Uganda claims series win over Wales

UGANDA has gone back-to-back over Wales in a two-test series series, winning by 18 goals in the second match yesterday. The She Cranes were on from the get-go – after having a slow start against the Feathers in game one – and piled on 15 goals to eight to set up the win off the back of that first quarter. To Wales’ credit, the Feathers ensured it was a competitive match from that point on, but rotated younger players and eventually went down by 18 goals, 64-46.

WALES 8 | 15 | 11 | 12 (46)
UGANDA  15 | 14 | 18 | 17 (64)

In an entertaining end-to-end game, the She Cranes utilised the success of Peace Proscovia in defence once again, matching up against Georgia Rowe and causing her issues early. Up the other end, Mary Cholhok was the centre piece of the Ugandan attack up until she hurt her ankle with just 41 seconds left in the first term. By that stage the visitors were well in control, with Shadiah Nassanga providing great feeds to Cholhok, while Margret Baagala was aggressive in the midcourt, and Proscovia was forcing intercept in defence.

Cholhok missed the entire second term with Muhameed Hanisha replacing her, and while she was still able to provide a target, it was Nassanga who stepped up and started to take the lion’s share of the shooting load. Nia Jones was attacking well for the Welsh, teaming up well with fellow co-captain Suzy Drane in the midcourt to get Wales back into the contest. Drane’s feeds into the circle for Rowe and Phillipa Yarranton – who won player of the match in the first game – were delightful.

In the last couple of minutes, Wales made a surprise change with Christina Shaw coming to the bench, replaced by Lucy Howells. The Feathers had done well in the term, with Shaw and Ella Powell-Davies applying good pressure to a different-looking She Cranes attack to win the second term 15-14. Uganda still held the advantage by six goals at the main break however, and Cholhok returned to the court for the second half.

The consistency of Cholhok proved too much, and for the second half of the third term, and then the final quarter, it was more about gaining players court time for the Feathers. Baagala and Nassanga were running hot, and the unsurprisingly change – which has occurred in many recent international matches – saw Clare Jones coming on for Drane. The difference in the sides was the patience shown by Uganda, particularly getting it to the second phase, before going quickly into the circle.

With 50 seconds on the clock in the third term, Wales brought on youngster Sarie Watkins from the Team Bath NPL program and she looked impressive against the experienced Proscovia. Shorter than Rowe, her speed and smarts were on show, scoring a couple of goals in the final minute, then playing out the last quarter. The moves were ultimately not going to matter in the end with Uganda firmly in control, but the Feathers brought on Shona O’Dwyer for Bethan Dyke at wing attack, as well as Rowe and Shaw rotating for Yarranton and Powell-Davies.

Watkins was a massive plus to take out of the game for Wales, as the Feathers were convincingly beaten in the second half, as the Ugandans scored 35-23 to run away with the win, 64-46. It was an important win for the visitors, who backed up their second placed finish at the recent African World Cup Qualifiers. Wales will now attempt to get back into the World Cup when the European World Cup Qualifiers take place from October 12. Uganda will next face England, continuing the She Cranes’ tour of the United Kingdom.

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