ENGLAND 62 – 37 SCOTLAND
Group B leaders England took on Scotland for the 10th time at a Netball World Cup on Sunday afternoon in Cape Town and comfortably made it a perfect 10 out of 10 against the Thistles.
Coming off a good win against Barbados a day earlier, the Scots headed into the clash against a side ranked seven places above them full of fire. They managed to inch ahead at the start and were 3-4 up at one point, but a run of six unanswered goals from England saw the Roses levelling matters and then surging ahead. They took that five-goal lead into the first break.
England’s Olivia Tchine and Helen Housby effectively built on that lead in the second quarter as Scotland squandered several opportunities through basic errors. There was some concern as England centre Imogen Allison left the court in the final minute of the first half with what looked like a knock to the shoulder.
The third quarter was a good one for Scotland with several promising passages of play as they enjoyed more ball and put the English under a little more pressure.
But ultimately, although England’s scoring rate wasn’t as high as in their previous matches, they remained in control of proceedings and passed a memorable milestone in the third quarter, Tchine slotting in England’s 8000th goal in Netball World Cup history.
Their 62-37 victory saw England through to the second preliminary stage at the top of Group B with Scotland also progressing as the third-placed side in the group.
England wing attack Chelsea Pitman was named Most Valuable Player and said: “It’s amazing. I didn’t shy away from the fact that this was a goal of mine, to work my way back into the Roses and get to the World Cup so to be here and just be around the girls and feeling this environment is something really special… so I’m just a happy chappy.”
Speaking about England’s progress to the next stage, Layla Guscoth added: “It’s been a good three games. It’s been three completely different styles so I think that’s prepared us well going through to the next phase of things. I think it’s just about building, there’s nothing new that we need to do going into these two phases. It’s just about reflecting on what we’ve done and keep building and pushing towards the end goal.”
Scotland coach Tamsin Greenway, who represented England at three Netball World Cups as a player, said: “I’m really pleased if you understand what our processes are. We know our journey. We came here to challenge Malawi and we did it. We came here to beat Barbados and we did it. We came here to practise against England and learn and we did that.
“We’ve made improvements from 2019, we put into place some things I needed to fix from our last two games… we did all those things so I’m very happy.”
Q2: 31-18 (17-9)
Q3: 46-29 (15-11)
Q4: 62-37 (16-8)
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Chelsea Pitman (England)
UGANDA 74 – 33 TRINIDAD & TOBAGO
It may not have been as clinical as they wanted it to be, but Uganda nevertheless outclassed Trinidad & Tobago 74-33 at the Netball World Cup 2023 in Cape Town on Sunday.
On Saturday, eight-ranked Uganda went toe-to-toe with defending world champions New Zealand, only losing by 10 points. They scored a historical win over South Africa at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, relegating the Proteas to sixth position.
The Ugandans started Sunday’s match without shooter Mary Cholhok, at 2.01 metres the second tallest player in Cape Town, instead opting for Christine Namulumba and Irene Eyaru in the circle. Cholhok recently was the leading goal scorer in the UK Netball Super League, scoring 908 goals at an average of 50 per match.
Trinidad and Tobago got the scoreboard going, pouncing on a few loose balls from Uganda and they managed to grab an early lead within the opening minutes. Sloppy work in midcourt by the Calypso Girls, however, saw the She Cranes getting on track to equalise and then build some breathing space. They held a narrow three-point lead after the first quarter.
Cholhok moved in under the pole for the second quarter while Shaffie Nalwanja (wing defence) switched places with Christine Nakitto (goal defence). Cholhok teaming up with Eyaru proved to be the right decision as both made sure of their shots to put points on the board and put Uganda 33-18 in the lead at halftime.
Initially it looked like Uganda was slowing down the pace of play considerably at the start of the third quarter, possibly a tactical decision to conserve energy for the next round of matches. However, the all-important third quarter turned out to be the She Cranes’ highest scoring one with 21 goals scored.
In the last 15 minutes Uganda simply drove it home with clinical precision. They did the basics well and moved the ball down court with ease as Trinidad and Tobago ran out of gas.
