Diamonds and Sunshine Girls edge closer to semis

JAMAICA has beaten a 2022 Commonwealth Games Gold Medal challenger in South Africa to best advance its hopes of reaching the semi-finals of the event. It was less of a surprise to see Australia claim a 53-goal win over Scotland in the other Pool A match, but Jamaica’s 19-goal win over the SPAR Proteas was perhaps larger than many might have expected.

AUSTRALIA 17 | 18 | 23 | 25 (83)
SCOTLAND 10 | 6 | 9 | 5 (30)

A dominant performance after quarter time has seen Australia trounce Scotland to the tuen of 53 goals and bring up win number two in Pool A of the Commonwealth Games. Coming off a big win over Barbados, the Diamonds knew Scotland would be a step up, but opted to bring in a new defensive combination of Sarah Klau and Sunday Aryang, as well as Paige Hadley in the midcourt, and Kiera Austin joining Gretel Bueta in the shooting circle. Bethan Goodwin and Niamh McCall started in the shooting circle, with Emily Nicholl and Lauren Tait in the defensive circle.

Australia held Scotland at arms-length in the opening term as Bueta and Austin paired well to open up as much as an eight-goal lead midway through the term. Kate Moloney came on for Hadley just before Scotland would have a run of four consecutive goals, but Australia would settle and head into quarter time 17-10. An interesting call for the Thistles to mix up their team that had been competitive, bringing off both Goodwin and McCall at the break, with Emma Barrie coming on. It proved a monumental fail as Australia piled on the first 11 goals of the quarter and the Thistles did not score until seven and a half minutes into the term.

By half-time the lead was out to 19 goals, and though the changes kept coming for both sides, Australia piled on 48-14 in the second half – with a lot of the Diamonds first choice starters returning – to run away 83-40 victors. Cara Koenen was outstanding in the second half, scoring 36 goals from 37 attempts, with Bueta (33 from 34) across the course of the game. Aryang (seven gains, two intercepts, three deflections and five rebounds) gained great experience, teaming up with West Coast Fever teammate Courtney Bruce in the second half.

Goodwin scored 15 goals from 16 attempts, with Barrie (seven from eight) and McCall (six from 10) the key shooters. Nicholl (two gains, one intercept and two deflections) worked hard with Tait (three gains, two deflections). Iona Christian (13 goals assists from 24 feeds was the clear standout for the Thistles in the midcourt.

Jamaica proved too good for South Africa on Day 2 of the Commonwealth Games, winning by 19 goals | Image credit: Getty Images

JAMAICA 18 | 19 | 17 | 14 (68)
SOUTH AFRICA 7 | 12 | 12 | 18 (49)

AN incredible start set up Jamaica on the path to a big 19-goal win over South Africa to effectively earn themselves a place in the semi-finals. The Jamaicans dominated in the opening term, piling on 18 goals to seven to open up an 11-goal lead, and were never headed from there, winning the second term by seven goals and the third by five. South Africa was able to arrest some of the momentum quarter by quarter, and eventually got up 18-14 in the fourth, but it was a case of too little, too late and the Sunshine Girls celebrated a 68-49 victory.

The match was decided early, with super shooter Jhaniele Fowler teaming up with Shanice Beckford against SPAR Proteas’ Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) pairing of Ine-Mari Venter and Lefébre Rademan. The South Africans were able to keep in touch early, and were only four goals down at one stage, before Fowler and Beckford piled on eight of the last nine goals of the quarter to open up a double-digit lead. That lead stretched out to as much as 15 five minutes into the second term, and though it looked like the SPAR Proteas were up for the fight – with both sides making minimal changes – the Sunshine Girls had all the answers and headed into half-time 37-19 up.

From there, Jamaica held firm and still won the third term, but only won the overall second half by one goal showing the SPAR Proteas had taken a while to warm up. It blew out to as much as a 22-goal advantage at one stage, with Elmer van der Berg moved into the shooting circle for something different. Once the lead got back out to 21 goals with five minutes remaining in the third term, Fowler and Beckford came off for a rest and Shimona Nelson and Rebekah Robinson came on. They would score 20 goals against the South Africans’ 22 until the final whistle, not that it would affect the 68-49 victory.

Fowler (33 goals) shot at 100 per cent accuracy for the Sunshine Girls, with Nelson (14) and Robinson (six) also shooting flawlessly. Nicole Dixon-Rochester had a game-high 22 goal assists from 31 feeds for a full game in centre, while Shamera Sterling (five gains, three intercepts and three deflections) and Latanya Wilson (five gains, two intercepts, three deflections and three rebounds) were outstanding in defence.

For the SPAR Proteas, Venter managed 30 goals from 36 attempts, with van der Berg picking up 13 from 15 and Rademan six rom eight. Izette Griesel (17 goal assists from 23 attempts) was busy in midcourt, while Phumza Maweni and Shadine Van der Merwe were consistent in defence. Captain Bongi Msomi picked up the 10 goal assists from 11 feeds, a gain and a deflection in just a half on court.


The two losing sides from Day 2 will take to the court on Day 3, with South Africa taking on Barbados in the earlier match, while Scotland hosts rivals Wales in an all United Kingdom clash.

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