Scotland secures first win as Proteas bounce back

SOUTH Africa is set to secure third spot in Pool A after defeating the fourth placed Wales by 18 goals at the 2022 Commonwealth Games netball overnight, while Scotland won its first match over Barbados to avoid bottom in the Pool. Though the semi-finalists are decided in Australia and Jamaica, it gave the lower ranked Pool A sides a chance to gain confidence.

SOUTH AFRICA 12 | 19 | 22 | 16 (69)
WALES 12 | 9 | 11 | 19 (51)

South Africa shook off an early challenge from Wales to dominate the next two quarters and set up a memorable 18-goal victory. The SPAR Proteas were tipped to win the contest fairly well, but Wales – who had impressed throughout the tournament with a victory against rivals Scotland – took it right up to the world number fives, going head-to-head and scoring 12 goals a piece in the opening term. That all changed in the middle two quarters, with South Africa piling on 41 goals to 20 and opening up a match-winning 21-goal lead.

To Wales’ credit, it outscored the SPAR Proteas in the final term, 19-16 to bring it back to 18 goals, and though it was not enough, it certainly showed they the nation can take it up to the bigger ones within patches, and it is about getting more consistency. Wales even had more interceptions (5-1), though South Africa was able to earn more deflections (16-3), and made the most of their possessions, spending two less minutes with the ball, but still had nine more shots. They shot at a far higher rate, nailing 69 goals from 76 attempts (91 per cent) compared to Wales’ 51 from 67 (76 per cent).

Interestingly, young gun Elmere van der Berg‘s performances earned her the starting goal attack bib over Lefébre Rademan, who would come on for the last quarter in wing attack. Van der Berg scored 35 goals from 39 attempts, as well as seven goal assists from nine feeds, one deflection, one gain, one intercept and two rebounds. Ine-Mari Venter shot 33 goals from 36 attempts, with seven goal assists ad three rebounds. Captain Bongi Msomi (22 goal assists from 25 feeds, one gain and one deflection) set up scoring chances as did Khanyisa Chawane who rotated from starting wing defence into centre, having 14 goal assists from 19 feeds. In defence, Nicola Smith had six gains, three deflections and four rebounds.

For Wales, the shooting combination did well again with Georgia Rowe scoring 21 goals from 25 attempts in just under three quarters, while Betsy Creak was inaccurate compared to her compatriot, putting up 26 goals from 37 attempts, but having eight goal assists from 10 feeds. Bethan Dyke lead the way with 20 goal assists from 42 feeds in wing attack, while Nia Jones was outstanding in wing defence with three gains, three intercepts and a deflection in wing defence.

Scotland celebrates its first win of the Commonwealth Games over Barbados | Image credit: via Scottish Thistles

SCOTLAND 18 | 24 | 12 | 18 (72)
BARBADOS 4 | 7 | 9 | 8 (28)

There were no surprises during Scotland’s big win over Barbados, running out 44-goal victors against the Bajan Gems. The Thistles were familiar with Barbados’ playing style and lineup, having beaten them in a series last December at home. Scotland was able to control proceedings for the majority of the match, but wholesale chances in the third term caused the Thistles to look a bit more shaky and only outscore the Bajan Gems by three goals, before going on with it to record a massive 72-28 win.

Scotland raced out of the blocks to pile on 18 goals to four in the opening term and the danger signs were there for the Bajan Gems. That form continued into the second quarter with Scotland outscoring Barbados 24-7, and suddenly the lead was out to 31 goals at the main break. At half-time, Scotland opted to rest captain Claire Maxwell and goal keeper Lauren Tait bringing on Sarah Macphail and Rachel Conway, while Bethan Goodwin was replaced by Emma Barrie in the shooting circle. In the midcourt, Hannah Leighton and Iona Christian had a rest to allow Emma Love and Kelly Boyle to get their chances. That shook up the cohesion as Barbados took it up to Scotland, only dropping the quarter by three goals.

Barbados also made changes with Sabreena Smith coming on at half-time and goal shooter Shonica Wharton coming off halfway through the second term. Faye Agard had to step up, which she did shooting 19 goals from 23 attempts for the match in 41 minutes on court, with Wharton (five from eight) and Brianna Holder (four from six). The Bajan Gems had no answers for the likes of Goodwin (30 goals from 34 attempts), Niamh McCall (22 from 25) and Emma Barrie (20 from 25) who had days out.

Scotland also have five players with double-figure goal assists, as Leighton (15), Christian (15) and Love (12) lead the way. In defence, Emily Nicholl picked up five gains, four intercepts, two deflections and one rebound in 45 minutes on court, while Conway had the four gains and two intercepts. For Barbados, Shonette Azore-Bruce tried hard in goal keeper, with the Bajan Gems skipper managing eight gains, seven deflections, one intercept and five rebounds in a tireless performance, while Akeena Stoute picked up three gains, two intercepts, three deflections and one rebound in goal defence. Latonia Blackman (11 goal assists from 14 feeds) was the prominent midcourter.

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