Wales claimed their first victory of the Netball World Cup 2023 (NWC2023), while there were comfortable wins for Malawi, defending champions New Zealand, and Australia on the third day of matches at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.
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Here is a short recap of the action we have seen so far today:
WALES 68 - 56 SRI LANKA
With both Wales and Sri Lanka chasing a first victory of the Netball World Cup 2023 in Cape Town, there was plenty to play for when the two sides went head-to-head in their final Group C clash on Sunday.
On the line was a place in the second stage of the preliminaries with only the top three teams in each pool progressing, and it was the Welsh Feathers who got the job done with a 68-56 victory.
While the Sri Lankans stayed within striking distance for much of the opening quarter, some great intercepts from the Welsh ensured they edged ahead, taking a six-goal advantage into the first break.
The tallest player in the tournament 2.06m Tharjini Sivalingam came on at goal shooter after the main break and made all the difference, with the Sri Lankans producing their highest-scoring quarter.
But, a 10-goal gap by the end of the period proved too much to close and with goal shooter Georgia Rowe completing a near-flawless performance in the Wales circle with 49 goals from 50 attempts, the Feathers wrapped up the crucial 68-56 victory.
AUSTRALIA 101 - 32 FIJI
With 18 places separating them in the latest World Netball World Rankings, a comprehensive victory for Australia (1) over Fiji (19) was all but guaranteed.
The world’s top-ranked team is yet to lose a quarter at the Netball World Cup 2023. This was the second 100-goal score of the NWC2023, Australia’s third in all Netball World Cups and the 15th overall in the history of the event.
Fiji got proceedings underway with Maliana Rusivakula landing the first shot, but It didn’t take long for Cara Koenen to return the favour at the other of the court for Australia.
Fiji, fresh off their upset win over Zimbabwe on Saturday, managed to hang on for the first five minutes of the game. Australia however found their rhythm and started building up a healthy lead.
The ease with which the Diamonds were moving led to attractive attacking play for which their opponents had no answer.
Fiji head coach Unaisi Rokoura, who played in the 1999 and 2003 World Cups, brought on Lydia Panapasa as goal shooter with Rusivakula moving to goal attack for the second quarter.
Josephine Nailumu (goal defence) and Ana Moi (wing defence) also took to court in an effort to stem the relentless Aussie attack. The Australian team remained unchanged.
Even though the possession was evenly distributed in the first half, with a superior goal shooting percentage, Australia had a firm grip on the game. They went into the break 46-18 in the lead.
When the third quarter started, it was a new-look Australian team who assumed position with Ash Brazill the only player yet to make an appearance in the game.
Goal shooter Sophie Garbin fired off three shots in quick succession, and another five soon after, to take the wind out of Fiji’s sails.
Australia racked up 26 points in the third quarter and followed it up with 29 in the final 15 minutes of the match, their highest over three days of play.
NEW ZEALAND 80 - 19 SINGAPORE
Defending champions New Zealand closed out their Group D matches with a comprehensive 80-19 victory over the lowest-ranked team in the tournament, Singapore.
Having beaten the same opposition by 68 goals at the last Netball World Cup in Liverpool four years ago, few would have expected anything other than another win for the Silver Ferns when the two sides faced off again on Sunday.
While the Singapore side are speedy and produced a promising start, they were outgunned in all departments, scoring just seven goals in the first quarter and two in the second as New Zealand took firm control.
The Silver Ferns shooters had no mercy on Singapore goal keeper Jamie Lim on her 23rd birthday, racing to a 32-goal lead by halftime.
Once again, the Singaporeans’ inaccurate goal shooting cost them with neither shooter averaging over the 55 per cent mark.
While New Zealand had little trouble in sailing to the 80-19 victory of some concern will be the condition of goal shooter Grace Nweke who appeared to limp off the court in the third quarter and was seen icing her knee on the sidelines.
MALAWI 84-48 BARBADOS
Powered on by the singing and dancing of the Malawi fans in the stands, the Malawi Queens secured their second victory of the Netball World Cup 2023 in Cape Town when they beat Barbados 84-48 on Sunday.
The match marked Malawi’s 50th appearance in the Netball World Cup since their debut in 1995.
It has been a challenging tournament for Barbados as they suffered their third consecutive loss.
Right from the opening whistle, Malawi took control of the game, showcasing strategic play that left Barbados struggling to keep up.
The Queens’ skilful passing and rock-solid defence made it difficult for the Bajan Gems to find their own attacking rhythm.
At the start of the second quarter, with Thandie Galetta replacing Jane Chimaliro at wing attack, the African team extended their lead even further.
The next 15-minutes saw Barbados facing relentless pressure, with Malawi’s defenders making incredible interceptions and thwarting their opponents’ progress. By halftime, Malawi held a commanding 43-22 lead.
The Bajan Gems made a determined effort at the beginning of the second half, with Kadeen Corbin scoring the first goal and expressing their intent to narrow the gap.
However, Malawi’s experienced defenders, Towera Vinkhumbo and Jane Dambo, stood firm and they turned Barbados’ possession into scoring opportunities of their own.
In the third quarter, Malawi surged ahead with a dominant centre-court attack that left Barbados searching for answers.
The last 15-minutes were no different with the Queens continuing to dominate, controlling the pace and leaving no room for Barbados to stage a comeback.