Group F – England 56 def Australia 55
Group G – Wales 70 def Trinidad & Tobago 55
Group G – Jamaica 59 def New Zealand 48
Group F – Scotland 62 def Fiji 46
Group G – South Africa 52 def Uganda 50
Group F – Malawi 56 def Tonga 51
Mwai Kumwenda fell heavily in the third quarter against Tonga, and needed a brief spell on the bench during the tense match with Tonga.
Shamera Sterling tweaked her ankle, and was spotted on the trainer’s table having a roll of strapping tape removed. She is reported to be ok to continue.
Happy Birthday to Clare Jones of Wales who turned 32
England, Wales and Jamaica all came up with drought-breaking wins by defeating their opponents for the first time ever at a World Cup. England defeated Australia at their 14th attempt, Wales beat Trinidad & Tobago at their ninth attempt, and Jamaica got over New Zealand at their 13th attempt. Between the three nations, they had racked up 33 straight World Cup losses to their opponents before today’s wins.
The effect of shooting accuracy was seen in England’s win over Australia. The Diamonds shot at a very respectable 90%, but the Roses were exceptional. Helen Housby didn’t miss a single attempt all game, while Eleanor Cardwell only missed one. Together they combined for 56/57 at 98%.
The effect of this incredible accuracy is that once the ball gets to the shooter, it’s almost a certain goal, and that puts huge pressure on the opposition to maintain possession. In the third quarter, Australia appeared to be in control, up by eight, but then they gave up three turnovers in a row.
Thanks to the Roses’ impeccable shooting, this turned into six goals for England very quickly. Suddenly they were right back in the game. Such high accuracy also denies the opposition defenders a chance at getting into the game via a rebound. Courtney Bruce, usually strong on the rebound, ended the game without a single possession gain.
In the first real test for both teams, the England v Australia fixture was finely poised to the very end. It was the near-perfect accuracy from the classy, strong English shooters, and aggressive substitution tactics, that got them over the line 56-55, for the Roses first ever win over Australia in a World Cup.
During the first quarter the Diamonds fell for the Roses defensive traps, giving away three seemingly obvious intercepts. Eleanor Cardwell was incredible at goal shooter: the ball seemed to slide directly into her safe hands, as some of the best defenders in the world struggled to get anywhere near the beautifully chosen feeds.
The English lost some confidence in the second quarter, taking much longer to find clean attacking options. A buoyant Australia gained the lead for the first time at the 22 minute mark thanks to a flurry of perfect shooting from Steph Wood, who was taking advantage of the inexperience of Funmi Fadoju, drawing five penalties and carefully identifying Cara Koenen’s holds.
Positional changes for the second half saw a less experienced Roses defensive circle introduced. The faith shown by Jess Thirlby begin to pay more dividends over time as Fran Williams and Funmi Fadoju studied and worked out the experienced Aussies. England’s strategy of making proactive rather than reactive changes pressured Australia into uncharacteristic turnovers on seemingly simple passes.
The introduction of Chelsea Pitman and her different style of drawing in the ball without overdoing drives seemed to make England tick over with more authority, helping them to quickly narrow an eight goal deficit to just one.
England took the lead back in the 48th minute, 46-45. Another brilliant intercept from Imogen Allison kept the Roses supporters pumped, so much so the players couldn’t hear each other let alone the whistle. The class of Helen Housby and connection to Cardwell became unstoppable, and the Australian team struggled to both connect and to provide quick transition into defence. A last goal from Cardwell and turnover by Australia, followed by savvy playing down of the clock, gave England an historic victory.
In what was an impressive round for both teams, it was Wales who was able to put out a consistent performance against a fiery Trinidad & Tobago side, defeating them 70 to 55. Both teams were able to keep their turnovers below the 20 mark which is better than they have done for most of the competition.
Wales scored highly across most of their team metrics, including a 86% centre pass conversion rate, and a 71% gain to goal conversion rate. Georgia Rowe top scored with 47/48, while Bethan Dyke was in phenomenal form with 53 feeds and 24 centre pass receives.
For Trinidad & Tobago goal attack Joelisa Cooper was in fine form. She shot 11/12 but contributed 33 feeds and 31 centre pass receives.
New Zealand started their match quickly, but it wasn’t long before Jamaica found their groove and connections straight into Jhaniele Fowler. A considerable amount of contesting was allowed which added spectacle rather than the sheer frustration involved .
The Silver Ferns are known for their quality of ball handling, but were forced into early errors, producing an uncharacteristic six goal deficit by quarter time. Adding to their challenge was that they rarely come up against the top line Jamaican defenders. It’s one thing to train for their reach and anticipation, but quite another thing to play against it. It can take a while to adjust to, as Amelliaranne Ekenasio found out the hard way, with a blocked shot early in the second quarter.
However, Jamaica rarely play against the zone, and also took some time to parse their way through it.
The Sunshine Girls were also smart with their line up, playing Latty Wilson at wing defence, where she can use her incredible reach to disrupt around the circle, and Jod-Ann Ward at goal defence, where her speed to the crumbs compliments Shamera Sterling perfectly.
New Zealand have added stopping power to their midcourt, with Kate Heffernen a stand out at centre, and Kelly Jury’s long arms at wing defence providing a difficult barrier to see through. However, she was burnt for speed by Khadijah Williams at times, and it was somewhat surprising not to see her height used in the circle against Fowler. However, coach Noeline Taurua later said that her other defenders had been picking off more gains in the circle. Heffernen finished with an amazing four gains as she pounced on any balls sent to players not driving onto the ball.
