Compiled by Katrina Nissen, Jenny Sinclair and Andrew Kennedy
Day 7 – Thursday 18th July
WHAT CAUGHT OUR EYE
It was announced yesterday that a substantial bonus (1 million rand for a gold, 500 000 rand for a silver) would be given to each South African player if they finished in the top two. Netball Scoop incorrectly reported that this would be sponsored by Spar. It is actually Telekom, who are the biggest provider of communication services in South Africa.
Israel Folau was in the house today, supporting his wife, Silver Fern Maria Folau. The controversy over his social media posts has followed the Folaus to Liverpool, with a number of gay pride signs seen in the audience.
EYE CATCHING STATS
Australia’s Courtney Bruce is topping the leaderboard of defenders from the top 5 nations at the tournament. By the end of day 7, she has taken 17 intercepts, 15 rebounds, and notched 38 deflections.
Of the lower ranked nations, Barbados goal keeper, Shonnette Azore-Bruce, is leading the way. She’s taken 19 rebounds, 18 intercepts and 31 deflections.
Sri Lanka’s, 6ft 9inch goal shooter, Tharjini Sivalingam has shot 271 goals so far this tournament. She’s followed by Jamaica’s Jhaniele Fowler (235) and South Africa’s Lenize Potgieter (204).
It comes as no surprise that Australia’s Liz Watson and Kelsey Browne are the top two ranked players with the most goal assists. Watson has 145 and Browne has 132.
Other interesting number facts from the tournament:
1,104 – Number of stairs the Netball Scoop team has to climb up and down each day
192 – Number of players who have taken the court
99 – The highest team score (scored by Australia against Sri Lanka on day 3).
28 – Highest quarter score (Australia against Sri Lanka on day 3).
21 – The Lowest score (belongs to Singapore against New Zealand on day 3)
5,236 – total number of goals scored
76 – The highest individual score (shot by Tharijini Sivalingam against Singapore on day 4).
4 – The number of African nations making the top 8 for the first time EVER (South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Uganda).
ON THE INJURED LIST
English Rose, Layla Guscoth, was at this evening’s match with a cast on the lower half of her leg. When addressing media she confirmed that she has had scans and her surgeon recommended surgery right away. She underwent surgery on Wednesday and is now utilising a mobility scooter to help her get around M&S Bank Arena.
South African captain, Bongi Msomi, rolled her ankle in the early stages of her team’s match against the English Roses. She confirmed that it is nothing too serious and is expecting to take the court for Saturday’s match against Australia.
Zimbabwe’s goal shooter, Joice Takaidza, took a ball to the face during her side’s match against Malawi. She left the court to receive treatment and took no further part in the match. Updates to come when we know more.
WHO’S YOUR PLAYER OF THE TOURNAMENT?
Well it’s usually going to be a team ranked 5-8, because above that the players are all high quality and performing consistently, and have been rotated according to coaching strategies for the most part. So for me currently it’s Vangelee Williams for Jamaica at both wing and goal defence, she’s a rock for them with her intimidating strength, reach and footwork, and is an excellent driver of the ball through court.
Otherwise, Takodwa Lwazi of Malawi who has always been a favourite of mine, when she’s on the court the ball really moves, the attacking structure sizzles, and despite being barely 160cm she is tenacious in defence. She has the consummate attitude of a hero athlete, both on and off the court.
There’s been some amazing athletes on display – with captains Claire Maxwell (Scotland) and Caroline O’Hanlon (Northern Ireland) two of the standouts.
However, for me Courtney Bruce has been a crucial last line of defence for Australia. She currently tops the deflection count, and sits second in intercepts and for rebounds. To her credit, she’s also been careful to stay off the body, and doesn’t feature in the top ten for penalties. Bruce has an incredibly strong arm, and while she can let the ball fly in Australia’s drive out of defence, she’s picked her moments when to unleash the beast.
One of the success stories of the games is young Samoan Leonora Misa, who made her international debut at this Netball World Cup. She’s ranked first in the tournament for intercepts, and third for gains. The goal keeper is only 21 years of age, but more incredibly stands at just 178 cm. Watching her pull in balls against shooters who tower over her has been a highlight of the games.
