NWC 2019 Day 4: Samoa, Uganda and Malawi all prevail in tight tussle

ZIMBABWE (36) defeated by NEW ZEALAND (79)

The Silver Ferns continued their dominant form with a 43 goal victory over Zimbabwe. New Zealand showcased their class, composure and netball smarts to work the ball down the court and exploit the weaknesses in their opposition line-up. They used every inch of the court to create strong leads and set up a clever zone defence to pick off any cross-court passes. The Ferns shared the shooting load between the likes of Maria Folau, Ameliaranne Ekenasio and Te Paea Selby-Rickit proving they are a real force to be reckoned with given their versatility and options. Selby-Rickit was the most accurate of the lot with 23 from 23 sitting at 100 per cent for the match with Folau close behind at 92 per cent with 23 from 25. Star Zimbabwe shooter Joice Takaidza was well held throughout the match only managing seven goals from her nine attempts credit to the immense pressure applied by Jane Watson, Phoenix Karaka and Casey Kopua. In the half that she was on, Watson left her mark with an impressive four gains, three intercepts and two deflections while Karaka also highlighted her defensive prowess with four gains, two intercepts and six deflections. But the Gems were gallant in defeat with the likes of Rudo Karume leading the way down back, getting hands to ball with three gains and two intercepts. Perpetua Siyachitema was important through the midcourt for Zimbabwe, providing good speed and vision into the circle with a team high goal assists.

NORTHERN IRELAND (43) defeated by MALAWI (47)

It was a close contest between Northern Ireland and Malawi with a mere four goals separating the sides. The lead chopped and changed in the opening quarter with Northern Ireland establishing a four goal buffer before the Queens sparked up and gained some attacking momentum to go on a seven goal shooting spree. But the Warriors were not to be outdone, winning the second quarter and drawing even in third showcasing the extreme intensity of the match. But in the end a big last quarter performance from Joyce Mvula and Jane Chimaliro helped them to victory with the two shooters only missing two goals. Mvula finished with 30 goals from 31 attempts at 97 per cent while Chimaliro slotted 15 from 18. Through the midcourt Bridget Kumwenda combined well with centre, Takondwa Lwazi who controlled the middle corridor feeding seamlessly into the shooters. Lwazi had a team high 18 goal assists along with two gains and one intercept while Warriors centre, Caroline O’Hanlon also put on a masterclass through the midcourt with 21 goal assists and four deflections. Defensively, Fionnuala Toner was strong switching between wing defence and goal defence effortlessly and picking up plenty of ball with four gains, four intercepts and two deflections for the Warriors. But her efforts were matched by Malawi defender Towera Vinkhumbo who amassed seven gains, three intercepts, six deflections and three rebounds.

AUSTRALIA (91) defeated BARBADOS (22)

The Diamonds were clinical once again, holding Barbados to 22 goals and clogging up the space to cause havoc right across the court. Australia were hot right from the get-go and piled on the pain in the second quarter, keeping the Bajan Gems to two goals for the quarter credit to the defensive pressure right across the court. The new look defence end for Australia provided plenty of excitement with Sarah Klau and Courtney Bruce pairing well in the circle to pick off stray passes and force turnovers. Bruce finished with nine gains, four intercepts, eight deflections and two rebounds thanks to her impressive footwork and read of the play. Trialed in a different position, talented defender Jo Weston claimed Player of the Match honours for her performance in wing defence, blocking both Samantha Browne and Damisha Croney any easy access to circle edge. In her 50th international cap, goal shooter Caitlin Thwaites showcased her shooting prowess with long bombs, strong holds and sheer brilliance under the post with 20 goals at 100 per cent. Gretel Tippett shone after being brought on at half time, nailing 25 goals from 26 attempts, while Steph Wood and Caitlin Bassett also dominated the scoreboard, setting up the win in the first half of the match. For the Bajan Gems, Shonica Wharton impressed in the circle displaying her shooting range backing herself from long range with 20 goals from 24 attempts, while goal attack Sheniqua Thomas struggled to make an impact on the scoreboard with two goals for the match.

SRI LANKA (88) defeated SINGAPORE (50)

Sri Lanka stamped their authority on the game from the first whistle finding easy avenues to goal time and time again. Unfortunately, Singapore could not match Tharjini Sivalingam who was simply too tall to stop under the post. She recorded a competition high 76 goals from 78 attempts highlighting her sheer ability to win games off her own back. The 208cm shooter was a whopping 35cm taller than youngster Sindhu Nair who worked tirelessly all game to try and regain possession for Singapore and repel the ball, picking up one gain, one intercept and three deflections. In the last quarter Nair made her way to the bench allowing Joanna Toh to make her presence felt, picking up two gains, one intercept, one rebound and one deflection. Dulangi Wannithileka was pivotal through the midcourt providing plenty of ball into Sivalingam and driving hard to the top of the circle with 26 goal assists, while Hasitha Mendis also displayed her speed and skill around the circle edge with a game high 31 goal assists from 35 feeds. Although Singapore struggled to combat the commanding presence of Sivalingam they made the most of their opportunities under the post sitting at 81 per cent shooting accuracy. Kai Wei Toh topscored for Singapore with 16 goals while Charmaine Soh and Pei Shan Lee slotted 15 goals apiece sitting at 83 per cent.

