Compiled by Jenny Sinclair, Andrew Kennedy and Katrina Nissen
Day 3 – Sunday 14th July
New Zealand 89 defeated Singapore 21
The Silver Ferns were in blistering form on Day 3, sending the rest of the world a firm reminder of their intentions. Their win was built on off-line defence which confused the Singaporean attack into thinking space was available when it wasn’t. Phoenix Karaka was a rock in defence, hauling in 6 intercepts.
Te Paea Selby-Rickit hit 36/38, but it wasn’t all good news for the shooters. They coughed up 14 of the teams 20 turnovers as connections into the circle weren’t quite there, and will need to reduce that error count as they progress in the tournament. Maria Folau left the court with an eye injury and stayed on the bench rubbing the wounded area. However it’s unlikely to keep the lynchpin off the court much longer.
It was a tough day for Singapore and unfortunately will relegate them out of the top 12 finish they’d hoped to achieve.
Malawi 65 v Barbados 41
The Malawi Queens got off to a blistering start against the Barjan Gems. As expected goal shoot Joyce Mvula combined well with her compatriot Jane Chimaliro. The pair used blistering ball speed and interplay to easily dispatch their defence. Malawi’s smothering defence created many held balls and turnover opportunities which were swiftly transitioned and converted. By the end of the game the Queens had converted 66% of turnover ball. If they lift that stat by the end of the tournament they can be in for a real chance at the playoffs.
Barbados weren’t doing themselves any favours, conceding a number of offensive penalties due to ill discipline and stagnant movements. On occasion Barjan shooter Shanica Wharton utilised impressive holds which creating perfect feeding opportunities from centre Amanda Knight who finished the game with 27 feeds and 20 goal assists. Wharton’s confidence grew across the match which saw her put up four beautiful long bombs.
England 90 defeated Samoa 24
After losing Layla Guscoth in a tournament ending injury yesterday, England were prepared to win for their teammate. Coach Tracey Neville threw a variety of combinations out on court, but nothing slowed the English assault.
Jo Harten hit 41/41 while 36 year old Rachel Dunn is in career best form. Chelsea Pitman and Nat Haythornwaite shared in 48 goal assists and 69 feeds as they serviced their shooters impeccably. Geva Mentor was tireless as she hauled in 5 intercepts and 9 deflections.
Samoa’s 49 turnovers hurt them, while captain Gene Solia-Gibb didn’t take the court after sustaining a bump yesterday. Solia-Gibb should be fine to play tomorrow, but needed a precautionary rest.
Uganda 52 defeated Scotland 43
Uganda have finished second in Pool D and are through to the top eight after a hard fought win over Scotland. Scottish teen goal shooter, Emma Barrie was impressive shooting 23/29 (80%). The 17-year-old is one of three teenagers competing at the tournament but has undoubtedly cemented her place in the side for years to come with her confidence and court craft. Uganda won the match on their ability rebound in both defence and attack. With superior positioning and athleticism, they then blitzed their opponent on the transition.
Australia 99 defeated Sri Lanka 24
Australia made light work of Sri Lanka and have advanced to the top eight. It was the highest score and largest margin of the tournament so far. Full match report here.
Zimbabwe 51 defeated Northern Ireland 49
Two nations of incredible spirit lined up in the most hotly contested match to date in the World Cup. Belfast is a mere 2-3 hour ferry ride from host city Liverpool, and many Irish have made their homes here, or travelled for the matches. Similarly, there is a substantial Zimbabwean diaspora in England. The Irish came in droves, and the African fans brought the songs and drums.
After one goal from the Gems, the Warriors appeared to take control, with four unanswered goals. Veteran just-retired Northern Irish goal shooter Noleen Armstrong, recalled prior to her honeymoon to replace an injured colleague, was simply too strong on the hold, and her team’s structure and accuracy from either centre pass or a turnover was slick. The Zimbabweans showed flair and a bit of luck to keep up, with quarter time score 12-15 against them.
The Gems warmed into the game somewhat, showing more intensity and desperation. This translated to a caution against their centre Patricia Mauladi for overzealous circle-edge contacts. Their feeders did use more sensible feeding of main target shooter Joice Takaidza, particularly using height mis-matches against Fioinnuala Toner, or flatter passes when a midcourt opponent had been put out of play. Zimbabwean supporters went nuts when their heroes equalised with 4:30 mins remaining before half time. There followed a string of three intercepts that drove both sides into raptures.
