Hosts South Africa claimed an emphatic victory over Sri Lanka while world No. 3 England had no trouble in getting past the Malawi Queens at the Netball World Cup 2023 in Cape Town on Saturday. In other matches, Scotland earned their first win of the tournament with victory over Barbados while Trinidad and Tobago did the same against Singapore.
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Here is a short recap:
SOUTH AFRICA 87 - 32 SRI LANKA
Taking to the court in brightly coloured Ndebele-inspired dresses with the stands in the Cape Town International Convention Centre packed with enthusiastically cheering local fans, South Africa crushed Sri Lanka 87-32 at the Netball World Cup 2023 on Saturday.
South Africa shut out any Sri Lankan playmaking from the get-go while stamping their authority on proceedings.
Sri Lanka could not score consecutive goals as especially Griesel managed to intercept numerous balls. Griesel, playing in her third Netball World Cup, had a solid game at centre, and the same went for Jeanté Strydom who made her Proteas debut against Wales. She deservedly walked away with the award for most valuable player. South Africa went into the halftime break 45-18 up.
Pretorius earned her 100th cap for South Africa when she came on in the third quarter, replacing Shadine van der Merwe at goal defence. Captain Bongi Msomi also got a well-deserved break with Chawane putting on the centre bib and Griesel moving to wing attack.
The Proteas piled even more pressure on Sri Lanka, adding 23 goals in the third quarter and stretching their lead to 44.
In the last 15 minutes, Ine-Marie Venter, the most valuable player against Wales, assumed the goal shooter position, earning her 50th cap while Phumza Maweni came off the bench to resume her defensive partnership with Pretorius.
With nine minutes to go, South Africa stretched their lead to 50 points for the first time. They then seemed to take their foot off the pedal somewhat with the victory secured and not wanting to risk serious injury ahead of what promises to be a pulsating affair against Jamaica on Day 3.
SCOTLAND 53 - 44 BARBADOS
Scotland and Barbados faced off at the Netball World Cup for a seventh time in the tournament’s history with both sides chasing their first win of the 2023 event in Cape Town. Their previous head-to-head record stood at 4-2 in favour of the Bajans but Scotland closed that gap with a 53-44 victory on Saturday.
While both teams struggled slightly to find their rhythm in the opening period, a run of five unanswered goals at the end of the quarter saw the Scots taking an 11-8 lead into the first break.
A slicker performance from the Bajan Gems with fewer errors meant they were able to level matters in the second quarter, however, with the teams all square on 23-all by halftime.
Just like they did in their game against England a day earlier, Barbados lost some focus in the third quarter, and Scotland took advantage – producing several solid periods of play to build up a five-goal lead.
With their noses in front and the prospect of a first victory of the tournament in sight, the Scots managed to extend that advantage in the final quarter to wrap up a 53-44 victory.
After notching up a 93.5 per cent shooting average, Scottish goal attack Niamh McCall was named Most Valuable Player.
ENGLAND 62 - 39 MALAWI
In the fifth meeting between England and Malawi at a World Cup, the Roses made it five out of five when they beat the Queens 62-39 in Cape Town.
Saturday’s match kicked off with England unable to convert their first centre pass, and Malawi capitalised on this opportunity, securing an early lead. A familiar face for fans of the Netball Super League in the UK was Malawi goal shooter Joyce Mvula who previously played for Manchester Thunder.
England seemed to be caught off guard by their opponents’ skilful play through the court, with the African side remaining within touching distance and finishing the first quarter only two goals behind.
In the next 15 minutes, however, mistakes began creeping into Malawi’s general play, granting the Roses some breathing space and relief. The score at halftime was 29-20 in favour of England.
As the second half got under way, it was clear England managed to overcome their rocky start to the match with a much-improved performance. Their defensive end found stability with the reliable combination of Geva Mentor and Layla Guscoth. The experience of these two players added a sense of assurance to their performance.
England pulled away in the third quarter, outscoring Malawi by 10 goals and at the same time not allowing their opponents to score more than twice in succession. The Queens regained some ground in the last 15 minutes, but a repeat of Friday’s comeback exploits against Scotland was not to be.
England goal shooter Helen Housby was awarded the Most Valuable Player for a good all-around performance in the circle. She landed all 17 of her shots at goal.
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO 49 - 36 SINGAPORE
Trinidad and Tobago raced into a seven-goal lead before Singapore could make any impression on the scoreboard in their Group D encounter as the Caribbean team headed into the first break 13-10 up.
Singapore’s scoring woes continued in the second quarter, but with Trinidad and Tobago also squandering several chances to find their shooters at the other end of the court, the match remained a tight one.
Evidence of this was the fact that just 17 goals were scored in total in the 15-minute period.
In the end, it was Trinidad and Tobago’s physicality and superior shooting accuracy that triumphed over Singapore’s speed. They started pulling away in the third quarter and extended their lead in the fourth to wrap up a 49-36 victory – their first of the Netball World Cup 2023.
That also saw the Calypso Girls extending their record of wins over Singapore at the Netball World Cup to six out of six.