Home side South Africa bounced back from their loss to Jamaica a night earlier to get the better of Trinidad and Tobago while Jamaica and England had no trouble maintaining their unbeaten records.
Singapore and Barbados also claimed their first victories on the first day of second-stage preliminaries at the Netball World Cup 2023 in Cape Town on Monday.
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Here is a short recap of the action we have seen so far today:
SOUTH AFRICA 69 - 28 TRINIDAD & TOBAGO
After Sunday’s loss to Jamaica, South Africa headed into their first Pool G match against Trinidad & Tobago having received another devastating blow to their hopes of contesting for a medal at the Netball World Cup 2023 in front of their home crowd.
Plummer stuck with the same seven for the first two quarters as the Proteas took a commanding 33-15 lead by halftime.
Coming back for the third quarter, Nichole Taljaard moved from goal attack to goal shooter while Elmeré van der Berg came on as goal attack.
With seven minutes to go, Ngubane earned only her second cap for South Africa when she replaced Taljaard. She scored her first goal at a World Cup within the last 30 seconds of the match.
This was South Africa’s seventh win over Trinidad and Tobago in eight encounters at the World Cup.
TONGA 46 - 72 ENGLAND
World Netball World Ranked No. 3 England took on the ever-improving Tonga for the first time at a Netball World Cup in their first match of the second stage preliminaries on Sunday and came away with a 72-46 victory.
Like they did against Australia last week, the Tongans provided a stiff test for their more fancied opponents in the opening quarter. While England headed into the first break 19-13 up, it was far from a comfortable lead.
England coach Jess Thirlby continued to switch things up by swapping Helen Housby and Eleanor Cardwell at goal attack and goal shooter at the start of the second quarter while the only change from Tonga was Mo’onia Gerrard (who played 68 Tests for the Australian Diamonds) and Lelea Iongi also switching positions – at goal keeper and goal defence. Midway through the period, Cat Tuivaiti was brought on as goal shooter but was only afforded one opportunity to score, Tonga being restricted to just nine goals in the 15-minute period.
While things were fairly even in the first quarter, England did an even better job of winning and holding onto their ball in the second, enjoying 62 per cent of the possession and surging ahead to reach halftime 38-22 ahead.
The Tongans were understandably smiling when they came off court after the third quarter. It was one in which they found their rhythm, showing more confidence, notching up four intercepts to England’s one, and almost matching the Roses goal-for-goal. The difference between the sides in the quarter score was just two goals.
A slick-looking England showed superior intensity and speed in the final period, however, and were able to pull away even further to wrap up a 72-46 victory.
JAMAICA 61 - 49 UGANDA
With shouts of “defence, defence” from the Jamaican fans in the stands whenever Uganda had the ball, the Sunshine Girls carved out a crucial victory over the She Cranes in a Pool G match in Cape Town on Monday.
Jamaica goalkeeper Shamera Sterling and goal defence Latanya Wilson stuck like glue to She Cranes shooters Mary Cholhok and Irene Eyaru in the first 15 minutes of the match.
Uganda enjoyed most of the possession at the start of the game. The normally reliable Cholhok however missed four of her 11 shots at goal and this saw the Sunshine Girls 15-11 in the lead after the first quarter.
In the run-up to halftime, the Jamaica midcourt effectively closed the attacking gaps of the She Cranes and got more access to the ball themselves. Shooter Jhaniele Fowler and goal attack Shanice Beckford maintained a 100 per cent shooting record to put the world number four team 38-21 ahead as the hooter sounded the end of the second quarter.
Uganda took to court with the same seven players for the second half of the match. With Margret Baagala having another standout centre-court performance, the She Cranes settled down for the first time and allowed the ball to do the work. The result was winning the third quarter 16-11.
Even though it was an equal-scoring last 15 minutes (12-12), Jamaica managed to hang on for the victory. All 12 players got time on court as every match at this stage of the World Cup is a must-win affair.
SRI LANKA 52 - 55 SINGAPORE
A team that includes the tallest player in the tournament, 2.06m Tharjini Sivalingam, taking on a combination of the shortest promised to be an intriguing prospect as Sri Lanka took on Singapore in a clash of the Netball World Cup’s bottom-ranked sides.
What Singapore lacked in height, they made up for in speed in the opening quarter, effectively executing their short-pass game to take a nine-goal lead into the first break. A marked improvement in their shooting accuracy made all the difference for the Singaporeans.
Thishala Algama was brought on to replace Sivalingam at goal shooter in the second quarter, however, and that sparked a massive turnaround for Sri Lanka, who swiftly made up the nine-goal deficit and even inched into the lead by halftime.
A tightly contested third quarter meant the teams remained neck and neck, with just two goals in it heading into the final quarter. A miscued pass from the Sri Lankans in the circle with two minutes to play proved to be crucial with the turnover allowing Singapore to edge ahead and claim a 55-52 win.