Netball Australia have injected $40 million into netball in the Pacific region over the next four years, while Samoa will also receive funding from Netball New Zealand. Hopefully the increased funding will give players like Misa more of an opportunity to learn their craft from the best.
Oh, this is a tough choice. I love a strong defender who isn’t afraid to go for the fly. So, for me it’s been Zimbabwe’s goal defence Felisitus Kwangwa. She’s played almost every minute of the tournament so far and hasn’t dropped off in intensity. She is second behind Australia’s Courtney Bruce for deflections, in the top 5 for intercepts and is one of the only defenders to be in the top ten for centre receives. She is instrumental in her team’s transition play and is always there reoffering. I also love that she regularly notches up goal assists or feeds. She just needs to make slight adjustments to her timing to reduce her penalties. She is definitely a player to watch.
My alternate is Fionnula Toner of Northern Ireland. She is another defensive player who has played nearly every minute of the tournament so far (I think she has only had one quarter off!). She swings seamlessly between wing defence and goal defence and brings the same amount of tenacity to each position. She is quite tall for a wing defence and uses that to her advantage around the circle edge.
Richard Evans – Strategic Lead, Disability, England Netball
England Netball have been enormously successful in increasing participation levels in Walking Netball, and their attention recently turned to how they can improve and support services around disabilities. ParaNetball is run in parallel to able bodied netball, hence it’s name. Currently, programs are being developed for use in schools, and athletes with a disability of some kind are being encouraged to either participate in mainstream sport, or enjoy being part of a standalone competition.
Richard Evans described how netball is adapted for hearing impaired athletes, saying, “We want to integrate people with hearing impairments..so they may be wearing hearing aids, to using British sign language as their main form of communication. We want to be able to integrate them into clubs and to play week in, week out, train week in, week out.”
“But we also feel there is a need for them to have an exclusive game, something dedicated to their training needs and allows them to develop that community around sport and their impairment.”
“So with deaf netball we play with flags, we have three umpires on court. We have the two umpires running the lines as usual, no whistles, and we have one at about half way so the players can always turn and if they’ve lost their eye sight of the umpire, they can turn to the same place, the third umpire, who will replicate the calls.”
England Netball is also hoping to develop programs for athletes with other impairments, similar to Australia’s Marie Little OAM Shield, and are planning to resource share with the INF and other countries. It’s a crucial step forwards in encouraging women of any background to participate in sport with its associated physical and social benefits.
Steph Wood, Australia on why she has strapping on her finger despite not being injured, “It is actually kinda funny. I did it at a practice match. It is totally fine, no break or anything like that. Now it’s kinda a superstitious kind of thing. I have been shooting alright since so I just keep wearing it.”
Liz Watson, Australia on the challenges of working the ball through the transverse attacking line. “They put on a really great wall and zone, and that’s their style of play, so it’s about getting through that and sometimes that’s patient play. They like to swallow up our fast ball movement and that’s how we like to play. So being patient and no matter how many passes it takes, getting to the goal.”
Katrina Rore, New Zealand, on playing a shorter wing attack or goal attack. “There’s pros and cons for each side of it – we just hopefully being a little bit bigger out there, just our arm reach and that, can put the ball a bit further for our in-circle D, maybe to get some ball or the middies can’t find each other as much hopefully. That’s our job, but these days, tall, short, big, small – everyone’s athletic, everyone can run fast, everyone’s fit. So, no matter who you come up against it’s gonna be a challenge, and a lot of fun too!”
Laura Langman, New Zealand, on how teammate Maria Folau would be feeling after missing the goal that could have tied the game. “She’s pretty tough eh, old Rinksy, I think, too, that we’re in it together, and we never want to put our shooters in that position, ‘cause they ARE the last man standing. I probably got it a little wee bit wrong, [laughs].. I thought it was a draw! So that falls on me, that was poor leadership from me.”
