11/12 Placing – Fiji 71 def Trinidad & Tobago 37
SEMI FINAL – ENGLAND 46 def NEW ZEALAND 40
SEMI FINAL – AUSTRALIA 57 def JAMAICA 54
9/10 Placing – Wales 57 def Scotland 42
Jo Weston (Australia) experienced a head knock during the game against Jamaica. She showed no signs or symptoms of concussion, was assessed during a break, monitored during the game, completed a SCAT assessment, and will be reassessed tomorrow for the delayed onset of symptoms.
Jamaican captain Jhaniele Fowler played her 100th test in the semi final against Australia
This really has been a tournament of firsts. It is the first Netball World Cup to be held in Africa, but also, several teams have recorded firsts or best-ever achievements of their own. For example, win or lose, both Tonga and Uganda will record their highest World Cup placings tomorrow.
During the tournament, some teams have defeated their opponents for the first time ever at a World Cup. Most notably of all, on day seven, England defeated Australia and Jamaica defeated New Zealand for the first time at a World Cup. That was also the first time in World Cup history that Australia and New Zealand had both been beaten on the same day.
England has progressed to their first ever World Cup final after their first semi final win at their eighth attempt. It was England’s first win over New Zealand at a World Cup since 1975. The Silver Ferns had beaten the Roses at the semi final stage at each of the previous three World Cups. Now we wait for the final tomorrow. If England is to win, that will be another first for them.
Conversely, it was New Zealand’s lowest score and first ever loss in a World Cup semi final after seven straight victories. On Day 10, New Zealand will become the first team to reach the milestone of 9,500 World Cup goals, as they regroup and try to avoid another first – missing a World Cup medal for the first time.
Fiji dominated their final from the opening whistle, serving up a 71 to 37 goal thrashing to Trinidad & Tobago. Ranked 19th in the world, and finishing 14th at the last Netball World Cup, their 11th place result was a measure of the work that Fiji has done in recent years to develop their game.
Unaisi Rauluni was outstanding at goal attack, finishing with 36/41, 27 feeds and 11 centre pass receives. As they’ve done all tournament, Kerala Nawai-Caucau and Adi Vakaoca Bolakero were close to impenetrable in defence, finishing with 17 gains between them. For Trinidad & Tobago, Afiesha Noel top scored with 23/27, while Jameela McCarthy was the best performed defender with 7 gains.
Shaquanda Greene-Noel, who is stepping away to focus on her studies, business, travel and a family, finished her storied career on the bench.
In the first of two hotly anticipated semi-finals, England 46 defeated New Zealand 40 in a titanic tussle.
From the opening whistle, England’s through court defensive pressure was exceptional, slowing up the Silver Fern’s attack and forcing several errors in the shooting circle. However, it was also the sternest test that English shooters Helen Housby and Eleanor Cardwell have faced so far, with significant contesting allowed by the umpires.
Gina Crampton has barely been spotted in several recent games, raising questions over her fitness, but led the Silver Ferns midcourt with flair. Her availability around the circle edge and precise feeding was critical to New Zealand as she found good space against Laura Malcolm. However, that could have been a tactical decision, as Malcolm spent much time clogging the middle channel and the top of the circle.
She was part of an England unit that patiently worked the ball from side to side of the court in attack, swinging the Silver Ferns’ zone laterally looking for holes in it.
Playing at wing attack, English captain Nat Metcalf had to work hard to get free from Karin Burger, leaving centre Imogen Allison to handle much of the circle feeding and pounce on loose balls. Allison has been in brilliant form all tournament, and provided the spark at centre that has wavered since Serena Guthrie’s retirement.
After a brilliant season with the Thunderbirds, Cardwell was shaky under the post at times, telling herself to ‘calm’. With semi-finals often rated by teams as mentally tougher than finals, it could have been a case of nerves as well as outstanding pressure from Kelly Jury over the shot.
With scores level at half time, England benched Allison and introduced Jade Clarke at centre, which upset some of their attacking rhythm. Kate Heffernen continued to live up to her pre-tournament hype, providing a strong option in defence..
The tussle between Geva Mentor and Maia Wilson entertained all match. Mentor used all her wiles against the shooter, finishing with two gains, while Wilson scored 25 at 100%.
Ameliaranne Ekenasio had her work cut out for her, overshadowed initially by Layla Gusgoth but started to find her form against Fran Williams when she came into the game in the third quarter. However, the tips started to come for Williams, and she picked off several crucial saves late in the game.
England eventually broke the shackles and powered home late in the last quarter to head to their first gold medal match. Helen Housby was rock solid in goal attack, finishing with 21/23 and close to best on court.
A second fascinating semi-final played out in the afternoon session, as Australia made their way into the gold medal match, beating Jamaica 57-54. It was a redemption of sorts for Australia after being disappointed with their performance against England. However, as one of the form teams of the Netball World Cup, Jamaica were left bitterly disappointed.
From the opening whistle, Jamaica’s main route to goal was via captain Jhaniele Fowler, who finished with 46/47. Unstoppable under the post, she was closely marked by defenders Courtney Bruce and Jo Weston, who adjusted far better to the umpiring than their last outing. Weston kept Shanice Beckford relatively quiet, while Bruce picked up four gains on her way to an MVP performance.
With nothing splitting the two sides across the first half, goal attack Steph Wood was on fire for Australia. Regularly cutting across the top of the circle, she was dominant with 29/32, 17 feeds and 19 centre pass receives.
While the ball whistled smoothly into the Jamaican shooting line, Australia were having to do a lot more attacking work in contrast. Led by captain Liz Watson, the Diamonds midcourt had to offer and re-offer in a short, crisp game to reduce the defensive capacity of the Sunshine Girls. While the crowd wondered if they’d be able to keep that level of intensity up, the Diamonds did, finishing with just 9 turnovers.
Watson used strong lines and her voice to bring the shooters into the game, and also finished with an astonishing 50 feeds and 19 centre pass receives. What sort of the impact that added work will have on the Diamonds’ legs will be revealed in tomorrow’s gold medal match.
With Steph Wood taking an equal share of the shooting responsibility in the first half, there was more shooter to shooter play between the Australians in the third quarter. Koenen started to find more room along the baseline, as the Diamonds slipped out to a four goal lead. Jamaica switched up Jodi-Ann Ward and Latanya Wilson, and managed to drag the lead back again.
However, the Jamaican defensive unit weren’t quite at their brilliant best, finishing with just five gains, four of them to Shamera Sterling. As the game progressed, Bruce’s unwavering defence finally started to give the Diamonds some opportunities, as she picked off two intercepts during the last 15 minute period.
Ash Brazill and Khadijah Williams had a good tussle on the wing, while Jamie–Lee Price was strong on the ball when Paige Hadley ran into warning difficulty.
Wales finished in 9th place in the World Cup, sneaking out against Scotland in the first half, and then opening up a decent lead in the third quarter. Led superbly from the front by Georgia Rowe, who finished with 42/45, Wales had just one more shot than Scotland, but proved to be far more accurate under the post.
Scotland’s shooting accuracy unfortunately sat at 68.9%, while Wales kept theirs at 91.9%; the ultimate difference in the game. Feathers goal keeper Christina Shaw made life difficult for the Thistle’s shooters, with her long arms over the shot forcing some of the inaccuracy as she picked up 8 turnovers.
Bethan Dyke was busy at wing attack for Wales, finishing with 37 feeds and 9 centre pass receives. However, Wales went through the wing defence door for 20 of their centre passes, allowing their attackers to set up further down court. Experienced heads Claire Maxwell and Iona Christian drove Scotland’s midcourt, each finishing with 27 feeds.
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