AUSTRALIA and Jamaica have effectively stamped their tickets into the knockout stage of the 2022 Commonwealth Games netball with third victories in Pool A overnight. Australia took care of South Africa courtesy of a fast start by 25 goals, while Jamaica showed no mercy on its way to a crushing 79-goal victory over Barbados.
AUSTRALIA 19 | 21 | 16 | 18 (74)
SOUTH AFRICA 11 | 13 | 13 | 12 (49)
A strong four-quarter performance from Australia has ticked off the Diamonds’ biggest challenge outside Jamaica in the group stage, defeating South Africa by a comfortable 25 goals overnight. The Aussies piled on 19 goals to 11 in the opening term to produce an eight-goal buffer at the first break, before slamming home 21-13 in the second term and holding a 40-24 lead at half-time.
Both teams made changes at half-time with Sunday Aryang and Kiera Austin coming on for Jo Weston and Steph Wood for the Aussies, while Elmere van der Berg replaced Lefébre Rademan and experienced campaigners Bongi Msomi and Shadine Van der Merwe returned to the line-up after being rested in the second term.
The third term was ultimately the nations trading blows throughout, and though the Diamonds won the quarter 16-13, the SPAR Proteas had arrested the momentum. Australia continued to roll out the changes in the last term with Cara Koenen coming on for Gretel Bueta, Weston returning but in wing defence, and Sarah Klau replacing Aryang. The team might have changed, but the scoring did not, with the Diamonds back on top in the last quarter, scoring 18-12 to record a memorable 74-49 victory.
Before coming off at three quarter time, Bueta nailed all of her 34 attempts, while Wood (13) and Koenen (14) also shot at 100 per cent efficiency. Liz Watson lead from the front with 31 goal assists from 39 feeds, while Courtney Bruce spent the whole time in the defensive goal circle, picking up five gains, two intercepts, six deflections and two rebounds in the win.
For South Africa, Ine-Mari Venter was the dominant goal shooter managed 31 goals from 38 attempts, as van der Berg went 10 from 10 and had five goal assists, two deflections and a rebound in a half. Msomi (13 goal assists from 23 feeds) and Izette Griesel (12 from 14) were the pick of the midcourters. Phumza Maweni played a full game in goal keeper against her former Sunshine Coast Lightning teammates and recorded three gains, two intercepts, two deflections and one rebound.
JAMAICA 23 | 28 | 22 | 30 (103)
BARBADOS 5 | 4 | 8 | 7 (24)
Jamaica has showcased its depth in a monstrous 79-goal win over Barbados, emphasised by the fact that the Sunshine Girls did not even play the best shooter in the world until the final term. The Jamaicans opted to go with Collingwood Magpies’ Shimona Nelson, and Shanice Beckford in the goal circle, leaving high volume shooter Jhaniele Fowler to rest up for the bigger challenges later in thw tournament. There was still plenty of presence on the court though, with Melbourne Vixens’ Kadie-Ann Dehaney and Adelaide Thunderbirds’ Shamera Sterling pairing up in the defensive goal circle.
They showed no mercy from start to finish, but the first half saw the Sunshine Girls clock up 50 goals before the crowd had hardly had a time to rest, racing out to a 51-9 lead at half-time and it looked set to be a record-breaking occasion. The Barbados shooting combination of Shonica Wharton and either Brianna Holder or Latonia Blackman had not worked, so the Bajan Gems threw goal keeper Faye Agard into the shooting circle.
That helped lift their scoring, adding 10 of the 15 second half goals to take Barbados’ tally to 24, though Jamaica’s scoring prowess only got worse with a massive 30 goals in the final term – with Fowler replacing Nelson and shooting 24 of them – for a 52-goal second half and an overall win of 103-24. It was one-sided traffic, but a good tune up for the Sunshine Girls ahead of Australia and the knockout games in a few days.
Despite playing just a quarter, Fowler shot 24 goals from 27 attempts, while Nelson finished with a massive 58 from 60 in 45 minutes. Beckford was superb with 12 from 13, but also 33 goal assists from 35 feeds. Rebekah Robinson came on in the second half, shot nine goals at 100 per cent and fed to both Nelson and Fowler with 22 goal assists from 23 feeds, two gains, two intercepts and two rebounds. Adean Thomas (20 goal assists from 21 feeds, four gains, two intercepts and two deflections) was outstanding, as Sterling had a day out reading the Barbados feeds, picking up 12 intercepts, 15 gains, two deflections and one intercept from goal defence.
Agard shot 10 goals from 12 attempts, with Wharton managing the 10 from 15. Holder had one from three, but also 11 goal assists and two feeds. She was one of the better contributors to the scoresheet in terms of her feeding, with Blackman (three from three, one deflection and one rebound) the other one who worked hard in attack. Akeena Stoute (one gain, one intercept and one deflection) had a tough job in the defensive goal circle all day.
Though regulation at this point, Australia takes on Wales and Jamaica faces Scotland tonight, before the top two sides lock horns in the final game of the round robin stage.