The Netball World Cup 2019 Regional Qualifier – Oceania got underway in Auckland today with Samoa and the Cook Islands picking up victories.
Samoa 56 – 41 Tonga
You have to go back to Glasgow 1987 for the last time Samoa didn’t compete at a Netball World Cup (then World Netball Championships). They have been present at the last seven stagings of the event and they got their campaign for Liverpool 2019 underway to the perfect start with a win over Tonga.
Samoa came out the blocks flying, racing to a 17-9 lead at quarter time. They would continue to increase the deficit and led 33-19 at half time. Samoa saw out the victory for their first win of the competition.
Tonga have never qualified for a Netball World Cup and will play Fiji tomorrow. As for Samoa, they will play Papua New Guinea.
Papua New Guinea 51 – 54 Cook Islands
Day one came to a close in thrilling fashion with a close game between Papua New Guinea and the Cook Islands. The Cook Islands, who recently moved to 17th in the INF World Rankings, have not qualified for a Netball World Cup since 2007 where the competition took place in Auckland. It was in Auckland today that the Cook Islands got their qualifying route to Liverpool 2019 underway.
They were pushed all the way by PNG who only trailed by two at half time. The Cook Isalnds started to pull away in the third quarter and led by six going into the final stanza. PNG cut the deficit to three but ran out of time to complete the comeback.
The last time PNG were at a World Cup it was in Birmingham 1995, which was also the last time the World Cup was held in England. Will history repeat itself? PNG will have the opportunity to get their first win of the tournament tomorrow when they play Samoa, who already have one win to their name. Cook Islands will return to action on day three where they will plat Fiji.
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