Uganda’s Irene Eyaru was named the Most Valuable Player of the match. As goal attack she scored 18 out of 19 goals. In the third and fourth quarters, she played wing attack.
Speaking after the match, She Cranes goalkeeper Haniisha Muhameed said her side are ready for the rest of the tournament.
“We wanted to win today, so we now have to go and do it, we are ready for it, mentally and physically. Every time you have the opportunity to go out there and play, it’s a good feeling. We are looking forward to the rest.”
Q1: 14 – 11
Q2: 33 – 18 (19-7)
Q3: 50 – 27 (21-9)
Q4: 74 – 33 (20-6)
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Irene Eyaru (Uganda)
JAMAICA 67 – 49 SOUTH AFRICA
In the most hotly anticipated showdown of the first stage of preliminary matches, hosts South Africa faced off against Commonwealth Games silver medallists Jamaica to determine which side would top Group C.
In a surprise move, South Africa’s Lenize Potgieter was included in the starting seven, taking to the court for the first time in the tournament, with both knees heavily strapped.
It was a nervous start for both sides with possession changing hands three times before the opening goal was scored by Jamaica. The Sunshine Girls edged ahead in the opening minutes before the Proteas levelled at 8-all and then took the lead for the first time soon after. But some silly errors from the home side proved expensive and the Jamaicans capitalised to take a four-goal lead into the first break.
The Sunshine Girls then began to dominate in the second quarter, easily finding goal shooter Jhaniele Fowler in the circle and the Proteas soon found themselves nine goals down.
Despite massive encouragement from Potgieter, Elmeré van der Berg looked somewhat overwhelmed at goal attack and was soon replaced by the more confident Nichole Taljaard. Her introduction had an immediate impact and the Proteas worked hard to close the gap, but they were still eight goals down at halftime.
The error count continued to rise for the South Africans in a disastrous third quarter, allowing the Jamaicans to take an even firmer grip on the game. The Sunshine Girls defence was particularly effective in preventing Potgieter from getting any ball in the circle and with five minutes remaining in the quarter, the South Africans had scored just one goal. The damaging third period for the hosts finished 20-3 in favour of the Caribbean nation.
Ine-Mari Venter was brought on to replace Potgieter at goal shooter for the final quarter and Shadine van der Merwe at wing defence while captain Bongi Msomi returned to centre. It was a better 15 minutes from the South Africans, who actually won the quarter by five goals, but that did little to dent the massive gap that the rampant Jamaicans had built by then.
The 67-49 win sees Jamaica progressing to the second stage of the preliminaries top of Group C, so providing a potentially smoother path to the semifinals.
Jamaican defender Jodi-Ann Ward was duly rewarded for her efforts by being named Most Valuable Player.
Speaking after the match, Jamaica’s assistant coach Keyan Murdock said: “We are pretty pleased in terms of the overall performance. The third quarter was impressive but I know we were playing a quality team so we expected the challenge that came from them. The final score doesn’t reflect how hard the game was so kudos to the South Africans in terms of how hard they played.”
South African captain Bongi Msomi remained positive after the match, saying: “It’s always best to play in front of your home crowd but mostly I’m pleased with how we started. The girls really stood strong.
“There were a few patches where we could have been better… I think this is a lesson. The World Cup doesn’t stop today. Yes, there are couple of tough games that we are going to come up against but if we can put together some of the great performances we had today, I think we can look forward to what’s next.”
Q1: 16 – 12
Q2: 32 – 26 (16-14)
Q3: 52 – 29 (20-3)
Q4: 67 – 49 (15-20)
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Jodi-Ann Ward (Jamaica)
TONGA 55 – 46 ZIMBABWE
Not even a passionate group of Zimbabwean fans staying on their feet, singing and dancing throughout the match could prevent the Gems from suffering a 54-46 loss against Tonga at the Netball World Cup 2023 in Cape Town on Sunday.
For the African team it was their third successive defeat while Tonga added Sunday’s win to their victory over Fiji on the opening day of the tournament. They lost to Australia on Saturday.