Jamaica nudged out to a six goal lead in the second quarter, but New Zealand were able to draw the match back onto level terms. While Jhaniele Fowler remains the world’s best goal shooter, Jane Watson’s clever body positioning and timing made her work for every ball. Some misplaced feeds were snaffled by the keeper, sending the Silver Ferns back into attack.
Sterling received a warning from Gary Burgess in the second, and limped off shortly afterwards, depriving Jamaica of one of their most damaging weapons. Kadi-Ann Dehaney was a strong substitute, until Sterling returned to the game in the third.
The Jamaican juggernaut rolled on in the fourth quarter, finishing out the game with a 11 goal win. There’s a very real sense this year, without writing any of the other teams off, that this is the Sunshine Girls’ time.
Scotland dropped just one quarter on their way to a dominant 62-46 win over Fiji. For Scotland, Niam McCall was strong under the post, finishing with 27/30, but Iona Christian (25 centre pass receives and 41 feeds) and Hannah Leighton (4 gains) were busy.
Fijiian shooter Malian Rusivakula continued her exceptional tournament, shooting 28/29, although the Pearls turnover rate of 26 compared to Scotland’s 17 proved to be the main difference.
South Africa held off a tenacious Uganda team to confirm their third placing in Group G. While much had been said about South Africa’s very slim chance of overtaking New Zealand and reaching the semi final, the chance of Uganda overtaking South Africa had been overlooked. But when the scores were level in the last quarter, that looked a real possibility.
The Proteas had clearly the best of the first half and led by 14 goals at the main break, with no real inkling of what was about to happen. After giving up just six turnovers in the first half, South Africa tried two tall shooters, which interrupted their flow. Uganda, buoyed by their strong crowd, quickly took back control, and Mary Cholhok suddenly dominated, forcing even star Karla Pretorius to the bench in a tactical move designed to put pressure over the shot. Christine Nakito played another sterling game, propelling her teammates to a near error-free quarter, winning 17-8.
Responding perfectly to the double-teaming of Cholhok, Uganda goal attack Shadiah Nassanga dominated the last quarter with 11 goals at 92%. The host team gripped as tightly as possible, before relaxing into their natural play to enable Nichole Taljaard to be a vital hand in getting their win.
In another tantalising match, Tonga consistently threatened Malawi but were ultimately beaten 56-51. The Queens stalled in the first quarter, not used to the angles that Tonga used to attack the ball. Likewise, Tonga’s shooters passed off unpredictably, when they had previously sunk shots with great ease.
Malawi then proceeded to quickly take an unassailable lead, burning the Tala 11-1 early in the second quarter. However, Tonga didn’t relent, and soon brought on experienced Cat Tuivaiti, who reversed momentum by using deceptiveness to quickly shoot 10/10. Loreen Ngriwa was beaten on the baseline and warned for deliberate contact.. She was replaced by Jane Dambo in the second half as player of the match Towera Vinkhumbo led impeccably from the back, powering on to seven gains.
Tonga never seemed to drop confidence, but their timing onto the ball in the second half was patchy. Malawi kept giving just enough, taking advantage of superb, reliable timing of Takondwa Lwazi.
Malawi put their progress down to pushing back against other teams. “We have to push against them, go and hammer them in the third quarter, and hold the scores in the fourth quarter.
Speaking after the game, Tonga’s Mo’onia Gerrard said, “The girls make me young – I thank them – they keep me on my toes. We’re fortunate in the way we connect on and off the court. Our pool of players is small and quite new. The level of talent we display is fricking awesome. … we know how we play, we know what we need to get done, we just need to turn up…. It’s been an awesome journey, awesome experience.’
While the new rules aren’t supposed to come into place until next year, rolling subs are already in operation at the Netball World Cup. Teams are putting multiple substitutes into place at any one time, and making positional swaps, with barely a look at a fingernail.
Security continues to be an issue in Cape Town. A current taxi strike has led to civil unrest and violence on the street, which will extend until several days after the World Cup.
Meanwhile, the Ugandan coaches got verbal with the umpires after their match against South Africa, and were escorted from the venue by security.
Monica Ireland, Fox Sport producer, is currently in Cape Town with SuperSport covering the Netball World Cup. She took Netball Scoop for a sneak peek behind the scenes in the broadcast truck.
With a predominantly female crew, over 150 women are employed to cover the tournament. Local crews are supported by international experts in their field, such as Ireland, in an arrangement which sees them share skills and knowledge, and help to upskill each other.
Take an exclusive look behind-the-scenes at the broadcast truck, thanks to Fox Netball.
View this post on Instagram
Jade Clarke talks about the Roses historic victory over Australia.
View this post on Instagram
Sunshine Girl, Jodi-Ann Ward tells how the team stays focused despite all the off court drama since arriving in Cape Town.
View this post on Instagram
|6||.||Trinidad & Tobago||.||0||.||45%|
Playoffs And Placings Matches:
|4pm||Court 1||5-8 Playoff||Malawi||Uganda|
|6pm||5-8 Playoff||Sth Africa||Tonga|
|Fiji||Trin & Tobago|
|11am||Semi-Final 1||England||New Zealand|
|4pm||Court 1||Semi-Final 2||Jamaica||Australia|
|Loser session 25||Loser session 25|
|11am||5/6 placing||Winner session 25||Winner session 25|
|Loser Semi-Final 1||Loser Semi-Final 2|
|Winner Semi-Final 1||Winner Semi-Final 2|
*Qtr Time Pod
*The Netball Show