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The First Netball World Cup on African Soil Gets Underway

The Netball World Cup 2023 got underway this morning, Friday 28th July 2023, with defending Champions New Zealand and World Netball’s World Ranked number one side, Australia, amongst those to kick off their campaigns with victories. 

To find out where you can catch up on these matches, and watch the four matches still to come today, click here.

Here is what you have missed so far: 

 

NEW ZEALAND 76 - 27 TRINIDAD & TOBAGO

New Zealand’s Silver Ferns began their Netball World Cup title defence with a dominant display over Trinidad and Tobago at the Cape Town International Convention Centre in South Africa on Friday, claiming a 76-27 victory.

The Netball World Cup 2019 champions raced into a nine-goal lead before Joelisa Cooper could slot in Trinidad and Tobago’s first goal of the tournament.

With Grace Nweke notching up a flawless 100 per cent shooting record at the other end of the court in the first quarter, the Silver Ferns were 23-2 up by the first break.

They continued that momentum into the second quarter, Maia Wilson coming on for Nweke and continuing the 100 per cent scoring record.

But, Trinidad and Tobago managed to find their shooters in the circle with more regularity – wing attack Shantel Seemungal and later centre Alena Brooks working hard in midcourt – scoring nine goals of their own to take the score to 43-11 at half time.

It was an even better third quarter from the Caribbean nation as they began by matching New Zealand goal for goal for the first 10 minutes and enjoyed 57 per cent of the possession.

The Calypso Girls once again scored nine goals but restricted the Silver Ferns to just 15 as the Silver Ferns coach Noeline Taurua gave each of her players some court time.

Trinidad and Tobago continued their positive performance in the final period, but ultimately the defending champions wrapped up a resounding victory.

New Zealand’s South African-born defender Karin Burger was named Most Valuable Player.

TONGA 56 – 51 FIJI

A spirited Tonga, in only their second outing at the sport’s showpiece, beat Fiji 56-51 in a Group A encounter on day 1 of the Netball World Cup 2023 in Cape Town.

It was the first time these two island nations have met at the World Cup with Fiji participating for the 10th time.  

It was a tentative start by both teams. Fiji decided on an aerial game to counter the more physical play of Tonga. It mattered on the scoreboard, and they ended the first 15 minutes with a five-goal lead.  

At the start of the second quarter, Tonga managed to grab a few goals and scored the equaliser after five minutes.

When shooter Cathrine Tuivaiti came on court for Tonga in the third quarter, it was for the representation of her third country, having previously played for Samoa and New Zealand.

The Netball World Cup 2023 is her second one, after playing for Samoa at the 2007 tournament in Auckland. 

With the third quarter winding down, Tonga’s superior position on the World Netball World Rankings, 7th compared to Fiji’s 17th, enabled them to get a hold of the game.

Although Fiji’s goal circle was operating well, silly mistakes were starting to creep in, costing them dearly.  

The last 15 minutes of the match saw strong attacking play from Tonga, putting their opponents under constant pressure across the court. Accurate shooting by Tuivaiti and Uneeq Palavi ensured the win. 

AUSTRALIA 86-30 ZIMBABWE

World Netball World Ranked number one Australia completely outplayed Zimbabwe in their first match at the Netball World Cup 2023 in Cape Town, beating their African counterparts 86-30. This was just the second World Cup meeting between the two countries. Australia won the only other encounter 73-37 four years ago in Liverpool.

Both teams remained the same for the first half of the match, with coaches Stacey Marinkovich and Ropafadzo Mutsauki appearing to take a “wait and see” approach.

In the third quarter though, Marinkovich rung the changes, bringing on the remaining reserves and making several positional switches, including Ash Brazill moving from wing defence to centre and Jo Weston moving from centre to goal defence for Australia.

For Zimbabwe, captain Felisitus Kwangwa switched from goal defence to wing defence, Joice Takaidza from centre to goal defence and Sharleen Tanaka Makusha from wing defence to centre.

With Zimbabwe claiming 51 per cent of the possession during the first two quarters, the latter stages of the match saw the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games champions completely stamping their authority on proceedings.

The Aussies claimed 15 intercepts, considerably cutting down the passing options of Zimbabwe.

The Australian Diamonds won the fourth quarter 24-6, to take the match 86-30.

UGANDA 79-37 SINGAPORE

A first Netball World Cup 2023 clash between Uganda and Singapore saw the African nation dominating from start to finish and walking away with a 79-37 victory.

The She Cranes pulled away in the first quarter, enjoying 60 per cent of the possession in the period and surging ahead to a 22-9 lead.

It was more of the same in the second quarter as the Ugandans proved quicker and slicker on all fronts with Haniisha Muhameed and Shadiah Nassanga doing the business in the shooting circle.

The Ugandans stuck with their starting seven throughout the first half, coach Fred Mugerwa only making changes at half time.

He brought 6 foot 6 Mary Cholhok on as goal shooter, with captain Irene Eyaru in as goal attack among several other changes.

Cholhok is one of just two players in the Ugandan squad with Netball World Cup experience, having played at the previous tournament in 2019.

She played just one quarter on Friday, however, as Mugerwa continued to roll in the changes and give all his players valuable court time.

Ultimately it was a comfortable victory for the east Africans, much to the delight of their vocal supporters in the crowd.

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