The third quarter saw the Warriors suddenly build a 5-goal lead in just 3:30 mins. In the context of this close match that was a huge margin, but instantly the momentum swung totally and Zimbabwe kept finding the post easily, making 8 of the next 10 goals. They drew ahead by one and scores were 39-all at the last break.
The stage was set for an irresistible final term. The energy and noise on court 2 were like the grand final, as neither team could bear to disappoint their fans and finish outside the top 8. The energy of some Irish players was flagging, Noelen Armstrong only potting 3/6 for the final term, while the cool demeanour of her opposite in Takaidza remained impervious, hitting 9/10. But the key inspiration for Zimbabwe was their rock solid goal defender Felisitus Kwanga who nicked an intercept off what seemed a sure feed, and sent it down court to goal. Northern Ireland were bitterly disappointed, going down to World Cup debutants Zimbabwe by just two.
South Africa 55 defeated Jamaica 52
A hotly anticipated showdown of the ever-improving Proteas and the passionate athletic Sunshine Girls was dramatic and filled with momentum changes. No less than six players were cautioned or warned in a tussle that might rule the loser out of medal contention. Jamaica came back from an 11-goal deficit in the second half but were unable to overhaul a jubilant South Africa. Read the full match report here.
Trinidad and Tobago 67 defeated Fiji 56
Even a team shooting percentage of 92% wasn’t enough to get Fiji over the line against Trinidad and Tobago. They were blown out of the water in the first quarter, going down 23 – 10. To Fiji’s credit they hauled the scoreline back, with relatively even second and third quarters, before winning the last quarter 16 – 10.
For Trinidad and Tobago the bookends starred, goal shooter Sam Wallace coming up with 40/42 goals, and goal keeper Shaquanda Greene taking 5 intercepts and 8 deflections.
The Netball World Cup Trophy
Originally crafted for the Birmingham Netball World Cup 1995 and then restored after 20 years for the Sydney event in 2015, hoisting the beautiful trophy in Liverpool will be the defining moment and ultimate reward for long careers of sacrifice for athletes and coaches alike. Created by English craftsman Marcus Steel, the base is made of ebonised wood with bands of silver, the centre a net-like lattice of silver rods and gold detailing, and the top an etched-glass globe representing the world – or if you like, a netball. Each day in the 2019 tournament female members of the armed services escort the trophy to and from the court.
What caught our eye
Congratulations to Clare Maxwell of Scotland, who played in her 100th game today.
During the Australia v Sri Lanka match signage tape on the court floor started coming off. During quarter time a volunteer stuck it down, but it represents a possible danger to players in the area.
Layla Guscoth was getting scans of her Achilles this morning when her side was scheduled to take to the court. So that she was represented her team created ‘Paper Layla’ out of a sheet of butcher’s paper and set her up on the team bench. Fortunately ‘Real Layla’ finished her scans early and made it to the stadium in time for the national anthem. As she made her way to the sideline to stand with her team, the crowd gave her a heartwarming, and deafening welcome.
The talk of the tournament has been the rise of African netball. In a boilover today, Zimbabwe clipped Northern Ireland’s wings to advance to the top eight. Zimbabwe’s goal defence Felisitus Kwangwa has been exceptional, hauling in 14 intercepts and 18 deflections across three matches. English Superleague talent scouts have been heard chasing her services already.
Even the ball was feeling the pressure during the South Africa and Jamaica match this evening – to the point where it left the court deflated.
Northern Ireland player Noeleen Armstrong (nee Lennon) was newly married, when she received a late call up to replace the injured Lisa Bowman. Rumour has it that Noeleen postponed her honeymoon to join her teammates. Now that’s commitment!
This will be Norma Plummer’s last stanza as head coach of South Africa. After her side’s euphoric win this afternoon, she was seen tearing up. She welled up again when we spoke to her. “Oh great the voice is going now. It was a teary one. I said to them, ‘No regrets girls. You will be sorry if you lost this one.’ They have come a long way.”
In a tongue-in-cheek confession, Plum poked fun at her shooters. She said, “I’ve told them they are princesses. They’ve gotta go to the post. I got stuck into them. I was disappointed in that third quarter when they were dishing off too much. Don’t put your hand up for shooter if you don’t want to go to the post. That is what we rely on. If it doesn’t go through the hoop we don’t win.”
