Group E – Zimbabwe 68 def Singapore 40
Group G – Uganda 73 def Wales 56
Group G – Jamaica 89 def Trinidad & Tobago 26
Group G – South Africa 48 drew with New Zealand 48
Group E – Sri Lanka 60 def Barbados 56
Christine Namulumba (malaria) and Norah Lancuse (injury) have been replaced in the Uganda World Cup team by reserve players Sarah Nakiyunga and Viola Asingo.
Khanyisa Chawane (South Africa) was sporting an icepack over her cheek, after an injury saw her leave the court during the match.
Congratulations to Nicole Dixon-Rochester (Jamaica) who played her 50th test match.
With the second spot in Group G possibly to be decided on percentage, it’s timely to look at where the teams sit.
If New Zealand fails to get a point out of tomorrow’s game against Jamaica, and then South Africa defeats Uganda, the two countries will be level on points and it will come down to goal percentage to decide who finishes second and goes to the semi finals. But it’s going to be mighty tough for South Africa in that case.
Currently, New Zealand has 7 points and sits on 171%, while South Africa has 5 points and is on 118%. New Zealand has scored 34 more goals than South Africa, and conceded 40 goals less.
For the Proteas to finish second, they will first need Jamaica to inflict a heavy defeat on New Zealand, and then they themselves will have to inflict a heavy defeat on Uganda. Both of these things are possible, but not very likely.
By comparison, Jamaica are sitting pretty, undefeated and on top, and in no danger of missing the semi finals. But, should they lose to New Zealand, they will slip to second on the Group G ladder.
After a disappointing start to the tournament, Zimbabwe are finishing off more strongly, defeating Singapore 68-40 and progressing into the playoff for 13th and 14th. Singapore will play off in the 15th to 16th placing, and will be hoping to replicate their form when they beat Sri Lanka.
Nalani Makunde was exceptional under the post, finishing with 47/50 for Zimbabwe. However, defence ruled the day, with Zimbabwe racking up 22 gains, and Singapore 17. Gems’ defender Elizabeth Mushore finished with 11 gains, and their most capped player, Felistus Kwangwa finished with seven.
Match MVP Mushore applied the pressure to the Singaporean shooters and reaped the rewards, picking up an incredible eight rebounds. Meanwhile, Kwangwa finished the game with five intercepts.
Singapore’s Kai We Toh was strong for her side, with 17 centre pass receives, 15 feeds and shooting 16/20, while wing attack Yi Jie Tan had 21 feeds and 9 centre pass receives.
In just their third Netball World Cup meeting, Uganda was too strong for Wales, winning 73 to 56. Wales had won both of their previous encounters in Sydney eight years ago, but the She Cranes have improved their status since then, culminating in a fifth placed finish at last year’s Commonwealth Games.
The Ugandan team, already hit by injury prior to the World Cup, has had to make another two changes to their team, with Christine Namulumba and Norah Lancuse both replaced.
Despite that setback, they won each of the first three quarters by increasing margins, then had the luxury of giving some of their top performers a rest in the last quarter. One of those was goal shooter Mary Cholhok, who shot 42/44 in the first 45 minutes. MVP Shaffie Nalwanja was also given a spell after three strong quarters at wing defence.
The Welsh Feathers found it very difficult to contain the Ugandan attack, especially in the second and third quarters. Ella Powell-Davies and Christina Shaw could only come up with one possession gain between them, well down on their normal impact. Goal shooter Georgie Rowe dominated the scoring at the other end, with 53/54 out of Wales’s 56 goals.
The match between Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago was dominated by early errors, with sloppy passing from both sides. While Jamaica pulled away and went on to win comfortably 89 to 26, T&T will regret missed opportunities. Their shooting sat at 78.8% compared to Jamaica’s 87.3%, and they were also guilty of passing laterally rather than looking long. Offensive rebounding efficiency was also costly, as the Jamaicans picked off 13.
Jamaica rotated their line to rest legs making it quite clear who their starting 7 is, but the midcourt shone, with a few of them potentially playing for contracts in Australia. Adean Thomas is in the form of her life and finished with 27 feeds and 16 centre pass receives, while Shanice Beckford ran the front end with flair and efficiency when at goal attack, finishing with 20/24 in just thirty minutes of play.
Jamaica’s centre pass conversion rate was particularly efficient at 81% compared to Trinidad & Tobago’s 36%, while they also hauled in 22 gains to the Calypso Girls’ nine.
In what is easily the match of the tournament so far, host nation South Africa fought back from six goals down to snatch a thrilling draw against New Zealand and keep their slim semi final hopes alive.
