Compiled by Jenny Sinclair, Andrew Kennedy and Katrina Nissen.
Day 6 – Wednesday 17th July
Lenize Potgieter, South Africa on their oncourt ritual of kneeling on the court after the match is finished. “Before every game we ask God to go with both teams throughout the game because we don’t want any injuries and we want a fair contest and a nice netball game.”
“Then afterwards it doesn’t matter if we win or lose we will pray to him and just tell him thank you for no injuries, thank you for the talents to be able to play on this main stage and to play on this massive stage for netball, and for giving opportunities for women to just show case what they can do. I just think he is our anchor and we work to play for him, because he has given us the talents and we just want to thank him every time and be blessed every time with gratitude.”
Fiji 59 defeated Sri Lanka 44
After a slow start, Fiji managed to apply the pressure and string together two convincing quarters which secured them the win. Fiji goalkeeper, Episake Kahatoka, was a revelation taking 9 intercepts, pocketing 12 gains, collecting 2 rebounds and notching 2 deflections. This feat was only in the first two and a half quarters, as she sustained a nasty looking knee injury in the third quarter. She was wheeled from the court but later returned to sit on the bench.
Sri Lanka are continuing to grow throughout this competition. However, they are struggling to find consistency in the goal attack position. If they find that consistency before finals, they will be a lethal opponent for the other bottom ranked teams.
Samoa 63 defeated Singapore 49
Samoa recorded their second win of the tournament with a win over luckless Singapore. Superior shooting percentages for Samoa (93%) were the ultimate difference, as Singapore put a similar number of shots but could only hit 78% of their targets. Samoa were heavily penalised – 52 to Singapore’s 37, but Rachel Rasmussen was a rock in defence with 12 intercepts. Singapore also had superior possession, holding onto the ball for 53% of the match. Singapore’s Sindhu Nair sustained an injury to her nose, and had to leave the court under the blood rule.
England 74 defeated Trinidad & Tobago 46
Trindad and Tobago put up a gallant effort in the first five minutes of the game, matching the Roses goal-for-goal. But like a tiger toying with its prey, the Roses applied the pressure and eventually pulled away taking the first quarter by 8.
Through floating, off-the-body zone defence, the Roses set themselves up for easy deflections and intercepts. In their circle they applied quick triangular passes to find the perfect non-defended positioning under the post.
Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper, Daystar Swift, was having a superb game against England’s Rachel Dunn. Swift rode Dunn’s body, not giving the shooter an inch. This caused Jo Harten to shoulder most of the shooting burden and reoffer repeatedly until she found the her sweet spot. During their time on court together, Harten shot 16 goals to Dunn’s 7.
Just when Trinidad and Tobago got to within three of the lead, Rachel Dunn left the court, to receive treatment to her right wrist. This made way for Helen Housby to enter the fray. The quick moving circle was too much for the Trinidad and Tobago defence, and in a matter of minutes England had scored 15 goals (13 of which were shot by Harten) to Trindad and Tobago’s 1.
Regarding her impact to the game, Helen Housby was humbly not taking credit for the improved scoreline. “I think we made other changes as well. I don’t want to say that it was because me. I think we just lifted as a team. I think we are all about the squad: there are no individuals out there and I came on and wanted to make an impact. But we all lifted and wanted to have a good finish to the quarter.”
In a move not seen for many years, Chelsea Pitman took to the court at centre for England. Her combination with Housby and Nat Haythornthwaite added even more speed, and a unique almost Aussie style to the front line. But rather than having Harten back at shooter, Dunn was brought back on, which caused a few miscommunications which the Trinidad and Tobago defence exploited.
Trinidad & Tobago were very competitive in the final quarter, only losing it by three goals.
Speaking after the match, Trinidad & Tobago goal attack, Kalifa McCollin, said her side knew they wouldn’t win the match, but there were positives to take from the match. “We knew we weren’t going to win the match, England are ranked 4th and we are 10th. Our aim was to score at least 12 goals per quarter, so we can go home thinking we did a good job.”
Jamaica 67 defeated Scotland 36
Scotland gave the world number three a huge scare by jumping out of the blocks and winning the first quarter 14-13. Jamaica had by no means disrespected the Thistles by putting on a second-string team, with only goal attack Rebekah Robinson not being a regular starting player. There simply was more focus and a little bit of luck for Scotland, and a shade more errors from the Sunshine Girls. Claire Maxwell led the way as usual, but it was a whole-team effort that capitalised on complacency from Jamaica.
For the second quarter the Sunshine Girls’ coaches brought on Jodiann Ward to goal defence, a much better physical match for the pacey goal attack Lynsey Gallagher. Shamera Sterling’s incredible wingspan came into play, and Jamaica quickly wrestled back the lead to five goals. The Thistles were for a few minutes not willing to reset back to their transverse line and tried to force the ball past uncompromising opposing defenders. With four minutes until half time, Robinson was replaced by Romelda Aiken, making the Scottish defenders hopelessly outgunned for height against two 196cm-tall shooters. The half time score was 32-21 to Jamaica.