Tonga shooter Cathrine Tuivaiti came on court in the last minutes of the match. She is representing her third country having previously played for Samoa and New Zealand. This is her second World Cup after playing for Samoa at the 2007 tournament in Auckland.
Zimbabwe initially created brilliant attacking moves with the ball landing in the circle regularly and with shooters Sharon Bwanali and Tafadzwa Matura scoring at 100 per cent. The Gems’ sharp passing put added pressure on the Tongan defence and they took an early lead. However, the Talas then started dishing out some of the same medicine and ended the first quarter three goals ahead.
The next 15 minutes saw the momentum stay with Tonga as defenders Mo’onia Gerrard and Kelea Iongi made it difficult for the Zimbabwean attacking players to create openings. Tonga’s mid-court players further took control of the game. The Gems did manage to pull it back somewhat in the last minutes before halftime, but Tonga went into the break still leading 27-24.
The second half of the match was a seesaw battle. The Gems continued applying pressure on Tonga as the Islanders were trying to move through the court and feed the ball into their goal circle. Tonga’s shooters however remained composed and made sure of the chances to score that did come their way.
As the final 15 minutes began, Zimbabwe found themselves trailing by nine goals. They tried to stage a comeback and cause a possible upset against a team ranked six places higher on the latest world rankings. The clock however was against them.
Zimbabwe assistant coach Wisdom Shinya said their failure to maintain the early pressure on their opponents is what cost them the game.
“It was an issue of mental fitness and also endurance, it’s coming up now to a point where the players are tired. We tried whatever we could have done but it wasn’t our day.”
According to Shinya, his side need more exposure on international level to be more competitive.
“We need to play more friendlies, not only with the African teams, we need to play against the big giants so that we can adjust to their level of play. Our players need to be out there.”
Q1: 14 – 11
Q2: 27 – 24 (13-13)
Q3: 42 – 33 (14-9)
Q4: 55 – 46 (13-13)
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Kelea Iongi (Tonga)
WALES 68 – 56 SRI LANKA
With both Wales and Sri Lanka chasing a first victory of the Netball World Cup 2023 in Cape Town, there was plenty to play for when the two sides went head-to-head in their final Group C clash on Sunday.
On the line was a place in the second stage of the preliminaries with only the top three teams in each pool progressing. And it was the Welsh Feathers who got the job done with a 68-56 victory.
While the Sri Lankans stayed within striking distance for much of the opening quarter, some great intercepts from the Welsh ensured they edged ahead, taking a six-goal advantage into the first break.
Midway through the second quarter, the match was halted for close to eight minutes after Sri Lankan wing attack Dulangi Wannithilake received a blow to the stomach from a Welsh player’s knee and became physically ill on the side of the court.
When play resumed, Wales managed to pick up where they left off, Ella Powell-Davies and Christina Shaw doing exceptionally well on defence for their side to open the gap to head into halftime 30-22 up.
The tallest player in the tournament 2.06m Tharjini Sivalingam came on at goal shooter after the break and made all the difference, with the Sri Lankans producing their highest-scoring quarter. Incredibly Wannithilake also returned to action at wing attack.
But a 10-goal gap by the end of the period proved too much to close and with goal shooter Georgia Rowe completing a near-flawless performance in the Wales circle with 49 goals from 50 attempts, the Feathers wrapped up the crucial 68-56 victory.
Powell-Davies was named Most Valuable Player and said: “It’s so, so good – a massive boost of confidence for this squad. We’ve had a tough couple of games and Sri Lanka really brought it to us today. It was super tough out there, but to get the win it’s a massive boost and we’re looking forward to going through to the next group.
Sri Lanka coach Thilaka Jinadasa said: “The girls did well today overcoming these big losses in our last two matches.”
Speaking about Wannithilake’s injury, Jinadasa added: “She will hopefully be OK. She’ll be taken to the doctor to be checked. She’s a very strong character so I’m sure she will be ok.
“She is a very fast wing attack for us in our starting seven so I have more confidence with her and I knew she was a strong character and could come back and she proved it again today.”
