England booked a place in their first ever Netball World Cup final with a 46-40 victory over defending champions New Zealand in their Semi-Final clash while 11-time champions Australia held off a formidable fight from Jamaica to earn a 57-54 victory and a place in Sunday’s Final.
Sunday’s lineup will see Malawi taking on Tonga at 09:00am in a battle for 7th place. Hosts South Africa then face African rivals Uganda once again in the fight for 5th spot at 11:00am. The Bronze Medal Match will be contested between Jamaica and New Zealand at 16:00pm, before the 18:00pm final between England and Australia after which the Netball World Cup 2023 champions will be crowned.
Before Saturday’s semi-final action, Fiji secured 11th place at the tournament with victory over Trinidad and Tobago while in the final playoff match of the evening, it was Wales who beat Scotland 57-42 to secure 9th spot.
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Here is a short recap of the action we have seen so far today:
JAMAICA 54 - 57 AUSTRALIA
Jamaica and Australia produced another exhilarating showdown in the second semi-final of the day.
While they put up a massive fight in a bid to reach their first ever Netball World Cup final, the Jamaicans fell just short of causing the second upset of the day after England defeated New Zealand, with the Australians prevailing 57-54.
This is the third time the Diamonds and Sunshine Girls have gone head-to-head in a final-four clash in the tournament’s history, with the Australians having clinched victory in all three of those previous matches, the most recent in 2015 when they went on to win their 11th title.
Had they succeeded in their quest on Saturday, the Jamaicans would have denied the powerhouse Australian side a place in the final of a Netball World Cup for the first time ever.
As predicted, and following the pattern of the England v New Zealand semi-final earlier in the day, the opening quarter was a tight one, the teams matching each other goal for goal as they sussed each other out to reach the first break level on 14-14.
Playing in her 100th match for Jamaica, Jhaniele Fowler was, as always, a tower of strength and calm in the circle with just one miss in the entire match. But it was goalkeeper Shamera Sterling’s extraordinary effort to win the ball off Cara Koenen at the other end that really lifted her side at a crucial moment when they were just starting to slip behind. The Sunshine Girls gained momentum and were able to score three goals on the trot to make up their deficit and level matters once again as the sides headed into halftime.
The confident-looking Diamonds upped the intensity at the start of the third quarter. They forced the Jamaicans into several errors, giving themselves the freedom to open up a five-goal lead. Several Jamaican changes included Adean Thomas coming in at centre, injecting some energy into the side.
Clearly up for the fight, the Jamaicans continued to put their bodies on the line as they battled their way back once again to equalise at 40-40. The Diamonds managed to steady themselves to turn the ball over in the final minute and make sure they reached the final break with their noses just in front, having won the quarter by two goals.
That lead didn’t last long, however, the Jamaicans immediately closing the gap and then edging ahead at the start of the final 15 minutes. Returning to their shorter, sharper game and showing more patience on the ball, the Sunshine Girls edged in front. But with Courtney Bruce in particular upping the defensive pressure, that safe, short game didn’t last.
One too many dangerous high passes into the circle saw Bruce affecting a crucial turnover with just over five minutes to play. Determined to avoid the defending champion New Zealand side’s fate, that was just the gap they needed to pull away, apply more pressure, and eventually secure a hard-fought victory.
While Australia had lost to England in their final group game during the week, this was Jamaica’s first defeat of the tournament, but it was the crunch one that brought their gold-medal quest to an end.
SCOTLAND 42 - 57 WALES
In their 11th meeting at a Netball World Cup, Wales got the better of Scotland with a 57-42 victory to claim 9th position. The win means Wales have now won six of their encounters against Scotland.
The first quarter was a neck-and-neck battle, as both sides exchanged quick passes and strong feeds into their respective goal circles. While the Feathers’ shooting pair of Georgia Rowe and Phillipa Yarranton were successful with all of their attempts, Beth Goodwin and Niamh McCall missed six shots between the two of them for the Thistles. The Welsh also enjoyed the majority of possession in the opening minutes, handing them a 12-10 lead after the first 15 minutes.
As the game progressed into the second quarter, Wales continued to gain momentum, with clever interceptions and strategic transitions. Rowe and Yarranton continued where they left off, only missing one shot at goal while Goodwin and McCall again struggled to find the net letting four valuable goals go astray. The pressure put on them by defenders Ella Powell-Davies and Christina Shaw was clearly having an effect. At halftime, Wales had stretched their lead to four goals (25-21).
Wales took to the court at the start of the third quarter with the same seven players that started the match. For Scotland there were a handful of changes in an attempt to swing the match in their favour. It didn’t seem to have the desired effect though as Wales stretched their lead to a healthy 10-point gap (42-32).
The Feathers kept the intensity up in the final 15 minutes of the match, forcing the Thistles to play catchup. With the gap opening up to 11 points with seven minutes left on the clock, it proved to be an insurmountable task. Wales drove the ball down court to their goal circle with Rowe and Yarranton sinking shot after shot to secure the victory.