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England and Jamaica stun world’s top two as Wales and Scotland win to book ninth-place showdown

On a spectacular day of change to the netball world order, England upset 11-time champions Australia and Jamaica stunned defending champions New Zealand at the Netball World Cup 2023 in Cape Town. The result meant England finished top of Group F and will most likely meet New Zealand in the Semi-Final, while Jamaica will play Australia. Despite their loss the Silver Ferns will more than likely still progress to the semi-finals, with hosts South Africa faced with the task of beating Uganda by an unrealistic margin in the afternoon match to take their place.

Wales and Scotland also claimed victories in their respective games to set up a battle with each other for ninth place.

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:

AUSTRALIA 55 - 56 ENGLAND

England followed South Africa’s stunning performance against New Zealand on Wednesday with one of their own when they scored their first-ever World Cup victory over 11-time champions Australia at the Netball World Cup 2023 in Cape Town. This is only the eighth time in total that the Roses have managed to beat the Diamonds in any competition since the teams’ first match in 1956.  

It was England goal defence Fran Williams’ brilliant deflection in the final moments that prevented Australia from securing a draw. The win means England finishes top of Pool F with Australia second. Both teams are through to the semi-finals which will be contested on Saturday.   

It was England who gained an early advantage with shooters Eleanor Cardwell and Helen Housby capitalising on their opportunities. A late intercept by Funmi Fadoju on goal defence gave England a 15-13 lead at the end of the first quarter. 

Superstar Australian defender Courtney Bruce was substituted by Sarah Klau and she immediately made her impact felt, helping Australia regain ground and overtake England for a 32-26 lead at halftime.  

In the second half, England started chipping away at the Australian lead. 

With solid play and key turnovers, England won the third quarter 18-13 and headed into the final 15 minutes of the match just one goal behind Australia.  

The Roses took the lead early in the final quarter with a goal by Cardwell. Australia stayed strong on defence while England remained calm in the pressure cooker situation.  

The match ebbed and flowed in the final minutes, with neither side giving an inch. Ultimately though,  Australia lost pivotal moments throughout the match, handing England the upset victory. 

JAMAICA 59 - 48 NEW ZEALAND

Jamaica and defending champions New Zealand went head-to-head in their final Group G encounter to effectively decide who would top the group.

Jamaica famously beat the Silver Ferns in convincing fashion in the Semi-Final of last year’s Commonwealth Games, eventually going on to claim the Silver Medal in Birmingham. The Sunshine Girls once again emerged victorious, their impressive 59-48 win a first over New Zealand at a Netball World Cup.

Having had to bounce back from a nail-biting draw with hosts, South Africa, late on Wednesday, New Zealand raced to an early lead before the Jamaicans could put in their first goal. But once they levelled matters at 10-all, they didn’t look back. Both goal shooter Jhaniele Fowler and goal attack Shanice Beckford shot at 100% in the opening quarter as the Jamaicans notched up a five-goal lead by the first break.

Neither team made any changes to their lineup at the start of the second quarter, which proved to be another fiercely fought one. The Silver Ferns looked more impressive on attack, holding onto their possession and outscoring the Sunshine Girls by one goal during the period. But a strong finish from the Jamaicans meant they still held a three-goal lead heading into half-time. 

Adean Thomas came on to replace Khadijah Williams at wing attack for the Jamaicans at the start of the third quarter while New Zealand coach Noeline Taurua continued to stick with her starting seven. New Zealand again enjoyed some good passages on play and won the quarter by just one goal but it was not enough to catch the fired-up Jamaicans.

With pressure mounting in the final period, some errors started to creep into the New Zealand game. While Romelda Aiken-George came on for the final few minutes of the match at goal shooter, the imperious Fowler finished with a 100% shooting average, firing in all 49 of her attempts and being named Most Valuable Player. The 11-goal victory for her side saw them handing the defending champions their largest ever defeat at a Netball World Cup.

WALES 70 - 55 TRINIDAD & TOBAGO

Wales faced off against Trinidad and Tobago in Cape Town on Thursday with a place in the 9th/10th playoff at the Netball World Cup 2023 on the line.

The two sides have met at eight previous World Cups with the Caribbean side having won all of those encounters. But on Thursday it was the Welsh Feathers who enjoyed the early momentum. Trinidad and Tobago looked a little flat from the start and were struggling to hold onto their ball, allowing the Welsh to edge ahead and take a four-goal lead into the first break.

The match came alive in the second quarter with the Calypso Girls finding some of the rhythm and flair that they’ve displayed at the tournament so far while the Welsh stuck to their structures and continued to outpace their opponents. Trinidad and Tobago’s Afeisha Noel provided plenty of entertainment in the shooting circle, mixing it up with several layups and shots from distance. With the teams both scoring 15 goals in the quarter, Wales retained their four-goal lead at halftime.

The Welsh came out firing in the third quarter and Trinidad and Tobago were far less effective on defence. Wales were able to move with speed through the midcourt to feed their shooters, with Georgia Rowe excelling in the circle. The 6 ft 4 goal shooter finished a dominant quarter for Wales with 13 goals from her 13 attempts while she finished the match with a 98% shooting average.

The final quarter was a close one, with only one goal the difference between the sides but ultimately the Welsh stood strong to wrap up a memorable 70-55 victory.

Wales will now play off for 9th place, while the highest Trinidad and Tobago can finish is 11th. Those positions would mirror their current World Netball World Rankings with the Welsh currently in 9th and the Calypso Girls in 11th spot.

FIJI 46 - 62 SCOTLAND

With the Scottish supporters belting out “Flower of Scotland” from the stands, the Thistles secured a 62-46 victory over Fiji in a Pool F match at the Netball World Cup 2023. With the win, Scotland advanced to the 9th/10th playoff while Fiji will contest for 11th/12th place. 

This was the sixth World Cup meeting between the two countries. Thursday’s Scottish victory has levelled matters at three victories each.  

Scotland started strongly with a commanding performance in the first 15 minutes. The mid-court, with captain Claire Maxwell at centre playing in her third World Cup, presented quality ball to the shooters who only missed one of their attempts. At the other end, the pressure Scottish defenders Cerys Finn and Emily Nicholl put on the Fiji shooters added to the error count of the Islanders growing.

Starting the second quarter five goals down, the Fiji coaching staff made several changes off the bench as well as positional switches on court, including Ana Nauqe from wing attack to centre and Josephine Nailumu from wing defence to goal defence. It worked, and Fiji won the quarter 18-16. The half-time score was 29-26 in favour of Scotland.  

Fiji however couldn’t maintain their strong performance before half-time with Scotland continuing to capitalise on their opponents’ mistakes. The Scottish shooters then made sure of every opportunity presented to them in the circle and closed out the match with a comfortable win.  

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