New Zealand wins comfortably to make it three in a row

SECOND quarter dominance assured the Silver Ferns of a convincing win over Singapore with a 61-goal win and leaving Singapore winless so far this Netball World Cup, whereas New Zealand produced three wins in a row to kick off the tournament.

The 80-19 performance was thanks to direct vision the Silver Ferns had into their goal circle and the execution of their iconic zone defensive structure giving their defenders plenty of opportunities to win ball inside and outside of their respective circle.

The Silver Ferns were without speed demon Whitney Souness due to calf tightness and tall timber Grace Nweke had to remove herself from the court after a slight knee niggle. Both will be crucial for the ferns against the higher ranked nations with both bringing immense value to the side.

Confidence was high in the Silver Ferns attack end with them making the ball do the work and letting it go when they saw the best option open in their approach to the circle. This was reflected in their 24-2 second quarter score thanks to the help of a 19-goal run continuing into the third term as Singapore’s shooting accuracy dropped drastically. It seemed as though Singapore had come to play approaching the post with confidence, but their 50 percent shooting accuracy was underwhelming at this level of netball.

This was also caused by the smothering defence the Kiwis were placing on the shooters with Phoenix Karaka (four intercepts, three rebounds, three deflections) having the tournament of her life, putting her hand up for the starting goal defence bib. Partner in crime and player of the match Jane Watson (10 deflections, three intercepts, three rebounds) was a pest in and around the defensive circle for New Zealand, constantly confusing the space and ready for the challenge.

Watson was edging out of the circle, possibly going out for the fly where the zone defence was giving her space to do so, making it seem as though the shooter was free, she would then drop back into the space and pick up an easy intercept with Karaka to follow or do the same.

Singapore did do really well though in the first term with a deficit of only 10-goals with their game plan paying off. Hard, flat passes, trying to limit the amount of times the Silver Ferns defenders could get a hand to the ball.

Amandeep Chahal (11 goals) was a standout in Singapore’s performance with her absence out on court definitely being missed with her rotation around the circle and rebounding ability helping Singapore play with some pride. Angelina Lim was costly for the side with seven turnovers, but that just goes to show how much she had the ball in her hand with 26 feeds to go with it, but only eight goal assists as the shooters were unable to finish it off at the post.

Singapore went on to struggle on second phase after getting really good first phase due to New Zealand’s defence where Maddy Gordon (38 feeds, 28 goal assists, five deflections, two intercepts) used her speed and dynamics to get herself to circle edge or deep in the pockets to feed the ball into Te Paea Selby-Rickit (49) in prime scoring position who was using her basketball background and strength to here advantage under the post.

The top five teams are becoming clearer as the rounds continue with the second stage of the tournament bound to rattle some feathers.

Wales (68) defeated Sri Lanka (56)

Wales took out their first win of the tournament by 12 goals against a tough Sri Lankan side where both sides needed the win to give themselves more confidence heading into the next stage of the tournament. Georgia Rowe had a big day at the office shooting 49 goals only missing one in the final moments of the game. She did rack up eight turnovers though but she was ultimately the target at the post Wales needed with her accuracy really driving her through. Gayanjali Amarawansa for Sri Lanka was the slick link between defence and attack with 24 feeds and one intercept where Semini Alwis (seven) was sharing that similar load.

Australia (101) defeated Fiji (32)

The Australians hit the century and made it three convincing wins in a row against a confident Fiji outfit. The Diamonds hit the ground running right off the mark thanks to their huge defensive efforts across all four quarters. There were moments of showtime from the Pearls, but the Diamonds were too disciplined and clinical in attack, making it hard for Fiji to win any ball for their side while stacking up 50 turnovers due to the defensive efforts from the Diamonds. Australia stacked on a massive fourth quarter slotting 29 goals to Fiji’s five for the term. 

Intercept machine Courtney Bruce came out with a bang in the second half and continued that hot form for those 30 minutes getting eight intercepts while winning it cleanly and away from the whistle, a massive effort for only one half of a game. In a similar fashion, Cara Koenen for the Diamonds brought her own defensive efforts into the attacking third getting two intercepts herself while shooting 37 goals at 100 percent. Unaisi Rauluni played only in the first quarter but Fiji lost a lot of movement in attack when she went to the bench to rest her for the next few rounds to come. Rauluni was not afraid to go to the post and has proven to be crucial in the Pearls structures and confidence levels.

Malawi (84) defeated Barbados (48)

After a controversial turnaround in Cape Town, the Malawi Queens got a convincing win over Barbados who were not shy from a challenge. Heading into this game, Malawi has all eyes on them with the news about Mwai Kumwenda’s particular absence from yesterday’s clash against England, but today she played every minute. Kumwenda (42) proved a point on how crucial she is to Malawi with her experience and game smarts coming critical in some tight situations. She was fed well by another veteran in Takondwa Lwazi who had the ball on a string with 39 feeds with 30 ending in a goal while picking off three intercepts.

It was a very quiet game defensively for the Bajan Gems only getting five gains for the whole outing while giving away 29 turnovers compared to the Queens’ very clean nine. Former England internationals Kadeen Corbin and Sasha Corbin, yes sisters, went on to dominate Barbados attack end with their connection being unstoppable a lot of the time. Sasha was the dominant feeder for the Bajan Gems with 27 feeds, 15 goal assists and 28 centre pass receives where Kadeen would go on to shoot 32 of Barbados’ goals. Barbados can take a lot of positives out of this game but Malawi were just too clinical on their turnover convention.

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