Q2: 30-22 (13-11)
Q3: 50-40 (20-18)
Q4: 68-56 (18-16)
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Ella Powell-Davies (Wales)
AUSTRALIA 101 – 32 FIJI
With 18 places separating them in the latest world rankings, a comprehensive victory for Australia (1) over Fiji (19) was all but guaranteed. The world’s top-ranked team is yet to lose a quarter at the Netball World Cup 2023. This was the second 100-goal score of the World Cup, Australia’s third in all World Cups and the 15th overall.
It was the Diamonds’ fifth World Cup victory over the Pearls. Outside of the tournament, they also have had the better of their opponents in three other international matches.
Fiji got proceedings underway with Maliana Rusivakula landing the first shot. It didn’t take long for Cara Koenen to return the favour at the other of the court for Australia.
Fiji, fresh off their upset win over Zimbabwe on Saturday, managed to hang on for the first five minutes of the game. Australia however found their rhythm and started building up a healthy lead. The ease with which they were moving led to attractive attacking play for which their opponents had no answer.
Fiji head coach Unaisi Rokoura, who played in the 1999 and 2003 World Cups, brought on Lydia Panapasa as goal shooter with Rusivakula moving to goal attack for the second quarter. Josephine Nailumu (goal defence) and Ana Moi (wing defence) also took to court in an effort to stem the relentless Aussie attack. The Australian team remained unchanged.
Even though the possession was evenly distributed in the first half, with a superior goal shooting percentage, Australia had a firm grip on the game. They went into the break 46-18 in the lead.
When the third quarter started, it was a new-look Australian team who assumed position with Ash Brazill the only player yet to make an appearance in the game. Goal shooter Sophie Garbin fired off three shots in quick succession, and another five soon after, to take the wind out of Fiji’s sails.
Australia racked up 26 points in the third quarter and followed it up with 29 in the final 15 minutes of the match, their highest over three days of play.
Goalkeeper Courtney Bruce earned her second award as Most Valuable Player for another stellar performance on defence. She got eight intercepts and caused several deflections to turn the ball back toward her team’s goal circle.
Commenting on the rest of the tournament and how they want to progress, Australian coach Stacey Marinkovich said her team have their eyes set on the other teams.
“As we’ve gone on along the journey, the focus has been on how we get our game going in terms of performance and style, compared to the other teams,” she said.
“So certainly we’ll talk about what we see and what they bring to the table. The draw is what it is. That is one of the challenges of a world cup, you’ve got to bring your game on the day and learn in the moment and adapt.”
Despite the heavy loss, Fiji captain Maria Lutua-Rusivakula said their main goal was to give all the players some time on court.
“In that aspect we did what we wanted to do, even though the result doesn’t really show it. We are progressing all the time and we want to go forward by making the little things count. For now, we are taking it one day at a time,” she said.
Q2: 48-18 (23-9)
Q3: 72-27 (26-9)
Q4: 101-32 (29-5)
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Courtney Bruce (Australia)
NEW ZEALAND 80 – 19 SINGAPORE
Defending champions New Zealand closed out their Group D matches with a comprehensive 80-19 victory over the lowest-ranked team in the tournament, Singapore.
Having beaten the same opposition by 68 goals at the last World Cup in Liverpool four years ago, few would have expected anything other than another win for the Silver Ferns when the two sides faced off again on Sunday.
While the Singapore side are speedy and produced a promising start, they were outgunned in all departments, scoring seven goals in the first quarter and just two in the second as New Zealand took firm control.
The Silver Ferns shooters had no mercy on Singapore goal keeper Jamie Lim on her 23rd birthday, racing to a 32-goal lead by halftime.
Once again the Singaporeans’ inaccurate goal shooting cost them with neither shooter averaging over the 55 per cent mark.
While New Zealand had little trouble in sailing to the 80-19 victory, of some concern will be the condition of goal shooter Grace Nweke who appeared to limp off the court in the third quarter and was seen icing her knee on the sidelines.
Despite the comfortable victory, New Zealand coach Noeline Taurua felt there was plenty of room for improvement.