JAMAICA (48) defeated by ENGLAND (56)
By: Sophie Taylor

It was the battle of World Ranked number two and three to start the afternoon session of Round 4, with England coming out on top for their fourth game on the trot. The victory relegated Jamaica to their second loss in a row, in danger of being kicked out in the preliminaries. Despite matching goal for goal in the second and final quarters, it was the third quarter where England really pulled away and capitalised with three goals from gains as well as 85 per cent of their centre passes – compared to Jamaica’s 57 per cent, shooting only 10 goals to England’s 16. It was a mostly defensive game, with both sides putting on a bucketload of pressure to produce turnover ball. Roses goal keeper Geva Mentor impressed down back, racking up two intercepts and four deflections, causing chaos in defence with Eboni Usoro-Brown in her 100th international cap. Captain, Serena Guthrie was phenomenal through the midcourt with 23 goal assists, two intercepts and nine deflections (three to advantage) while goalers, Helen Housby and Jo Harten, shared the load with 29 and 27 goals respectively at a combined 87 per cent. For the Sunshine Girls, Jhaniele Fowler shot at 100 per cent with 43 goals while Khadijah Williams had 26 assists from 39 feeds.

FIJI (54) defeated by SAMOA (55)
By: Sophie Taylor

It was a close affair when the two island nations met for the first time, with Samoa coming up with the narrowest of margins after being down by two at three quarter time. With seconds on the clock Fiji put in the hard yards to speed down the court and even up the ledger, sinking a goal that was rejected by the umpire for the one goal loss. A spectacular third quarter saw Fiji take the front for the first time in the match shooting 12 goals to seven before two multiple goal runs from Tee Salanoa (32 goals from 33 attempts at 97 per cent) and Toa Tanimo (nine from 10) got the ball rolling once more as Samoa stole back their early lead. Samoa goal keeper Lenora Misa was impressive with six gains and four intercepts while Ariana Luamanu in wing attack was solid, getting plenty of turnover ball back with two gains and two intercepts. For Fiji, Lydia Panapasa was a key target at the post with 42 goals from 44 attempts at 95 per cent, while goal attack Unaisi Rauluni scored 12 from 17 with 34 goal assists from 42 feeds. Defensively, Kelera Nawai and Dee Bolakoro combined for seven gains and six intercepts.

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO (54) defeated by UGANDA (57)
By: Sophie Taylor

Another tight match prevailed in stage two of the preliminaries, with Uganda narrowly beating Trinidad and Tobago by three goals despite a final quarter surge from the Calypso Girls. It was a relatively even affair, with Trinidad and Tobago coming out on top at the end of the first quarter before Uganda bit back with 31 goals to 24 in the following two quarters to lead by five at the final change. It was Uganda’s cleanliness that got them home in what was an even match across the board, with no stats from either side speaking for the win apart from the penalty count – 42 to Uganda and a whopping 73 to Trinidad and Tobago. Uganda made a host of changes throughout the match, with every player taking the court and proving difficult for Trinidad and Tobago to settle with each quarter. A host of goalers made their way through the circle for Uganda, with Stella Oyella (26 from 29) and Peace Proscovia (23 from 25) putting up much of the volume. For the Calypso Girls, Daystar Swift was impressive providing plenty of ball back to attack with her four gains while Sam Wallace (38 from 41) and Kalifa McCollin (16 from 16) combined well at the post at a combined 95 per cent.

SOUTH AFRICA (66) defeated SCOTLAND (38)
By: Sophie Taylor

South Africa had their closest match of the series so far when they took on a competitive Scotland side, but still came out on top by 28 after an impressive 17 goal to six final quarter. The usual suspects in Lenize Potgieter (30 from 30) and Sigi Burger (26 from 29) were impressive at the post, spending a half each in goal shooter and aided with ease by their fellow goalers and midcourters who shared the load around the ring with a combined 63 assists. Karla Pretorius and Zanele Vimbela starred as usual in defence, combining for 12 gains and five intercepts. Despite the loss the Thistles showed some good patches, also sharing the load around with every player taking the court in an attempt to stop the Proteas. Bethan Goodwin top scored for Scotland with 18 goals from 24 in her three quarters, with Emma Barrie, Lynsey Gallagher and Niamh McCall combining for the remaining 20 goals at 71 per cent accuracy. Captain, Claire Maxwell was prolific taking the court for her 100th cap and finishing the match as the only player on court for the full 60 minutes, with 22 goal assists from 42 feeds. Defensively, Emily Nicholl and Hayley Mulheron impressed with four and three gains respectively.

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