Calypso Girls claim crucial win

TRINIDAD & Tobago secured an important victory against Grenada on day four of the Netball World Cup Americas Qualifiers, running out 24-goals winners. The Calypso Girls are favourites for qualification, and second ranked at the event behind Jamaica, but were up against an unbeaten Grenada outfit. Despite some impressive play from the underdogs, Trinidad & Tobago proved too strong to come away with the 66-42 victory.

It was an even tussle throughout the first contest, with the sides mostly going goal for goal, but the Calypso Girls having forced a turnover off the initial centre pass so had the advantage in the opening minutes. A strong finish to the term had Trinidad & Tobago lead by five goals at the first break, 17-12. The battle between Afeisha Noel (Trinidad & Tobago) and Ranisha Stafford (Grenada) was key as the two went toe-for-toe in the Calypso Girls shooting circle.

Noel began to win that battle and the favourites were growing a large lead. By half-time the margin had extended out to 12 goals and the Calypso Girls were looking home and hosed. Grenada started the second half by immediately being able to cut back the deficit to single digits, but Trinidad & Tobago stepped up when it needed to thanks to Noel and Tianna Dillon in the circle, to come away with the comfortable victory.

In the other key game of day three, Barbados ended the United States hopes of qualifying for the World Cup with a 21-goal win. The Bajan Gems found the going tougher than many would have expected, but the States’ continued improvement throughout the tournament was event. The first term was as close as it got throughout, with the Bajan Gems leading by two goals at the first break.

If anyone throughout the United States would simply slip away, they were wrong, as the nation managed to not only catch Barbados, but hit the front thanks to a crucial interception from goal keeper, Tishuana Daley. That helped them lead 16-15 at the main break in what had been a low scoring half. Unfortunately for the United States, Barbados would click into gear after half-time, scoring 13-3 in the third term to race out to a nine-goal lead.

From there, the Bajan Gems finished off the United States well with a 19-7 final term to record a 23-goal victory. The win kept Barbados in pole position to secure one of the two qualification spots and return to the World Cup for the second successive time. For the United States, it was a huge improvement on the earlier efforts in the tournament.

In other results, there was no surprise to see Jamaica make light work of the Cayman Islands. The Sunshine Girls are playing exceptional netball at the tournament, even without a host of key stars and no incentive other than to play well in front of home fans. They took care of business to remain undefeated after four days though, rolling the Cayman Islands 81-27.

In the other match, St Vincent & The Grenadines kept its hopes of qualifying alive with a narrow 13-goal win over St Lucia. Though the nation has lost two games – both came to the top two sides, so a crucial clash against Barbados will determine whether or not the small nation might advance.

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