Jamaica stuns South Africa in third quarter blitz

A MIND-BOGGLING third quarter that saw Jamaica score 20 goals to three over fellow top five nation South Africa, was ultimately the difference between the two sides in the Netball World Cup. In the contest of night three heading into the evening, the clash between the Sunshine Girls and Proteas became a blowout in the third term as the former piled on 20 goals to three and ran out 18-goal winners, 67-49.

In the most anticipated match of the first preliminary stage, both Jamaica and South Africa entered the contest with two wins from as many games. In the first major test for both sides, it was Jamaica who came away with the comfortable win off the back of an incredible third term.

Leading by six at half-time, the Sunshine Girls scored the first nine goals of the term, and then 14 of the first 15, to blow the lead out to 19 at the 10-minute mark of the third quarter. The powerful performance of both captain Jhaniele Fowler and Shanice Beckford made good on their team’s midcourt dominance in that period to step up and score 20 goals in the third period.

Though the pair was able to shoot at 90.9 per cent accuracy for the term, the result was largely due to an inflated number of turnovers from the Proteas. South Africa had 12 general play turnovers and committed 22 contact penalties within the quarter, compared to the Sunshine Girls’ five and nine respectively.

The midcourt of Nicole Dixon-Rochester (seven goal assists from 11 feeds) and Khadijah Williams (six from nine) were the ones to feed it into Fowler and Beckford, but Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) quality defenders Jodi-Ann Ward and Shamera Sterling combined for five gains and two intercepts. By comparison, it was grim reading for the South Africans with just eight feeds and four gains for the entire quarter.

The home nation scored 20 goals to 15 in the final term to cut the three quarter time deficit of23 back to 18, granted with Fowler resting for the majority of the quarter. Ine-Mari Venter went to work scoring 13 goals from 15 attempts, and her partner-in-crime Nichole Taljaard put up seven from eight. In the midcourt, Bongi Msomi re-established control in the midcourt after sitting out the last five minutes of the third term.

Ultimately it would not be enough however, with the turning point being in that third term. Ward’s move to goal defence in a switch with Latanya Wilson paid dividends for the Jamaicans, while Karla Pretorius‘ move into wing defence and bringing on Nicola Smith into goal defence for the home side did not yield the same results.

Though there were plenty in contention for it, Ward won the Player of the Match honours, doing well in defence to shut down her direct opponent and finish with two gains, three deflections and one intercept for her troubles. Sterling (four gains, five deflections and one intercept) also impressed there, while up the other end, Fowler scored 39 goals from 40 attempts, and Beckford managed 19 from 22.

For South Africa, Lenize Potgieter shot at 100 per cent accuracy with 17 goals across three quarters, while Msomi’s impact when returning to the court helped steady the midcourt. Taljaard had eight goal assists, three gains, three intercepts and 15 goals from 19 attempts in an all-round goal attack performance, albeit ultimately without success.

England (62) defeated Scotland (37)

Fellow top five nation England had no troubles against a determined Scotland, coming away with a 25-goal win in the match between the two United Kingdom nations. From start to finish, England had Scotland’s measure, and while the Thistles refused to go away quietly, could not contain the depth of firepower at the Roses disposal.

Veteran midcourter Chelsea Pitman starred, picking up 24 goal assists from 36 feeds, ale to get it to the likes of Olivia Tchine (31 goals from 34 attempts), Eleanor Cardwell (14 of 15) and Helen Housby (12 of 13), wile Funmi Fadoju and Fran Williams were strong up the other end. For Scotland, Niamh McCall tried hard in the shooting circle putting up 16 goals from 19 attempts and having seven goal assists, while Iona Christian tried hard in the midcourt.

Uganda (74) defeated Trinidad & Tobago (34)

Uganda made light work of Trinidad & Tobago in their clash, storming to a 40-goal victory. The She Cranes had a fight on their hands in the first term to only lead by three goals at quarter time, but soon took complete control, outscoring the Calypso Girls 60-23 in the final three periods for a 74-34 triumph.

Irene Eyaru won Player of the Match for her work both inside and on the edge of the circle, finishing with 18 goals from 19 attempts, and seven goal assists. Shadiah Nassanga (17 goals from 19 attempts and 16 goal assists) and Mary Cholhok (35 goals from 36 attempts and two rebounds) were both fantastic, while Margret Baagala had 39 goal assists on the night. Afeisha Noel tried hard for the losing side with 29 goals from 31 attempts and three rebounds.

Tonga (55) defeated Zimbabwe (46)

Tonga picked up its second win of the preliminary stage, justifying its place in the top eight. The rising nation in its first Netball World Cup did not have its own way the whole time against Zimbabwe, but first and third quarter advantages were enough for the Tala to record a nine-goal victory. 55-46.

Kelea Iongi was named Player of the Match for a remarkable eight intercepts, four deflections, two rebounds and 13 gains. Uneeq Palavi (39 goals from 42 attempts) was super under the post, while Hulita Veve (17 goal assists, two intercepts) was key on the circle’s edge. For Zimbabwe, Sharon Bwanali shot 15 goals from 16 attempts and had 10 goal assists, while Progress Moyo finished with an equal game-high 17 goal assists.

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