On the injured list
It’s been sadly confirmed that English Rose Layla Guscoth has ruptured her Achilles tendon, and will spend up to 12 months on the sidelines. Surgery followed by a long period of rehabilitation will follow, and Netball Scoop would like to wish Layla all the very best in her recovery. Layla plays for the Adelaide Thunderbirds, who must be feeling jinxed after they lost Beth Cobden earlier in the season with an ACL injury.
Samoa’s captain Gene Solia-Gibb didn’t take the court today following a knock yesterday. She isn’t thought to be seriously injured, but the team took the precaution of resting her today.
Who was spotted in the crowd.
Jenny Woods has had a long and industrious career as a journalist and is now one of the most respected netball commentators in the business. She’s travelled to Liverpool from New Zealand, to be an integral part of the commentary team.
One of Jenny’s greatest strengths is her meticulous research, something she believes is the most important skill for a commentator. Funnily enough, one of the most challenging aspects is learning the correct pronunciation of unusual names. Jenny laughs, saying, “I’ve done terrible things. I’ve got New Zealand players muddled up. And sometimes the Aussies, with all the blonde ponytails!”
One of the most difficult periods in Jenny’s career was when fellow commentator Tanya Dalton passed away unexpectedly. Jenny said, “It was a shellshock. There’s a real void there, because she was such a big personality.”
“Her death had an effect on all of New Zealand. It wasn’t because she was the greatest netballer, although she was a very good one. It’s because she was one of the greatest personalities, and oozed that big smile. She filled a room, Tanya, and it was like having a ghost beside us to begin with when we went back to commentary afterwards.
Jenny was kind enough to share many insights into her career with Netball Scoop – keep your eyes skinned for a full interview post the Netball World Cup.
Tracey Neville (coach, England) – on losing Layla Guscoth
“You must look at the person rather than the athlete in this situation. For me, I’m the coach, the show must go on.”
“Layla had a scan this morning, I was texting her to say ‘Get Back’. The girls drew a picture of her on the bench because she’s a valuable member off the court as well. You talk about a team and a squad, and it’s not just about your performances on the court. She’s a friend, she’s a family member, and we were pretty all hurt yesterday. However we got back in there before we started the game, and the girls really wanted to do it for her.”
“She touches the heart of everyone in the group, she’s one of the biggest personalities, she’s one of the biggest influences in the group, so of course there were a few tears.”
“There’s nothing wrong in showing emotion, that means she means a lot to us. I think if there wasn’t that emotion shared I’d be really worried within our team. But we walked out of our team meeting, we went into dinner, and the next minute we were doing pranks on each other. Sometimes you need that little bit of coming together, in times of hardships, what if scenarios. You prepare for this, you plan for this, what I say is, ‘If you’re going into war, this is the group I’d want to go in with.’
Ameliaranne Ekenasio, New Zealand on the Silver Ferns bag of tricks. “I think we will really consolidate now. We haven’t shown too many cards yet, so we will look to expand on that heading into the next round.”
Fran Williams, England on what she has learnt so far this tournament. “Eboni, Geva and Layla I have learnt so much from. They are so good with me on court. Always talking, helping to keep me calm. My main goal from the competition is to learn a lot and enjoy it. So far I have done that.”
Sheniqua Thomas, Barbados, about hitting the long bombs. “I have been putting a lot of work into my shot so, it felt really good to just get out there and hit those long range ones like that.”
On moving into the next stage of the competition. “We need to start good so that we won’t be playing catchup netball. So once we start good, I am sure me girls will be successful.”
Lisa Alexander, Coach Australia on the nature of playing back to back games across 10 days. “Don’t get me wrong, we loved playing Sri Lanka and it is really important to them, but at the end of the day it is not necessarily conducive to great television watching. So we might need to look at that differently in the future. And then having the back to back schedule to replace players who are injured is a downer to our sport I think.”
Whyte Mulilima, Malawi Assistant Coach, on making the quarter finals. “We are very grateful. The sky is the limit. This is where we belong.”
On the vocal crowd support Malawi have in Liverpool. “Maybe the large following we have is because of the way we perform. Some other people like to come and watch Malawi because of the tactics. Many people do not understand the way that Malawi plays netball. We play our own type of netball so they will come just to watch and see because we have our own touch.”
To hear more of Whyte’s interview and what the Malawi Queens mean to the country, listen to our podcast.
The Daily Liverpool Scoop podcast is available at https://www.netballscoop.com/2019/06/daily-liverpool-scoop-podcast/