Prince (South Africa) (reserve)
The opening plays saw athletes on both sides at full pelt and extreme stretch to evade their opponents, result in some stepping calls and off-balance passes. Proscovia took one lobbed feed, but mixed up her offers with some pops to the front. When caught even slightly near the edge of the circle, Mulheron assiduously bodied-up and kept the She Cranes star unavailable for as long as possible.
Neither side got a decisive break, and scores were six-all after seven minutes. Very occasionally one team could craft a well-connected play, but mostly the swarming defence caused hesitation and misplaced passes. it was bewildering why Proscovia was miles out of the goal circle, not just unavailable, but contributing to turnovers with dropped balls or bad passes. Fortunately for the Africans, Nanyonga was unstoppable on the front cut and nailed nine perfect goals for the quarter, her team leading 14-11 at quarter time.
Fowler and Mulheron were performing well in their switching between space marking and double teaming Proscovia, and Fowler in particular challenged for possession successfully all through the court. They were forcing the normally dominant Proscovia into all kinds of unfamiliar and uncomfortable situations. She only had two goals in the first six minutes of the second quarter, when Sutherland left the court, making way for Murphy, and seeing McCleery at wing attack for Scotland.
McCleery immediately got a sneaky intercept amidst a very clogged transverse line. After a confident tournament with 85% conversion rate, 18 year old Goodwin’s accuracy slumped to 11 from 17 at 65%, before she rallied with four out of the next five. Her captain Claire Brownie was a powerhouse in the middle, re-offering countless times and taking tough challenges on almost every catch. However the Scottish team started to frustrated with umpiring decisions, especially when Nanyonga clearly slapped the ball and dispossessed Fowler with no penalty. Uganda won the quarter 12-10.
The third quarter started goal-for-goal, with McCleery finding more free space, and Nanfuka producing a series of late and unnecessary contacts. Inadvertently, Goodwin had been hit in in the face by Nanfuka’s elbow in the quest for a rebound, and she had to go off, potentially for pain or vision problems, replaced by the substantially shorter McCall. In fact Nanfuka continued to go in very aggressively for rebounds, smacking McCall to the floor, and when she deliberately crowded the penalty shot of Gallagher, she was issued a warning from umpire George. The ugandan keeper responded by reducing her attention to the body and baulking her jump over the shot, so that when Goodwin was able to return, she missed and Uganda nabbed possession.
The Scottish backline and midcourt seemed to be functioning well, only struggling in the final access to their shooters. Scotland’s Gallagher, still shooting at 93%, showed frustration with the lack of umpiring calls that would have protected her, by deliberately obstructing the next centre pass. Mulheron similarly felt hard done by as she and Nanyonga ran each other into the post. Midway through the period Uganda seemed to remember their plan A, pegging balls to Proscovia. The She Cranes lit up the crowd, and they suddenly were ahead 41-30 with fifteen minutes left.
Scotland had to improve their shooting volume, so putting McCall on to goal attack, and using zippy Gallagher at the back. The Ugandans were tiring but doing enough on defence, Ajio coming up with a great intercept at three feet, and Florence Nanyonga making a difficult deflection which was picked up by Nakachwa. Nanfuka was playing cleaner, while still on the body, she moved her feet more, and adapted to Gallagher’s game quickly. Scotland felt their chances slipping away, so gave some precious minutes to Nicholl at wing defence, and Gibbons at goal keeper. The flair of the She Cranes attackers kept them as crowd favourites the whole match.
Uganda 57 def Scotland 37
Peace Proscovia 32/34 94%
Racheal Nanyonga 25/30 83%
Bethan Goodwin 16/25 64%
Lynsey Gallagher 19/21 90%
Niamh McCall 2/8 25%
“Our team, right now, it has grown. Because when we come for world cup in 2015, our team, it was our first time to go for world cup. Then our team, when we come for Commonwealth, it was also our first time. But the way we are doing our things, I think next time, we are ready to smash each and every team around.”
“The way I’ve seen our team, this team was Scotland. Scotland is not bad, it’s good. It has given us some hard games, but you know us Ugandans, we say, we have to beat this team.”
“On our side it’s difficult because the umpires they are, in Uganda, they are different to in an international netball tournament. And it brings hardness to us when we are playing, because sometimes you can do that and say it’s correct, but the umpire will say it’s wrong.”
“Tomorrow, I can’t tell now, because it’s not good to say you’re going win until you meet that team. You have to first play that team, then you see.”
Gail Parata, Scotland coach
“It was hard work. Uganda have been playing some great netball, and we knew it was going to be a tough match. We had a big fight yesterday (losing to Malawi by one goal), we knew we had to do it again but it wasn’t to be. So in the end, I just wanted to run out my players and give them some experience. We’re the youngest team at this tournament with Fiji. I’m definitely pleased with how they’re developing in this tournament. I knew we could play some good netball, we’ve done it, and we did string it together against Malawi, but it didn’t end our way.”
On the performance of the defenders
“I thought they were amaizng, I was giving them a bunch of feedback about how great they were doing, but they had a LOT of support out the front, and full court press. But then we lost our structures part way through the third quarter, and we allowed Uganda to settle and put some long bombs in to Peace. Look, Peace is a great player, but take nothing away from their goal attack (Nanyonga), I’ve been really impressed with her.”
On Claire Brownie’s performance
“Claire is a workhouse for us, one of our key players right through to our shooting circle. Her possession rate throughout every match is high, and she keeps bringing it because she’s so fit and so well-conditioned – we’re so lucky to have her!”
On how to instruct a shooter during a game if their accuracy goes off, like Goodwin’s today
“We’ve got a great shooting coach in Leslie MacDonald, she’s working closely with her, and Bethan’s got to realise that Jo Harten’s done it, there’s been some other great netballers that have had the last shot, and missed it… she’s only 18, and you know she’ll grow out of it I suppose. She’ll come right for tomorrow, she said she’ll be back.”
Who does she expect to win?
“Australia are looking amazing, but you never know. England have done some great stuff to come back, they looked really nervous when they started today against New Zealand, but they hit their straps, they got there and won that match, so… I don’t know, at the moment Australia’s looking strong.”
Who would she prefer to win?
“Well, if it wasn’t Scotland, it would have to be New Zealand. But, whoever deserves to win I suppose, whoever’s played the best netball at the end of the tournament.”