Match report from Netball World Cup 2019, New Zealand v Barbados, day 2, 13 July
The classically contrasting styles of the opponents were evident from the outset: the zone defence of New Zealand reaping three intercepts in just five minutes, and the Bajan defence based in strength and pushing shooters off the mark with arms flying at the neck and face. During a slew of quarter-to-quarter personnel changes for both teams, the Silver Ferns were unstoppable, especially the dozen gains of Jane Watson at goal keeper – her team triumphed by a three-to-one ratio, 78 to 25.
Bailey Mes, who had not played in the opening match against Malawi, played the whole match, and took her first twenty-five attempts so close to the post she was basically under the net. Barbados had no drives punching through the space-marking, leading to a mountain of errors and very slow scoring. When they did penetrate to the goal circle it often seemed quite unstructured, save for the odd baseline sprint from Sheniqua Thomas.
The Silver Ferns definitely didn’t find it easy going however, often passing on the second to third second. What was admirable though was their retained composure while being absolutely smashed by defenders Rhe-Ann Niles-Mapp and Shonette Azore-Bruce. Ameliaranne Ekenasio initiated rotation and was more evasive, while Mes was being dealt a brutal hand due to her more holding style. Halfway through the quarter the Kiwis lead 10-5.
Near the end of the quarter Barbados wing attack Damisha Croney appeared to be badly winded as she ran past Casey Kopua, and was replaced by Samantha Browne. The intercept-fest continued for New Zealand who clocked up seven in the first quarter, and zero obstruction penalties. The quarter-time score was 16-9 to the Silver Ferns.
Barbados brought Amanda Knight into the middle, while Coach Noeline Taurua also made changes, Folau to GA, Crampton to WA, switching Saunders to C, and Karaka to GD. The New Zealanders seemed to be looking much longer down court, especially to see Folau in the goal third, and there were nice set plays on the centre pass with Crampton screening for Folau, leading to dazzling second and third phase. It also seemed the Silver Ferns had more space in the shooting circle, as Folau’s ability to shoot from anywhere meant a less frenetic tussle under the post. After five minutes they lead the quarter nine to one.
Mes was now seen more often on the front cut rather than the hold, and the attacking flow was spectacular. Crampton was so elusive and zippy that it seemed there was nobody marking her. Azore-Bruce came out the worse of this, heading out of the stadium for treatment of an unspecified injury, replaced at keeper by Latonia Blackman. Barbados continued to suffer, with no midcourt potency and regular mess and confusion at their attacking transverse line. New Zealand had scored 19-1 with five minutes until the main break. Some inspiring long shots by Wharton near the end got the crowd excited, yet Jane Watson was still totally coming out on top. The half-time score was 42-14.
New players for the Silver Ferns for the second half were Te Paea Selby-Rickit at GA, Langman back to C, and Burger at WD. New Zealand remained very organised in defence, with Watson’s voice heard constantly directing the unit’s moves. Selby-Rickit got involved very quickly, scoring nine goals in nine minutes, while Mes went very quiet. Changes for Barbados were Brianna Holder to GA and Shonte Seale to GK. They had slowed down the progress of the Silver Ferns, Blackman getting two intercepts, and they also were getting to circle edge far more frequently. 61-20 was the New Zealand lead before the final 15 minutes.
Barbados now with Blackman, B Holder, Croney, R Holder, Knight, Niles-Mapp, and Seale, while New Zealand put Folau into GS and unusually Mes to WA, with Kopua back on at GD. Mes on the wing might caused initial uncertainties in attack structure, but she adjusted, and would add presence in midcourt defence. After the slow start the intercepts and goals started to flow for the Kiwis and they slammed out a healthy 17 goals before the match ended.
New Zealand 78 defeated Barbados 25
Shonica Wharton GS, Sheniqua Thomas GA, Damisha Croney WA, Rieah Holder C, Tonisha Rock-Yaw WD, Rhe-Ann Niles-Mapp GD, Shonette Azore-Bruce GK
Bailey Mes GS, Ameliaranne Ekenasio GA, Shannon Saunders WA, Laura Langman C, Katrina Rore, WD, Casey Kopua GD, Jane Watson GK
Shonica Wharton 14/17 (82%)
Bailey Mes 30/33 (91%)
Te Paea Selby Rickit 20/22 (91%)
Jane Watson 12 (includes 6 intercepts)
Phoenix Karaka 5
Rieah Holder 8
Rhe-Ann Niles-Mapp 15
Tonisha Rock-Yaw 12
Noeline Taurua, New Zealand coach
“I thought it was definitely a step up defensively on our part from yesterday’s game. I thought we looked tighter as a defensive unit and created a lot of turnovers. They were pretty torrid out there especially in their defensive end, so we were able to withstand that pressure and keep toiling away.”
“Yesterday I think we lacked intensity and we were not decisive in our defensive end. I think we are heading in the right direction and our mantra is to everyday just be a little bit better and I am happy with our overall performance.”
“There are still some areas for improvement. Yesterday we got out own [low] ‘world record’ of errors of 14 which was massive for us. I still believe there are errors that are necessary and I still believe today that we got caught up with things and weren’t patient with the ball. We know exactly what it is. It is just our ability to be able to be quite poised when we have ball in hand. When we are like that we can be quite purposeful. But we get caught up sometimes so it is a consistent work line. But overall 20 turnovers considering how many possession balls we had, isn’t too bad at all.”
“Back in the day [Mes] actually played wing attack, so she has a lot of versatility. But it was also about starting to manage our midcourt as well in regards to numbers and quarters. I like her out there whether it be in the goal shooter or wing attack position. She offers a lot of height for us there but she is also basic and simple, so she already has that the connection to the shooting end and midcourt. I thought she did really well.”