JAMAICA 89 – 26 TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
Medal hopefuls Jamaica took on Caribbean rivals Trinidad and Tobago for the 11th time at a Netball World Cup in Cape Town on Wednesday, the Sunshine Girls making sure of a comfortable 89-26 victory to continue their course towards a semifinal spot – which was confirmed later in the evening when New Zealand drew with South Africa.
The World Cup head-to-head count between the nations stood at four-all with two draws since their first meeting back in 1963, but this time around it was all Jamaica. Rejuvenated after a day’s break on Tuesday, the Sunshine Girls had no trouble racing to a 14-goal lead by the first break.
Trinidad and Tobago coach Joel Young-Strong urged her side to play their usual safe, short, sharp game in the second quarter but they continued to be outpaced by the Jamaicans, who looked far slicker in all areas.
Adean Thomas was impressive at wing attack while Shanice Beckford was also working hard at goal attack – putting up just one less shot than goal shooter Romelda Aiken-George in the first half. That saw the Sunshine Girls extending their lead to 34 goals by halftime. Their defence also stood strong, as the Calypso Girls’ error count mounted, conceding 29 turnovers in the first half. By the end of the half, they had added just four goals to their total.
There were plenty of changes for Jamaica in the third quarter including Jhaniele Fowler coming on at goal shooter and Rebekah Robinson at goal attack. While the dynamic between the two was different to that between Aiken-George and Beckford, it was no less effective as the Jamaicans continued to put even more distance between themselves and the opposition, finishing the third quarter 50 goals up.
It was all change again in the fourth quarter as coach Connie Francis continued to rotate players ahead of the Jamaicans’ showdown against New Zealand on Thursday. But the Sunshine Girls maintained the intensity to wrap up the emphatic 89-26 win, with centre Nicole Dixon-Rochester named as Most Valuable Player on the day she played her 50th cap for Jamaica.
Speaking after the match, Jamaica assistant coach Keyan Murdock said: “It was about rotating the team… of course we have to be conscious of the fact that we have a tough game tomorrow [against New Zealand]. We wanted to ensure we had saved enough energy and that was part of the rotation.”
Captain Fowler added: “I felt that the rotation of the team was really good, ensuring that we were all rested for tomorrow as well as making sure that we are all getting enough game time as well that when we get on court to play any other team that we are fit and ready.”
As for the likely gameplan for their all-important clash against the Silver Ferns, Fowler said: “What we can give away is that we are going to stay disciplined and play our game and I reckon once we do that, we should be OK.”
Trinidad and Tobago goal attack Joelisa Cooper remained pragmatic, saying: “It is Jamaica [we were up against] and we have new players and young players who are very inexperienced and this is the biggest tournament they have played in. So we were being realistic.”
Q2: 44-10 (24-4)
Q3: 69-19 (25-9)
Q4: 89-26 (20-7)
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Nicole Dixon-Rochester (Jamaica)
SRI LANKA 60 – 56 BARBADOS
Sri Lanka were still in search of their first victory of the Netball World Cup 2023 when they took on Barbados in a Group E clash in Cape Town on Wednesday.
History was not on their side with Barbados having claimed both of their previous head-to-heads at the Netball World Cup – their last meeting a 67-33 victory for the Bajans in Sydney in 2015. But they looked determined to change all that as they came out firing in the first quarter.
Barbados, who have already secured their spot in the 13th/14th playoff, were not playing with the same intensity they showed in their defeat of Singapore a day earlier, but managed to stay level, heading into the first break on 15-15.
A run of five unanswered goals at the start of the second quarter meant the Sri Lankans started pulling ahead. That brought about the introduction of Sasha Corbin at wing attack and the move of her sister, Kadeen, who previously won Commonwealth Games gold with England, from goal shooter to goal attack for Barbados. But they remained four goals down at halftime.
Barbados finally seemed to find their rhythm after the break and looked to be a completely different team as they quickly made up the deficit and then surged ahead, winning the third quarter by 22 goals to 12. But the Sri Lankans had a storming final quarter to come back at them to claim a memorable 60-56 win. That is the first time in 20 years that the Sri Lankans have beaten anyone other than Singapore at the Netball World Cup.
Sri Lankan wing attack Gayanjali Amarawansa was overjoyed by her team’s performance and said: “This is a huge win for us, I am very happy for my team because this is our first win.”
Q2: 30-26 (15-11)
Q3: 43-48 (13-22)
Q4: 60-56 (17-8)
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Dulangi Wannithilake (Sri Lanka)
UGANDA 73 – 56 WALES
Uganda delivered yet another commanding performance at the Netball World Cup 2023 in Cape Town when they defeated Wales 73-56 in a Pool G encounter.