In a really forgettable third quarter for the Scots, Aiken showed ball handling skills not normally required when she plays as a holding target, and the young tall personnel brought on by coach Gail Parata made no impact against the experienced Jamaican attackers. However the main disappointing area was the lack of access to the scoring circle, despite 47% of time in possession. The Thistles succeeded on meagre occasions using deception, low flat balls, and bounce passes around Shamera Sterling, losing the term 5-18.
The last quarter was an opportunity for the two young Scottish shooters, Barrie and McCall to show what they offer as a future combination. Even the brilliant veterans Maxwell and Mulheron spent time on the bench. Jamaica won the quarter by seven despite running some bench players and unorthodox combinations. Adean Thomas was the best performer for Jamaica with 16 goal assists, 3 gains, and only 2 turnovers, while for Scotland it was captain Maxwell who controlled the corridors and used wily deception to keep her team in it.
Hayley Mulheron, goal keeper for Scotland said, “That first quarter shows that the research paid off. I use my 17 years experience, to share that knowledge, trying to direct [the younger defenders] on the court, but sometimes that lack of experience has been very difficult. If you can hear me on the court, I don’t know if you can, I’m definitely shouting at both attack and defensive ends!” “My first test was against Isle of Man, away back in the day! It was obviously great – again it’s the same when you play, whether it’s the first time or the last time or the hundredth time, it’s just such an honour and such a privilege to represent your country!”
Nicole Dixon, centre for Jamaica “We have two losses, and despite that we came out here to finish the tournament. We came here with a plan, unfortunately not everything goes to plan. We came [today] with a game plan and we executed that today. In the first quarter, that’s just 15 minutes, we have a lot more time to go. We’re down by two, that doesn’t say that’s the end of the game, so we go back in the quarter and we try to analyse what is not going wrong [sic], and what we need to fix, and we just came out in the quarter and put everything on court.” “I don’t really see a big difference [between this team and Commonwealth Games], it’s just that sometimes we have the determination but sometimes it’s just the team that comes out better on the day.”
South Africa 67 defeated Uganda 40
A match between South Africa and Uganda is always spicy and today’s affair was no different. In worrying signs for Sunshine Coast Lightning, Ugandan goal shooter Peace Proscovia took the took held together by kinesio tape, while South Africa put out their strongest line. Both teams went goal for goal in the early stages before Karla Pretorius was able to turn over a few balls and help her team skip out to a nine goal lead.
Uganda brought on Sylvia Nanyonga at wing defence at quarter time, and she immediately had an impact, restricting Bongiwe Msomi to just a third of the goal assists of the first quarter. Uganda clawed back the margin, and for a while it looked like the match would be evenly poised. However, the Proteas brought on Izette Griesel into wing attack, with immediate impact.
Lenize Potgeiter and Maryka Holzhausen ended up shooting at a combined 93%, while the South African defense kept Peace Proscovia to just 13 goals by double teaming her.
A particularly pleasing aspect of the Proteas game was their low turnover count of just eight. After the match coach Norma Plummer paid credit to her opposition, saying, “Uganda’s got some great talent, they’re so quick. We just had to keep working until we got into the slot, kept moving ourselves. They came back in the second quarter, and you expect that from them because they never say die.”
When asked how her team were remaining calm before their guaranteed semi-final berth, she replied, “They’re a pretty grounded lot…They stay very much together. Everyone’s asked what we’re going to do, and we’re going to dinner and then everyone’s going home to bed early. Get their rubdowns, and that’s it.”
Lenize Potgieter was still in shock that her team had made the semi finals of the World Cup, for the first time in 24 years. “I can’t believe it. Everyone keeps yelling, ‘We’re in the semis. We’re in the semis’ and I am like, ‘Oh my! We are in the semi finals.’ We have been working so hard since 2015 with Norma and Nicole. They have supported us and built us up to be these great athletes working together and connecting and just showing what potential we have. I can’t believe we are in the semi finals, but tomorrow night’s game is going to be a big one for us, going against the English crowd and the Commonwealth champions. So may the best team win.”
What caught our eye
Was this netball’s first “pitch invasion”? A young fan ran out onto the court during the morning games and was escorted back to her seat by volunteers. The issue of player security is gaining traction, particularly given that spectator seats are positioned just two metres behind the players’ bench. While there is usually a volunteer or two present, there aren’t trained security personnel.
While there’s never been a Monica Seles’ style incident in netball, players do deserve more consideration around their safety.
Our sympathy goes to South African president, Cecilia Molokwane, who’s mother passed away during today’s games. Molokwane understandably was in a subdued mood when she fronted the media, despite sharing the enormous news that if the Proteas win gold, each member of the team will receive 1 000 000 rand, and for silver, 500 000 rand. The sponsorship is from the Spar chain.
Where umpires warm up?
Have you ever wondered where umpires warm up? Their basic stretches are done in their change rooms, and on court closer to the matches. But they can be seen running the corridors in the bowels of the building before they head onto court.
The punishing schedule is not only taking its toll on players. A few days ago, Australian official Michelle Phippard was a reserve for two early games, before umpiring a match later in the day. It’s a formidable physical as well as mental feat to remain focused and ready for all three games.