“I’m not actually entirely happy, I thought we were able to get a lot of ball and I think our attention to detail in some respects wasn’t on point,” she said afterwards.
“I feel today we went a bit backwards, especially when we had ball in hand. The quality wasn’t as good as expected.”
Asked about Nweke’s knee, Taurua added: “At the moment the call from the physio is that it’s not too bad but just precaution so I’m happy that we took her off so we can ascertain clearly why there’s the issue, but it’s OK.”
Singapore captain Kai Wei Toh said: “It was really an honour to play against them and I think it was a great experience. We don’t always have the chance to play them so the team enjoyed it.
“I’m very proud of my girls. They put up a strong fight and a strong start, but we should keep it consistent through the four quarters. I think we tried to play a short game, which we did. There were a few successful passes down the court also and I think our defenders did really well. They went for all the balls and really tried very hard.”
Q2: 41-9 (24-2)
Q3: 61-14 (20-5)
Q4: 80-19 (19-5)
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Jane Watson (New Zealand)
MALAWI 84-48 BARBADOS
With singing and dancing Malawi fans in the stands, the Queens scored their second victory of the Netball World Cup 2023 in Cape Town when they beat Barbados 84-48 ON Sunday.
The match marked Malawi’s 50th appearance in the World Cup since their debut in 1995. It has been a challenging tournament for Barbados as they suffered their third consecutive loss.
Right from the opening whistle, Malawi took control of the game, showcasing strategic play that left Barbados struggling to keep up. The Queens’ skilful passing and rock-solid defence made it difficult for the Bajan Gems to launch any effective counterattacks.
At the start of the second quarter, with Thandie Galetta replacing Jane Chimaliro on wing attack, the African team extended their lead even further. The next 15 minutes saw Barbados facing relentless pressure, with Malawi’s defenders making incredible interceptions and thwarting their opponents’ progress. By halftime, Malawi held a commanding 43-22 lead.
The Bajan Gems made a determined effort at the beginning of the second half, with Kadeen Corbin scoring the first goal and expressing their intent to narrow the gap. However, Malawi’s experienced defenders, Towera Vinkhumbo and Jane Dambo, stood firm and they turned Barbados’ possession into scoring opportunities of their own.
Despite their resilience, Barbados couldn’t break through. In the third quarter, Malawi surged ahead with a dominant centre-court attack that left Barbados searching for answers. As the clock ticked down, Malawi maintained their lead, entering the final stages of the match with an impressive 29-goal advantage.
In the last 15 minutes, the Queens continued their dominance, controlling the pace and leaving no room for Barbados to stage a comeback.
Ultimately, Malawi’s tactical gameplay and strategic positioning were the key factors. Their seamless shooting circle rotations ensured a steady stream of scoring opportunities while suffocating defence denied their opponents quality ball possession.
Beaten by England on day 2, Malawi coach Samuel Kanyenda said his side had sat down with the whole team to properly prepare for Sunday’s encounter.
“After today’s win there is definitely less stress after the negative feedback from yesterday. I’m proud of the girls for putting on a good performance and creating this win. Now we are looking forward to the rest of the games.”
Barbados vice-captain Tonisha Rock-Yaw said it was a tough day at the office.
“There were some things that were good, but we needed to capitalise and focus a lot more. We needed to try and limit the mistakes and turnovers, there were too many today. For the rest of the tournament, we are taking it day by day and just making sure we stay in it.”
Q2: 43-22 (23-12)
Q3: 64-35 (21-13)
Q4: 84-48 (20-13)
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Takondwa Lwazi (Malawi)
Jane Watson and Goh Wei Ping: Jane Watson of New Zealand and Goh Wei Ping of Singapore during the Netball World Cup 2023, Pool D match between New Zealand and Singapore at Cape Town International Convention Centre Court 1 on July 30, 2023 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images/Netball World Cup 2023)
Iona Christian and Francesca Williams: Iona Christian of Scotland and Francesca Williams of England during the Netball World Cup 2023, Pool B match between England and Scotland at Cape Town International Convention Centre Court 1 on July 30, 2023 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images/Netball World Cup 2023)