The day began with news from the She Cranes camp that Norah Lunkuse and Christine Namulumba had been replaced by Viola Asingo (injury) and Sarah Nakiyunga (medical reasons). During the match several on-court changes were also made as a result of players feeling dizzy. After the match Uganda coach Fred Mugerwa suggested it was as a result of malaria.
Goal shooter Mary Cholhok was once again a pillar of strength for Uganda, playing the first three quarters and converting 42 of her 44 shots. Her play has greatly improved since participating in the Super League in the UK. She commanded the circle with nifty footwork and accurate shooting.
Both teams came out with the same seven in the second quarter. Despite being not entirely satisfied with his side’s defensive effort, Uganda coach Fred Mugerwa kept faith in Stella Nanfuka and Christine Nakitto as their work in the Wales circle kept them in the lead.
Uganda made their first change just before halftime when Lilian Achola replaced Margret Baagala (suspected malaria) at centre. At 1.58 cm Achola is the shortest player at the World Cup. The She Cranes had a nine-goal lead (36-27) when the hooter sounded after the first two quarters.
Wales switched Ella Powell-Davies to goal defence and introduced Christina Shaw on goalkeeper in the third quarter in an effort to stem the flow of quality ball to Cholhok. It didn’t seem to bother the She Cranes star too much though as she continued with the business at hand – keeping her team in front.
At the other end of the court, Uganda defenders Nakitto and Falidah Kadondi, who replaced Nanfuka, didn’t give the Welsh shooters any breathing space. They restricted their movement and kept scoring opportunities to a minimum.
Having done enough to help her team to a healthy lead, Cholhok remained on the Uganda bench at the start of the last 15 minutes with Viola Asingo replacing her under the post. Baagala also came back at centre.
The teams shared the spoils in the third quarter (15-all) but that didn’t prevent Uganda from scoring their first victory over Wales in a World Cup.
Speaking after the match, a satisfied Uganda coach, Fred Mugerwa, said: “It’s good because that’s what we wanted. We didn’t want to lose a game to Wales because, first of all, it would spoil our ranking. We just wanted to have that game so we remain where we are.”
On Baagala who is suffering from a suspected case of malaria, Mugerwa added: “We hope that by tomorrow she will be fully recovered. That was the main reason we substituted her because she was dizzy because of the medicine she is taking, but I think by tomorrow she will have recovered to be able to continue playing properly.”
Wales goal attack Phillipa Yarranton said it was a tough match.
“Any ball we lost today, they converted straight away and we also needed to slow things down. Personally, I had a few errors and I can’t afford to miss that many shots in a game. It’s back to the drawing board and focusing on the next game. There’s not a lot of time before tomorrow’s match against Trinidad and Tobago, so it will be an early night.”
Q2: 36-27 (21-15)
Q3: 58-41 (22-14)
Q4: 73 -56 (15-15)
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Shaffie Nalwanja (Uganda)
ZIMBABWE 68 – 40 SINGAPORE
Zimbabwe scored their second victory of the Netball World Cup 2023 when they beat Singapore 68-40 in a Pool E match in Cape Town on Wednesday. They will now play for 13th/14th position while Singapore will play in the match for 15th/16th.
The result is evidence of Zimbabwe’s superior position on the world rankings, 13th compared to their opponents’ 28th. The World Cup in Cape Town is the Gems’ second while Singapore have participated in 11, also playing host in 1983 and 2011.
In the first quarter, the Gems established a strong lead of 15 goals, controlling the mid-court with skilled passes and speed. Shooters Nalani Makunde and Nicole Muzanenamo were on target, missing only one attempt. The African team comfortably maintained their lead, ending the first half with a score of 38-19.
During the third quarter, Zimbabwe faced a rejuvenated Singapore team that played with increased energy. Defenders Jamie Lim and Reena Manogaran produced commendable performances, deflecting shots and making successful pickups, though other aspects of the team’s effort were lacking.
In the final quarter, Zimbabwe regained momentum, led by goalkeeper Elizabeth Mushore, who was named the Most Valuable Player. Her strong presence in the circle posed challenges for the Singapore shooters due to her height advantage.
Zimbabwe entered the World Cup with high expectations after finishing eighth at the 2019 tournament but have fallen short of a top-10 finish in Cape Town.
Q2: 38-19 (19-3)
Q3: 54-34 (16-15)
Q4: 68-40 (14-6)
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Elizabeth Mushore (Zimbabwe)