When teammates meet
There’s a strong bond between teammates, and it was never more evident than when Helen Housby (England) played against Sam Wallace (Trinidad & Tobago). The pair both play for the NSW Swifts.
How are teams handling disappointment after failing to meet expectations?
Trinidad and Tobago goal attack, Kalifa McCollin said her side’s goal was to finish 5th or 6th at this tournament. Now knowing that goal is out of reach, her side is aiming to play for 9th or 10th position. “Our game against Scotland is a must win for us. We are definitely competing for 9th or 10th spot at the moment. It is disappointing but we just have to make the most of it.”
Jamaica’s loss against England on day 4 all but locked the Caribbean side out of the medal games. Jamaica’s head coach Marvette Anderson said that her side will now look to bring more fight. “We are still a pro group and we will not go down without a fight. We are going to give it our all. We are still representing our country.”
Fiji goalkeeper, Episake Kahatoka, sustained a nasty looking knee injury during today’s match against Sri Lanka. Half way through the third quarter, Kahatoka jumped to defend a shot and her left knee buckled under her on the land. She left the stadium in a wheelchair and took no further part in the match. We wish her all the best.
Sindhu Nair, goalkeeper for Singapore was forced to leave the court after a knock to the face from Samoan goal attack Tee Salanoa. After treatment, Nair returned to the court in the third quarter.
Rachel Dunn received a wrist injury during the game against Trinidad & Tobago. She was seen shaking it off, and left the court shortly afterwards. However, she came back on in the fourth quarter and appeared to be comfortable.
Sam Wallace still didn’t look comfortable on her right knee. During her match she favoured the right knee, opting to use her left leg for pushing off, landing and lunging. She left the court three minutes before time and instantly applied ice to the injured knee.
Peace Proscovia’s legs are currently held together with kinesio tape, and she looks in some discomfort.
Australian umpire, Marc Henning, looks to be recovering from his calf strain as he ran the sideline of the England v Trinidad and Tobago match without his calf compression sock. However, his lower leg is still strapped.
Who was spotted in the crowd…
Sue Hawkins, former coach of England, Queensland Firebirds, and Mainland Tactix.
“I’m involved in CAPS, the Coaching Advisory Panel for the International Netball Federation. We presented a seminar, all coaches from all over the world can come, and we do that for two days and then come and watch the games, so it’s tremendous! We did all different aspects of coaching, so it’s attacking, defence, psychology of sport, a whole range of it. All the coaches are ex-national coaches from all around the world.”
“The players fitter and fitter, the ball is getting faster as well, and players are being more creative out on court, and the physicality it getting more exciting. Coaches are allowing players to use their talent a little bit more than what was probably a little bit restricted before.
“You’ll see a lot of the African countries coming through because [coach] education is getting into those countries, so the players are getting stronger, fitter, faster, and they’ve just got natural flair. That’s something that’s been evolving over the last probably decade. Anything that we can do from the international body, we get in there and help them out. You send coaches in there that have got the knowledge and programs that empower THEIR coaches to lift their standard. It’s no good sending coaches in, and leaving them with manuals, you’ve got to empower them to run their own programs. Part of our role is educating coaches in those regions, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Uganda, all of those places are areas that we’ll target.
“Tracey [Neville]’s done a terrific job with blending personalities, and making sure that they’re al on the same page all of the time. I think there are a lot of players that have trained in a different competition, which is New Zealand or Australia, which has allowed them to not be afraid of playing against certain players. It’s given them that belief, and when they collectively get together, they’ve got this really powerful belief. Their [England] captain Serena Guthrie, I mean, she’s just an AMAZING athlete, top top person, and her athleticism and her skill level is just supreme! She inspires the rest on the court. I’ve still got six of my players that were youngsters when I had them, now they’re the senior players. So they’re teaching the youngsters to come through as well.”
Kalifa McCollin, Trinidad & Tobago, on tidying up the penalties from the previous match. “I think we had a dropped zone defence and a lot of arms. That was the instructions because many times we go caught with our arms down. And our heads were dropped so our attitude today was a lot better going into this game.”
Nicole Dixon, Jamaica “I don’t really see a big difference [between this team and Commonwealth Games], it’s just that sometimes we have the determination but sometimes it’s just the team that comes out better on the day.”
Helen Housby, England, on being a defensive goal attack. “I love getting some intercepts. I think anybody is a defender when they don’t have a ball. I don’t think shooters are known for that strong defensive pressure. I think that can be a mark of a good team when you can win ball back before it gets down to your defenders because they do a lot of work for us in bringing the ball through the court. So it is nice to win it back before it gets to them.”
Hayley Mulheron, Scotland on her supporters “All my family and that have come down at various times. There’s been little girls that are fans [here] that’ve been following me since they were maybe five or six year old, they’re all gettin’ older now, so it’s nice to see them, and obviously they see my netball journey all the way through so it’s great!”
The Daily Liverpool Scoop podcast is available at https://www.netballscoop.com/2019/06/daily-liverpool-scoop-podcast/