Romelda Aiken, Jamaica, on whether teammate Shamera Sterling was injured in the first quarter. “I think she was just being a bit gumby [laughs]… but she’s alright, she’s walking around everywhere, she’s alright.”
Claire Maxwell, captain, Scotland “As soon as the emotions take over, the processes are likely to go downhill. It’s just about thinking about what we do on the training ground, we practise the last 30, 20, 10 seconds, we practise different scenarios that may happen on court, so it’s just basically applying that on court. If you think about the outcome, the likelihood is your head will go elsewhere. Lynsey Gallagher’s an absolute trooper for putting that last ball away under [such] pressure. We had a similar game four years ago, and we lost by one goal in extra time against these guys, so, we were looking for a bit of revenge, we didn’t QUITE get it, but I’m glad we got that draw.”
Northern Ireland 46 defeated Barbados 43
The Warriors narrowly edged Barbados in a match that was a fitting prelude to the titanic clash to follow. Each side won two quarters, but it was in the third term that Northern Ireland were able to put their foot down and open a narrow lead. The Bajan backline combined for nine intercepts, while their shooters were accurate at 93%.
However it wasn’t enough to counter the brilliance of the Northern Ireland midcourt. Wing defence Fionnuala Toner took four intercepts and four deflections, while the brilliant Caroline O’Hanlon provided a masterclass in how to run the centre bib. In attack she had a match high 22 goal assists and 39 feeds, while in defense she pulled in four intercepts.
Australia 50 defeated New Zealand 49
In the first of the day’s cracking matches, Australia came out lucky victors, staving off a strong Kiwi comeback. New Zealand had an opportunity to equalise the score but a brain fade from Laura Langman denied them the chance. See the full match report here.
Malawi 59 defeated Zimbabwe 43
Malawi definitely had more experience on the big stages, by it was Zimbabwe who pulled out 4-1 early thanks to quick movement off the mark in defence and reading of predictable plays. The middle third was often a forest of players when Malawi was on attack, the Queens needing to draw some opponents away to make space for an authoritative drive. Soon Joyce Mvula started to handle the very strong undermining of her hold from Rudo Karume and be a safer target. Tomera Vinkhumbo at the other end also kept the normally unflappable Joice Takaidza out of her comfort zone, forcing her into long unhelpful leads, and able to skip the feet around and cleanly win lobs. Malawi lead 12-8 at quarter time.
The Gems had changed both shooters from the starting seven, with Jani and Bwanali being a more patient, well-crafted pairing, not solely relying on the target shooter. The midcourt defence for Malawi was very sticky and swift, and Lwazi at centre was also dominating the feeding for her team. She had to contend with the large height advantage and armspan of Malaudi, but used her assets of nous and slipperiness to still get circle edge position every time. Mvula continued to be a rock in shooter, and Chimaliro doubled her attempts, with the Queens leading 28-18 at half time.
Opening with a 7-0 run in the third quarter, Malawi maintained their patience and energy well. Mvula had to deal with a very unreasonable and at times unsafe amount of pushing by Karume, which was almost never penalised by umpire Douglas. To the credit of the Malawi shooter not only did she make 11 goals at 100% for the quarter, she never retaliated or even complained. In contrast the Queens defenders were clean and classy, creating another 4 gains. Three-quarter score was 43-29.
Despite being on the wrong end of the scoreline, the Zimbabwe fans put in a solid sixty minute effort, drumming, singing, and dancing even during breaks. Half way through the final term Takaidza, who had returned to the court, had to go off for treatment after a ball to the face. The Gems performed best in the last, losing only by two goals, due to reducing their turnovers for the first time to even with the Queens. Eventually Malawi won 59-43.
Scotland 43 draw with Trinidad & Tobago 43
In the first draw of the 2019 Netball World Cup Scotland and Trinidad & Tobago draw at 43 apiece. The main strength of Trinabago was goal shooter Sam Wallace and their relentless defence, while Scotland did well in terms of through-court transition and rotation in the attack end. It was a very dramatic fourth quarter, also drawn nine-all, where the midcourt kept cool in the last 20 seconds and goal attack Lynsey Gallagher nailed a penalty on the siren. The Thistles bench reacted as if they’d won the final. Scotland had a right to be feeling hard done by, due to very disconcerting offensive penalties when the Trinabago players were encircling their young shooters.