Having been defeated by Jamaica two days ago, the pressure was on the home team to respond. And that they did with a tremendous performance. Right from the start, the defensive combination of Phumza Maweni and Karla Pretorius was on fire with a few early tips on the ball.
New Zealand, however, stuck to their processes. They hit the lead inside the first three minutes and were never headed from that point on. They were methodical with the ball and took advantage of their opportunities. With Maia Wilson (37/41) anchoring the attack end, they shot at a high percentage for most of the game, whereas the Proteas’ spearhead Ine-Mari Venter struggled early for accuracy.
Venter was replaced after 25 minutes with 11 goals at just 64 percent. Her replacement, Elmere van der Berg played strongly throughout the remainder of the game and finished with 22/26, while match MVP Nichole Taljaard shot 15/18. The introduction of van der Berg really pulled the attack end for South Africa together. While they chipped away at the lead, the crowd rallied behind them.
For the majority of the match, it appeared that South Africa’s efforts were going to be in vain. They won enough possession, but were often guilty of giving it straight back to the Silver Ferns. For New Zealand, Karin Burger came up with seven possession gains to continually repel the Proteas.
The match came right down to the wire. Halfway through the final quarter, New Zealand led by a six goal margin and it appeared that South Africa’s chances were gone. But they didn’t give up. They kept applying the pressure and suddenly, they found they were able to convert their chances.
With just 15 seconds left on the clock and a one goal difference, Phumza Maweni pulled in a stellar intercept, and with the crowd roaring them on, the Proteas took the ball down court and converted with a goal on the buzzer by Taljaard, keeping the South African campaign alive.
It was a sensational outing for a disciplined attacking unit, who pulled New Zealand’s zone wide, and found the holes. The inexperienced shooting circle of Taljaard and van der Berg were exceptional under pressure, while Maweni had a vintage match with eight gains.
Facing Jamaica in around 15 hours time, perhaps New Zealand faltered through too many rotations. When momentum swung against them in the last quarter, three of their biggest guns, Ameliaranne Ekenasio, Gina Crampton and Phoenix Karaka, were watching on from the bench.
The topsy turvy match between Sri Lanka and Barbados showed how competitive the games between the bottom four in Group E have been. After an equal first quarter the wheels fell off somewhat for Barbados in the second quarter taking the half time score to 30-26 in favour of Sri Lanka.
Thishala Algama kept the attacking end of Sri Lanka grounded shooting 45/48 goals, while goal attack Semini Alwis shot 10 goals at 100% in the first half. Barbados fell short in that very area, with a combined shooting accuracy of only 80.5% at half time.
Barbados did not go away, and with an impressive third quarter the team was able to pull together a strong defensive effort. They forced 4 turnovers against Sri Lanka in the first few minutes of the quarter. They seemed to find their feet as well in the attacking end with only 1 turnover for the quarter. At 3/4 time, Barbados led 48-43 and appeared headed for victory.
But Sri Lanka came back in the fourth quarter to take the game by 4 goals in what is their first win for the World Cup this year. Gayanjali Amarawansa at wing attack was immense for the side with 37 feeds, and 18 goal assists.
Barbados really let the game slip away from them. The side had 66 attempts at goal compared to their opponents 63 but only shot at 84.8% for the duration of the game which is what cost them an important win.
While gambling sponsorship is on the nose in Australia, it’s one of the major partners at the Netball World Cup 2023. In a press release Hollywood Bets said, ““We look forward to leveraging this sponsorship, not only in exposure for our purple brand, but in being able to further invest into the sport of Netball at development and grassroots levels.
“We are expecting a highly competitive tournament and will be offering a fantastic array of betting options on every match.”
The African continent has a wealth of talented players who will never be able to showcase their talents overseas, because of visa issues.
No matter how brilliant an individual, there are strict rules around criteria to play overseas, including the world ranking of the team they play for in the case of applying to the UK. So while some athletes from higher ranked nations may be able to travel, there are many who will never be able to take their sporting aspirations to a higher level.
Grace Nweke made her first public appearance since retiring from the tournament through injury. She was spotted out on court helping her shooters warm up. It’s a strong measure of their team unity that she was able to support her team while going through such emotional upheaval.
The weather in Cape Town has been exceptionally sunny and clear after several dismal days. With some teams having days off, they and the fans that follow them have managed to do some sight seeing, with the penguin colony, Cape of Good Hope, Chapmans Peak, a safari, walks to the V&A Waterfront, and a change up from hotel food all on the menu.
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*Qtr Time Pod
*The Netball Show