AFTER first-up losses the day before, South Africa and Wales picked up their first wins of the 2022 Commonwealth Games with respective victories over Barbados and Scotland.
SOUTH AFRICA 23 | 20 | 23 | 25 (91)
BARBADOS 9 | 9 | 9 | 9 (36)
South Africa bounced back from a first-up loss to Jamaica in Pool A to return with a triumphant 55-goal win over Barbados. It was no surprise to see the SPAR Proteas get up by the margin, but most importantly gain a bit of confidence and consistency, scoring 20-plus goals in each quarter, and restricting the Bajan Gems to just nine goals a term on the South African’s way to running out 91-36 winners.
Starting off with the combination of Ine-Mari Venter and Lefébre Rademan again, the South Africans were able to pile on 18 goals to five in the first 10 minutes of the match, before a couple of changes – that included bringing on Brianna Holder and Faye Agard helped Barbados score three of the last seven goals to show some fight towards the end of the first term. Latonia Blackman and Shonica Wharton were trying hard in the Bajan Gems’ shooting circle, while rising talent Emere van der Berg came on for Venter and immediately had an impact. Though the second term was the closest of the lost, the SPAR Proteas still opened up a 25-goal lead at half-time, 43-18.
There was no turning back from there, as the favourites tried out different combinations, resting others such as Rademan and Phumza Maweni, while giving the likes of Tshina Mdau and Nichole Taljaard opportunities. With a 39-goal lead established by the final break, there was little doubt who the winner would be, as Khanyisa Chawane rolled back into centre after a quarter in wing attack, for Rademan to try out that position with the inexperienced shooting duo of van der Berg and Taljaard in the final 15 minutes. That did not impact the SPAR Proteas who still won the quarter 25-9 and came away with the 91-36 victory.
The shooters were superb for South Africa, with van der Berg piling on 45 goals from 47 attempts in just three quarters, with Taljaard (18 from 20), Rademan (12 from 16) and Venter (14 from 16 in a quarter). Chawayne managed the 33 goal assists from 41 attempts, while Izette Griesel had 27 from 38. In defence, Maweni (four gains, two intercepts and four deflections) worked well with Nicola Smith (eight gains, four intercepts, four deflections and two rebounds), while Mdau (four gains, three intercepts and four deflections shone throughout three quarters.
Blackman scored 21 goals from 24 attempts in the loss, with Wharton putting up 15 from 21 in a consistent goaler duo. Holder (13 goal assists from 30 feeds tried hard, with the versatile Tonisha Rock-Yaw having eight goal assists from 10 feeds in centre, then going back to play goal keeper in the final term. Akeena Stoute could also hold her head high from goal defence, with two gains, two intercepts and one deflection trying hard all game.
SCOTLAND 7 | 8 | 13 | 14 (42)
WALES 12 | 14 | 15 | 7 (48)
Wales survived an almighty comeback from its British rivals Scotland, holding off a fourth term surge to win by six goals and pick up its first win of the Commonwealth Games. The Welsh side had the Thistles measure throughout most of the contest, winning the first term 12-7 and then the second lead by 26-15. It was in the second half where the Thistles started to pick up, though still losing the third quarter, showed much more fight on the offensive end, and matched it with their opponents to be 13 goals down at the last change. A stunning 14-7 final term saw what Scotland is capable of, it was just a case of too little, too late as Wales ran out 48-42 winners.
The last quarter was particularly a highlight for the Thistles, scoring eight of the first nine goals to claw the deficit back to six with still nine minutes left on the clock. All of a sudden Scotland fans were beginning to believe, though Betsy Creak was putting up stiff opposition for Wales against a taller goaler combination of Emma Barrie and Bethan Goodwin. Some crucial misses to the Thistles opened the door for the Welsh side, with Creak and Georgia Rowe extending it back out to nine goals and chewing some important time on the clock. With three minutes left, it seemed the time had run out, and even five of the last seven goals would not be enough and Wales secured the six-goal victory.
Wales was more consistent throughout the contest, credit to Rowe’s shooting prowess of 36 goals from 38 attempts, while Creak had 12 from 16. Remarkably, Wales did not make a chance from the starting seven, keeping the same players out on court fo the full 60 minutes, which might have explained some tiring in the last. Bethan Dyke (17 goal assists from 26 feeds) lead the way from the midcourt, while Welsh games record holder Suzy Drane manage the 14 goal assists from 19 feeds. In defence, Christina Shaw had eight gains, five deflections. one intercept and two rebounds, while Ella Powell-Davies worked hard for two gains, one intercept and four deflections.
For Scotland, shooting accuracy was an issue, with the normally reliable Niamh McCall down at 54 per cent (seven from 13), while Goodwin (20 from 27) and Barrie (15 from 22) both stepped up in the final 15 minutes. Emily Nicholl was again a standout in defence, racking up two gains, one intercept and four deflections, while captain Claire Maxwell had two gains, one intercept and two deflections. Iona Christian was the clear dominant midcourter, picking up 16 goal assists from 34 feeds and also had three deflections and a gain.
Tomorrow in Pool A, both games are in the earlier session, which sees Australia and Jamaica face off against South Africa and Barbados respectively.