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South Africa eke out victory over Uganda as Malawi hold on against Tonga

Hosts South Africa had the vocal home crowd on the edge of their seats as they just managed to pip Uganda by two goals to secure third spot in Group G. In the other match of the evening, fellow Africans Malawi held on for victory against Tonga to make sure of third place in Group F.

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Here is a short recap of the action we have seen so far today:

SOUTH AFRICA 52 - 50 UGANDA

South Africa avenged their 2022 Commonwealth Games loss to Uganda by beating the She Cranes 52-50.  

The result ended the Proteas’ hopes of progressing to the semi-finals as they needed to secure an unlikely victory margin of more than 64 goals and keep their opponents from scoring more than 20 to make that happen.

Goal attack Ine-Mari Venter had a better start compared to Wednesday’s match against New Zealand, being successful with all her attempts. Uganda however struggled with short passes around their own goal circle.  

Uganda’s star shooter, Mary Cholhok, found it challenging against South Africa’s Phumza Maweni. The Protea defender had Cholhok properly boxed in with little room to stamp her authority.  

South Africa’s swift ball movement across the court troubled Uganda, preventing them from executing their attacking style effectively. During the second quarter, South Africa extended their lead to 10 goals, with Maweni continuing to disrupt Cholhok. 

Uganda made their first substitutions 10 minutes before half-time, but that didn’t have any effect as the South Africans went into the break 33-19 in front.

The third quarter was entirely dominated by Uganda, as they outscored South Africa by nine goals (17-8), finding their rhythm and quickly narrowing the gap. 

In the final quarter, Uganda came out onto the court clearly intent on snatching the victory away from the hosts. And they almost did. Having been 12 goals down at one point, they managed to equalise the score at 42-all within four minutes. 

TONGA 51 - 56 MALAWI

Tonga took on Malawi for the first time at a Netball World Cup in the match to determine third and fourth place in Group F.  It was the Malawi Queens who emerged victorious, claiming the 56-51 win.

Having secured the win, Malawi will now play fourth place in Group G, Uganda, while Tonga go on to play the third-placed team in the same group, South Africa. The winners of these matches will then play off for fifth and sixth place.

Tonga got away to a fast start, leading by three goals at one point, but the Malawi Queens came back at them in what was, as predicted, a physical encounter. The scores were level on 13-13 at the first break.

It was a completely different story at the start of the second quarter, however, with Tonga taking over five minutes to score their first goal, while Malawi suddenly upped the energy and speed to race into a significant lead.

Tonga brought on former Silver Ferns star Cat Tuivaiti at goal shooter and Salote Taufa at wing attack to try and steady the ship but the damage had been done at the start of the quarter. Tonga did, however, manage to reduce the deficit, heading into halftime just five goals down.

Former Australian Diamonds player Mo’onia Gerrard was also brought on for Tonga at the start of the third quarter while Malawi lost stalwart Mwai Kumwenda to an apparent injury midway through the period. There was just one goal difference in the quarter score (15-14) but Malawi still enjoyed a six-goal lead at the final break.

Kumwenda was back in action at the start of the final quarter but the Malawians looked to be tiring somewhat, making for an exciting period of play in which the Tongans looked to take advantage. With both sets of singing fans in full voice on opposite sides of the court, it was the Malawians who were left celebrating the loudest as their team wrapped up a 56-51 win – all the damage having been done at the start of that second quarter.

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