Hosts South Africa were handed their first loss of the Netball World Cup 2023 in Cape Town on Sunday, as Jamaica secured top spot in Group C. England topped Group B with victory over Scotland while Uganda and Tonga also recorded victories.
To find out where you can watch all the matches live and on demand from the NWC2023, click here.
Here is a short recap of the action we have seen so far today:
ENGLAND 62 - 37 SCOTLAND
Group B leaders England took on Scotland for the 10th
time at a Netball World Cup on Sunday afternoon in Cape Town and comfortably made it a perfect 10 out of 10 against the Thistles.
Coming off a good win against Barbados a day earlier, the Scots headed into the clash against a side ranked seven places above them full of fire. They managed to inch ahead at the start and were 3-4 up at one point, but a run of six unanswered goals from England saw the Roses levelling matters and then surging ahead. They took that five-goal lead into the first break.
England’s Olivia Tchine and Helen Housby effectively built on that lead in the second quarter as Scotland squandered several opportunities through basic errors.
The third quarter was a good one for Scotland with several
promising passages of play as they enjoyed more ball and put the English under a little more pressure.
But ultimately, although England’s scoring rate wasn’t as high as in their previous matches, they remained in control of proceedings and passed a memorable milestone in the third quarter, Tchine slotting in England’s 8000th goal in Netball World Cup history.
Their 62-37 victory saw England through to the second preliminary stage at the top of Group B with Scotland also progressing as the third-placed side in the group.
UGANDA 74 - 33 TRINIDAD & TOBAGO
It may not have been as clinical as they wanted it to be, but Uganda nevertheless outclassed Trinidad & Tobago 74-33.
The Ugandans started Sunday’s match without shooter Mary Cholhok, at 2.01 metres the second tallest player in Cape Town, instead opting for Christine Namulumba and Irene Eyaru in the circle. Cholhok recently was the leading goal scorer in the UK Netball Super League, scoring 908 goals at an average of 50 per match.
Trinidad and Tobago got the scoreboard going, pouncing on a few loose balls from Uganda and they managed to grab an early lead within the opening minutes. Sloppy work in midcourt by the Calypso Girls, however, saw the She Cranes getting on track to equalise and then build some breathing space. They held a narrow three-point lead after the first quarter.
Cholhok moved in under the pole for the second quarter while Shaffie Nalwanja (wing defence) switched places with Christine Nakitto (goal defence). Cholhok teaming up with Eyaru proved to be the right decision as both made sure of their shots to put points on the board and put Uganda 33-18 in the lead at halftime.
Initially it looked like Uganda was slowing down the pace of play considerably at the start of the third quarter, however, the all-important third quarter turned out to be the She Cranes’ highest scoring one with 21 goals scored.
In the last 15 minutes Uganda simply drove it home with clinical precision. They did the basics well and moved the ball down court with ease as Trinidad and Tobago ran out of gas.
JAMAICA 67 - 49 SOUTH AFRICA
In the most hotly anticipated showdown of the first stage of preliminary matches, hosts South Africa faced off against Commonwealth Games silver medallists Jamaica to determine which side would top Group C.
In a surprise move, South Africa’s Lenize Potgieter was included in the starting seven, taking to the court for the first time in the tournament.
The Sunshine Girls edged ahead in the opening minutes before the Proteas levelled at 8-all and then took the lead for the first time soon after. But some silly errors from the home side proved expensive and the Jamaicans capitalised to take a four-goal lead into the first break.
The Sunshine Girls then began to dominate in the second quarter, easily finding goal shooter Jhaniele Fowler in the circle and the Proteas soon found themselves eight goals down at halftime.
The error count continued to rise for the South Africans in a disastrous third quarter, allowing the Jamaicans to take an even firmer grip on the game. The Sunshine Girls defence was particularly effective in preventing the South African shooters from getting any ball in the circle and with five minutes remaining in the quarter, the South Africans had scored just one goal. The damaging third period for the hosts finished 20-3 in favour of the Caribbean nation.
Ine-Mari Venter was brought on to replace Potgieter at goal shooter for the final quarter and Shadine van der Merwe at wing defence while captain Bongi Msomi returned to centre. It was a better 15 minutes from the South Africans, who actually won the quarter by five goals, but that did little to dent the massive gap that the rampant Jamaicans had built by then.
TONGA 55 - 46 ZIMBABWE
Not even a passionate group of Zimbabwean fans staying on their feet, singing and dancing throughout the match could prevent the Gems from suffering a 54-46 loss against Tonga.
For the African team it was their third successive defeat while Tonga added Sunday’s win to their victory over Fiji on the opening day of the tournament. They lost to Australia on Saturday.
Zimbabwe initially created brilliant attacking moves with the ball landing in the circle regularly and with shooters Sharon Bwanali and Tafadzwa Matura scoring at 100%. The Gems’ sharp passing put added pressure on the Tongan defence and they took an early lead. However, the Talas then started dishing out some of the same medicine and ended the first quarter three goals ahead.
The next 15 minutes saw the momentum stay with Tonga as defenders Mo’onia Gerrard and Kelea Iongi made it difficult for the Zimbabwean attacking players to create openings. Tonga’s mid-court players further took control of the game. The Gems did manage to pull it back somewhat in the last minutes before halftime, but Tonga went into the break still leading 27-24.
The second half of the match was a seesaw battle. The Gems continued applying pressure on Tonga as the Islanders were trying to move through the court and feed the ball into their goal circle. Tonga’s shooters however remained composed and made sure of the chances to score that did come their way.
As the final 15 minutes began, Zimbabwe found themselves trailing by nine goals. They tried to stage a comeback and cause a possible upset against a team ranked six places higher on the latest world rankings. The clock however was against them.