Scotland shakes off Barbados for bounce-back win

AFTER a heartbreaking loss to Malawi the day before in the 2023 Netball World Cup, Scotland responded in the best way possible, defeating Barbados by nine goals in a hard-fought contest. The Thistles and Bajan Gems had a fantastic tussle throughout the first half, and it took until the second half for the higher ranked side to shake off its opponent and run out 53-44 winners.

Shooting machine Niamh McCall was awarded Player of the Match, shooting 29 goals from 31 attempts, and being a reliable source of scoring inside the circle Teaming up with both Emma Barrie (11 goals from 19 attempts) and Bethan Goodwin (13 from 19), McCall often backed herself in and she has shown she can shoot from any range.

Instead the feeding came from midcourter Iona Christian who dominated her one-on-one against the less experienced Teresa Howell. She had 23 goal assists – easily a game high – from 38 feeds, and only the three turnovers. That was symbolic of Scotland’s gameplay, with nine less turnovers and a greater goal from assist ratio than the Bajan Gems.

The match was not without its twists and turns though, as Barbados won the second the quarter, 15-12, as Christian had a rest. The Bajan Gems were also able to control possession for long periods of time, and were just unable to be as fluent on the offensive end. Still, the pairing of Latonia Blackman (20 goals from 22 attempts) and Kadeen Corbin (24 from 27) were both effective on goal.

Sasha Corbin (14 goal assists from 40 feeds) found it difficult to get through the fierce Scottish defence, as Barbados had to take its time around the circle. That was credit to the Scottish defence that included Hannah Leighton, Emily Nicholl, Claire Maxwell and Rachel Conway, while Cerys Finn came on to replace Conway and did well in the second half. For Barbados, Faye Agard tried hard in goal keeper with four gains, three rebounds and one deflection.

England (62) defeated Malawi (39)

England’s quest to top the group all but got confirmed after a 23-goal win over Malawi. The Roses did not have it all their own way early, and were challenged at times by the Queens, but ultimately the full court experience of the title contender was the difference in the 62-39 result.

Helen Housby won Player of the Match for an elite shooting performance, nailing all 17 attempts, while having 17 goal assists from 18 feeds and one intercept. She teamed up well with Natalie Metcalf (16 goal assists) who also spent time in goal attack shooting two goals, while Eleanor Cardwell (31 goals from 34 attempts) and Funmi Fadoju (two intercepts) were strong up respective ends of the court. For Malawi, Joyce Mvula (19 goals from 23 attempts) and Takondwa Lwazi (15 goal assists) both did their best.

Trinidad & Tobago (49) defeated Singapore (36)

Trinidad & Tobago got the job done, but were far from convincing against Singapore, in a 13-goal result. The Calypso Girls only led by three goals at quarter time, lost the second term and had a four-goal buffer at the final break in what genuinely looked like Singapore might break through for a World Cup win. Luckily for the one-time champion, Trinidad & Tobago scored 15 goals to six in the final term to run away with the 49-36 victory.

Afeisha Noel was the difference in goal shooter, putting up 38 goals from 44 attempts, including 10 goals from 12 attempts in that crucial last 15 minutes. Shantel Seemungal (11 goal assists, one intercept) and Shaquanda Greene-Noel were among the other better standouts. Singapore took away plenty from the performance with Amandeep Chahal (23 goals from 31 attempts) and Aqilah Andin (one intercept and only five penalties) both holding their own.

South Africa (87) defeated Sri Lanka (32)

The sole one-sided smashing was to be expected as top five nation South Africa made light work of Sri Lanka. The Proteas kept their opponents to single-digit goals each quarter, while piling on 20-plus goals themselves in a massive 55-goal victory.

Jeante Strydom won Player of the Match, pulling in a ridiculous six intercepts, working well with Shadine Van der Merwe (five) and Karla Pretorius (three) to thwart Sri Lankan attacks. In the goal circle, it was Elmere van der Berg (50 goals from 57 attempts) who was phenomenal, while Nichole Taljaard (24 from 27) also had a good day out. For Sri Lanka, Thishala Algama (24 goals from 28 attempts) was the most potent shooter, while Gayanjali Amarawansa had 11 goal assists and an assist.

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