Nicola McCleery, wing attack, Scotland “It’s my job to know how long is on the clock, I knew we had time. I knew I was going for first phase, Lynsey was on second, we just had to work it in, and massive credit to Lynsey G for sinking that last shot, it’s a huge amount of pressure at this kind of stage. She drew the penalty, time was up, she got the pass or shot and scored it, thankfully!” “Everyone wants to win. We know we aren’t going to win the World Cup, we have to be realistic, but we’ve got our targets that we want to meet, so that was kind of our championship game that we had to win.”
Jamaica 61 defeated Uganda 48
Both shooting circles started with small surprises, with Aiken in goal attack for Jamaica and Oyella in goal shooter for Uganda. The She Cranes were perhaps lucky to sit at 6-all midway through the term, before the Sunshine Girls started to push the lead out. Occasionally the Ugandan midcourt got a nice clean intercept, but usually the Jamaican ball found circle edge and the hands of captain Fowler, who shot all 13 goals for her side. Her teammates in defence dictated the space of the Ugandan shooters, frequently getting tips but not many gains. It was 13-9 to the Sunshine Girls at quarter time.
There were already a few changes occurring, Dehaney replacing an injured Sterling for Jamaica, and Proscovia taking the goal shooter bib for Uganda. Aiken was clearly having fun with the extra space, going on some quick sprints normally not in her game, plus a front cut to score her only goal for the first 30 minutes, celebrated by the Sunshine Girls. Dixon at centre made four intercepts, and she helped Jamaica lead 35-20 at the main break.
With Fowler taken off partway through the next term, the third quarter was almost perfectly even. Nanfuka had taken the court for Uganda and proved to be the difference at goal keeper with two intercepts, aided by the strong understanding of Nanyonga and Proscovia in goals at the other end, and a few more turnovers were squeezed out of Jamaica. It was 51-34 at the last break.
In a low-energy last quarter Khadijah Williams finished off her game with continued good work off the line, taking more than 50% of the Sunshine Girls centre passes, and always having safe hands and feeds. There were a couple of spectacular tumbles, a humorous one where Ward knocked over her own player, Sterling, and another less-so, with Nanfuka lightly bumping Aiken who had attempted a layup and ended up falling heavily. For her part, Proscovia finished with 28 goals at 100%, and her She Cranes won the last quarter by four, but eventually went down 48-61 to Jamaica.
Khadijah Williams, wing attack, Jamaica “Well, I think we lost a bit of concentration, but then we got our acts together, and we got back into the game.” “We have nothing less but to pick ourselves up. We know where we blundered, and going forward we just have to be ready and come again. This tournament [for me] is really average. I as a person need to improve, and then as a team collectively. My drives I want to work on going forward.”
Romelda Aiken, shooter, Jamaica “It was fun – we’re trying to make the end of the tournament very fun and exciting. Because we’ve come off two losses that us as a group weren’t expecting, so my job is just to bring the energy to the group, making it as much fun as possible when we play out there on court. None of these teams you can underestimate in this competition as you can see, like, Malawi and Barbados and even Barbados stepped up to the plate, they are challenging the big team, and you just can’t go in any game feeling complacent.” “For us it’s just about looking forward to the next round which is South Africa [World Cup 2023] or Commonwealth Games before that. I think for us as a group, we’re trying to just tick the boxes, and work on the little stuff that you know let us down in the two games that we lost.”
England 58 defeated South Africa 48
The English Roses had a blistering start to the match to set themselves up for a strong win over the South Africa SPAR Proteas. The Roses were clinical in defence and double teamed Lenize Potgieter to force Maryka Holtzhausen to go to post. Geva Mentor took 4 rebounds and got six deflections. Read the full match report here.
To hear more fantastic quotes, visit The Daily Liverpool Scoop podcast. Available at https://www.netballscoop.com/2019/06/daily-liverpool-scoop-podcast/