Fiji pulled off an upset victory in their must-win match against Zimbabwe, whilst three of the tournament favourites, Australia, New Zealand and Jamaica, all recorded victories on the second day of action at the Netball World Cup 2023 in Cape Town – albeit not without some tough competition from their gutsy opponents.
To find out where you can catch up on today’s first four matches, and watch the next four, click here.
Here is a short recap of what the Netball Family have been treated to so far:
ZIMBABWE 48 - 52 FIJI
Both Zimbabwe and Fiji were hungry for their first wins of the tournament after suffering opening day losses at the hands of Australia and Tonga respectively.
Playing against each other for the first time at a Netball World Cup, it was a tightly contested opening quarter.
A run of five unanswered goals saw Zimbabwe pulling ahead at one point but the Fiji Pearls came back at them, making use of the short pass to eventually level matters at 11-11.
By the first break, Zimbabwe had just edged ahead by two goals.
The second quarter was once again a neck-to-neck affair, with Fiji levelling matters five minutes in and then taking a one-goal lead into the halftime break.
Fiji notched up another impressive scoring run towards the end of the third quarter to surge nine goals ahead at one point and didn’t look back from there.
The Pearls opened their gap to 10 goals at one point, and while the Zimbabwe Gems did rally in the final quarter, winning it 13-9, it was not enough to avoid the upset loss.
NEW ZEALAND 54 - UGANDA 44
World champions New Zealand survived a scare from Uganda, as they recorded a 54-44 victory – their second win at the Netball World Cup 2023 in Cape Town.
The Silver Ferns have now won all four of their Netball World Cup encounters against the She Cranes.
New Zealand were pushed to their limit in the first two quarters by their African opponents.
Centre Margret Baagala worked hard in mid-court to move the ball through to the Ugandan goal circle, providing enough good scoring opportunities for goal shooter Mary Cholhok.
The Silver Ferns however were not to be outdone, with Grace Nweke standing tall in the circle on the other end of the court, making sure she landed her shots.
New Zealand went into halftime with a four-point lead, despite only having a third of the possession.
It was their superior goal shooting, 92.3 per cent compared to Uganda’s 83.3 per cent, that gave them the edge.
In the third quarter, Silver Ferns coach Noeline Taurua brought on the experience of Jane Watson, Gina Crampton and Te Paea Selby-Rickit to prevent the first upset of the Netball World Cup.
Watson and South African-born Karin Burger proved a lethal combination on defence, starving the She Cranes of crucial ball in their attempt to close the growing gap on the scoreboard.
Even though it was goal-for-goal scoring in the last five minutes of the match, the world champions outmuscled the She Cranes for a vital victory.
AUSTRALIA 84 - 38 TONGA
Boosted by their hard-fought victory over Fiji on the opening day of the tournament, the ever-improving Tonga team came out firing against 11-time Netball World Cup champions Australia in their Group A clash in Cape Town on Saturday.
The Tongan Tala used their physicality to exert a good deal of pressure on the Diamonds, also matching their speed to ensure it was a tight first 15 minutes.
Taking on a team playing in just their second Netball World Cup and ranked six places below them in the world, the Australians would most probably have expected to be further ahead than 15-13 at the first break, but it was an impressive opening period for the Tongan Tala.
Aussie coach Stacey Marinkovich stuck with her starting seven in the second quarter and a 10-goal blitz at the start of the period saw the Diamonds pulling well ahead as normal order was restored.
Goal attack Steph Wood came on in the third quarter, earning a 50th cap for the Australians, as Paige Hadley (WA), Jo Weston (GD), Sophie Garbin (GS) and Sunday Aryang (WD) also came off the bench.
As the game progressed, the Tongans seemed to run out of steam and their early intensity dissipated.
The Tala faced a 35-goal deficit by the final break and the Australians continued to dominate to wrap up an emphatic 84-38 win.
JAMAICA 75 - 40 WALES
Jamaica scored yet another big victory at the Netball World Cup 2023 when they beat Wales 75-40 in Cape Town.
This came after the Sunshine Girls crossed the 100-mark against Sri Lanka just the day before. Their 105 goal scoring tally, was the highest of day 1, while their winning margin (80) was the largest.
There are five positions between Jamaica (4) and Wales (9) on the latest World Netball World Rankings, and it clearly showed as the Sunshine Girls dominated all four quarters of the match.
Jamaica’s combination of sharp attacking play and solid defence proved too formidable for their opponents.
The victory showcased Jamaica’s skill, teamwork and strategic execution.
Shooters Romelda Aiken-George, Rebekah Robinson and captain Jhaniele Fowler displayed remarkable accuracy, converting more than 90 per cent of their chances.
However, the Wales shooters also had something to celebrate as their 31st goals was Wales 5,000th Netball World Cup goal since 1963.