Sunshine Girls make history as Wales, Proteas win

IT WAS a jam-packed day of netball at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, with three matches played to complete the Pool stage of the event. By far the biggest result was the unbelievable performance of Jamaica who made history by defeating Australia for the first time at a Commonwealth Games, coming from the clouds to win by two goals. In other results, Wales got the better of Barbados in the Bajan Gems’ most competitive effort yet, while South Africa took care of Scotland.

AUSTRALIA 14 | 16 | 16 | 9 (55)
JAMAICA 13 | 16 | 11 | 17 (57)

Jamaica has come from six goals down at the last break to stun Australia and defeat the world number ones for the first time in a Commonwealth Games match. The Sunshine Girls looked in trouble after Australia scored 16 goals to 11 in the third term to go 46- 40 up at the last change, but a dominant 17-9 final term proved crucial for Jamaica to come over the top of the Aussies and record a 57-55 victory. Beside for four-minute patches where Sarah Klau and Sunday Aryang featured, the Aussies kept their starting seven intact, with Jamaica only making the one change at wing attack between Khadijah Williams and Adean Thomas in the third term.

Though the Aussie defenders know better than most Jamaican captain Jhaniele Fowler‘s capabilities, the Sunshine Girls shooter put up 47 goals from 50 attempts against West Coast Fever teammate Courtney Bruce. Shanice Beckford scored 10 goals at 100 per cent and had 18 goal assists from 20 feeds, while Nicole Dixon-Rochester had 23 from 34 playing in centre. In defence, the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) combination of Shamera Sterling (four gains, one intercept, four deflections and two rebounds) and Jodi-Ann Ward (five gains, two intercepts and four deflections) was particularly impressive.

For Australia, Gretel Bueta scored 36 goals from 39 attempts, as her partner-in-crime Steph Wood put up 19 from 22 and had 15 goal assists from 18 feeds, as well as a gain. Diamonds captain Liz Watson had 26 goal assists from 42 feeds, but also five deflections working hard in wing attack with fellow Melbourne Vixens midcourter Kate Moloney (11 goal assists from 22 feeds and one gain). In defence, Bruce (two gains, one intercept and four deflections did her best against Fowler, while Jo Weston had two gains and one intercept in the loss.

Bethan Dyke was again sensational for Wales, who defeated Barbados in the final Pool A match | Image credit: Getty Images

WALES 18 | 16 | 12 | 14 (60)
BARBADOS 10 | 13 | 10 | 11 (44)

In what was Barbados’ best performance of the tournament thus far, it would still not be enough to topple a Wales outfit that would earn a seventh placed playoff spot, defeating the Bajan Gems by 16 goals. Wales dominated early to race out to an eight-goal lead, then proceeded to win each quarter, but by no more than three goals as the Barbados defence did well to limit the damage and only go down 60-44.

Betsy Creak scored 30 goals from 33 attempts and had six goal assists from nine feeds, teaming up well with Georgia Rowe (21 goals from 24 attempts, two goal assists). In defence, the duo of Ella Powell-Davies (six gains, four intercepts, seven deflections and one rebound) and Nia Jones (three gains, two intercepts and one deflection) did well, with Clare Jones having an impact in a half with five gains, three intercepts and four deflections. Bethan Dyke (25 goal assists from 42 feeds, two gains and one intercept) was a key in midcourt.

Shonica Wharton finished with a team-high 21 goals from 27 attempts, and also had eight goal assists. Latonia Blackman (19 goals at 100 per cent accuracy, with 11 goal assists and one rebound) also impressed, as Brianna Holder topped the goal assists and feeds with 14 and 31 respectively. Tonisha Rock-Yaw worked hard in the centre bib to scramble for four gains and three intercepts in the loss.

South African shooter Ine-Mari Venter takes a shot with opponent Rachel Conway trying all she can to stop her | Image credit: via Scottish Thistles

SOUTH AFRICA 15 | 16 | 16 | 18 (65)
SCOTLAND 12 | 13 | 11 | 10 (46)

South Africa might have missed out on the semi-finals, but locked up a fifth placed playoff spot courtesy of a 19-goal win over Scotland. The SPAR Proteas had a fight on their hands early to only lead by three goals at quarter time and six goals at half-time, with the Thistles not willing to concede anything. It opened up more in the second half, with the SPAR Proteas scoring 34 goals to 21 and ending up running away with the 65-46 victory.

Ine-Mari Venter shot a massive 42 goals from 44 attempts, and had six goal assists in the process. Young gun Elmere van der Berg helped herself to 17 goals at 100 per cent efficiency, while Lefébre Rademan shot six from seven and managed 10 goal assists from 11 feeds. Captain Bongi Msomi was dominant feeding it into the circle, picking up 26 goal assists from 32 feeds, three gains and three intercepts, while Nicola Smith (seven gains, one intercept, seven deflections and three rebounds) and Phumza Maweni (eight gains, two intercepts, seven deflections and one rebound) paired well in defence.

Scotland had an ever spread of contributors across the board, with Bethan Goodwin top-scoring thanks to 21 goals from 25 attempts, four goal assists, one gain and one intercept. Niamh McCall played three quarters, scored 13 goals from 15 attempts, and had 14 goal assists from 18 feeds. Emma Barrie (12 goals from 14 attempts), Iona Christian (10 goal assists from 19 feeds and one deflection) and Rachel Conway (five gains, three intercepts and two deflections) also impressed in the defeat.

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