Diamonds claim first ever Fast5 Netball World Series

AUSTRALIA has claimed the final missing trophy from its illustrious cabinet by winning the Fast5 Netball World Series, defeating South Africa in the final. After a shock loss to Uganda on the second day, the Diamonds were able to claim victories over the remaining nations to book their spot in the final. There, they took on the SPAR Proteas – who they beat on day one – and repeated the dose with a 14-goal win, 34-20.

After trailing by a goal at quarter time in the final, Australia wrestled ahead by half-time to lead by that margin. The Diamonds increased the lead to four by the last change, then piled on 10-0 in a stunning final term to come away with a 14-goal victory. Sophie Garbin scored 20 goals from 23 attempts, three goal assists and three rebounds, while Kelsey Browne and Tara Hinchliffe were also outstanding in the victory. The South Africans had a very inexperienced lineup, with Sammy Ngubane (10 goals from 12 attempts) the only multiiple goal scorer, while Fifi Nketsa helped herself to six goal assists.

South Africa’s loss to Australia on day one was the only defeat for its series, knocking off both England and New Zealand who reached the third placed playoff final. In the early game between the pair, England won by a goal to secure the third spot heading into the final, but the Silver Ferns gained their revenge in front of the Christchurch home crowd, winning by 14 goals themselves, 39-25. Aliyah Dunn scored 11 goals from 13 attempts and had three rebounds for the Silver Ferns, while Samantha Winders worked hard in centre with four goal assists and two intercepts. The Roses unveiled Emma Thacker (seven goals at 100 per cent) and Tash Pavelin (two intercepts) on the international stage who did well.

In the fifth against sixth battle, Uganda destroyed Jamaica by 22 goals in what was a forgettable tournament for the Sunshine Girls. The She Cranes kept the Jamaicans to no more than four goals in a quarter during the 32-10 victory to finish fifth overall. Mary Cholhok was a star during the series, and though she took a back seat with just five goals from 10 attempts and three rebounds, Christine Namulumba (10 goals from 18 attempts) and Irene Eyaru (seven goals from 100 per cent) both looked good in the shooting circle, while Margret Baagala had nine goal assists.

In the men’s competition, New Zealand got one back on Australia after the green and gold won the recent test series, getting up by four goals in the final. Both sides were level at the final break after the Aussies caught up to their Trans-Tasman opponents, but an 8-4 final term helped New Zealand seal the deal. Thomson Matuku scored seven goals from 11 attempts and had three goal assists and two rebounds, while Eriata Vercoe worked hard for four goal assists and two intercepts. For Australia, Brodie Roberts starred with six goals from 10 attempts and five gaol assists, while Anton Stechiwskyj scored eight goals at 100 per cent efficiency.

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