Category: Sri Lanka

Zimbabwe and Singapore sign off Netball World Cup in triumphant style

Friday, 4 August 2023: Zimbabwe defeated Barbados to secure 13th place while Singapore got the better of Sri Lanka to secure 15th place in their final matches of the Netball World Cup 2023 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on Friday.

ZIMBABWE 75 – 48 BARBADOS

Zimbabwe avenged their 45-62 loss against Barbados earlier in the week when they beat the Bajan Gems 75-48 to finish in 13th position at the Netball World Cup 2023 in Cape Town.  

Four years ago at the 2019 World Cup in Liverpool, Zimbabwe claimed eighth place and Barbados 12th.  

Right from the beginning, Zimbabwe took control, leading by three points early on. Goal attack Nicole Muzanenamo was in excellent form, receiving accurate passes from the mid-court and converting her shots effectively. She utilised impressive split landings once again to position herself well for scoring. 

Barbados managed to narrow the gap to just one goal (14-15) before the end of the first quarter, with a goal from Kadeen Corbin. The second quarter saw back-and-forth action. There were multiple intercepts and closely contested play around the goal circles. Zimbabwe’s Nalani Makunde scored four consecutive goals just before halftime, giving her team a 30-28 lead. 

The Gems maintained their momentum, and in the third quarter, they surged ahead with a substantial lead, outscoring Barbados by 22 to seven. This quarter proved to be challenging for Barbados, while Zimbabwe excelled. The scoreboard showed 52-35 in favour of Zimbabwe at the start of the final quarter. 

It was more of the same in the fourth quarter with Zimbabwe completely outplaying Barbados. The African team were lighter on their feet while the islanders found it difficult to keep up with the fast pace.  

Throughout the match, Zimbabwe’s fitness played a crucial role, as they made only two changes during the entire 60 minutes. In the last 15 minutes, Zimbabwe’s defenders limited Barbados’ scoring opportunities, resulting in a significant lead of up to 24 points at one stage. When the match concluded, Zimbabwe emerged victorious with a 27-goal lead. 

Zimbabwe captain Felisitus Kwangwa said her side raised their hands a little too late in Cape Town. 

“For the last few games we just told ourselves that we have to work hard and finish strong. I’m glad everyone in the team managed to rise to the occasion.” 

It was wing attack Sasha Corbin’s last match for Barbados, having previously represented England, and she said it has been a massive honour. 

“It’s been tough, I won’t lie, six games back-to-back with no rest, it has been extremely difficult. But at the same time, we’ve had to dig deep and I’m proud of what we have achieved,” she said.  

SCORES

Q1: 15-14 

Q2: 30-28 (15-14) 

Q3: 52-35 (22-7) 

Q4: 75-48 (23-13)  

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Nalani Makunde (Zimbabwe) 

SINGAPORE 49 – 46 SRI LANKA

Singapore and Sri Lanka renewed their rivalry in the battle for 15th place at the Netball World Cup in Cape Town on Friday. The sides have already met at this tournament, with Singapore winning by three goals on that occasion while it was Sri Lanka who prevailed in their previous 15th-place showdown at a Netball World Cup in 2019.

As expected Friday’s encounter was a neck-and-neck encounter but it was the Singaporeans who had the edge, grinding out a 49-46 victory.

It was a much better start from Sri Lanka compared to the last clash between the two sides in Cape Town where they found themselves nine goals down after the first quarter and playing catch-up throughout.

Singapore were punished for offensive contact on three occasions in the first quarter which proved costly while Sri Lanka took advantage of their greater possession (60 per cent), easily finding Thishala Algama in the circle.

Once again, shooting accuracy was a talking point in the match – the Sri Lankans firing in 15 of their 16 attempts while Singapore’s numbers stood on eight from 11. That saw the Sri Lankans reaching the first break 8-15 up.

Sri Lanka found it much tougher to find their shooters in the second quarter as Singapore’s defensive unit upped their intensity. That allowed them to win the quarter by one goal but they still faced a deficit of six with the Sri Lankans heading into halftime 20-26 in front.

The third quarter belonged to Singapore, their fluency and intensity seeing them quickly closing the gap. They were dealt a blow when, with five minutes left in the quarter, wing defence Shu Ning Yew went down with a knee injury and was wheeled off court by medics. She was replaced by Ting Fang Khor but Singapore continued to dominate, winning the period 16-10 and finding the all-important equaliser with 15 seconds remaining in the period.

That meant there was all to play for in the final 15 minutes. Having upped her percentage considerably from the opening period, Amandeep Chahal was rock solid in the Singapore circle, sinking nine of her 10 attempts as Singapore moved in front and held on for a memorable 49-46 victory over the Asian champions. The goal shooter was later named Most Valuable Player.

Speaking after the match an elated Singapore captain Kai Wei Toh said: “It feels great. We’ve been wanting to do this – to win and to up our ranking. I think the team did really well today – a deserved win. We had a slow start but the team fought through.

“In the first game I think we had a dip in the second quarter so coming into this game we wanted to fix that. We didn’t want to have any dips and stay competitive throughout the quarters and I think the team did achieve that today.

“We have been meeting Sri Lanka for many years and losing to them in our own Asian championships also so with this win, we receive a lot of encouragement for Singapore. I think a lot of the younger girls will have a bit more hope that Singapore netball is going on a bigger stage and that they can progress even further.”

SCORES

Q1: 8-15

Q2: 20-26 (12-11)

Q3: 36-36 (16-10)

Q4: 49-46 (13-10)

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Amandeep Chahal (Singapore)

SA draw with NZ in thriller; wins for Jamaica and Sri Lanka

Hosts South Africa and defending world champions New Zealand produced the match of the Netball World Cup 2023 so far, playing out to a thrilling 48-48 draw in Cape Town on Wednesday. In the other matches of the day, Jamaica claimed an emphatic victory over Trinidad and Tobago while Sri Lanka earned their first win of the tournament by defeating Barbados.

SOUTH AFRICA 48-48 NEW ZEALAND  

South Africa kept their slim hopes of reaching the Netball World Cup 2023 semi-finals alive with a spirited performance against world champions New Zealand at a packed CTICC in Cape Town.

With the raucous local crowd effectively an extra member of the team, the Proteas came close to beating the Silver Ferns for only the second time in World Cup history. The draw in Pool G now means there is still a chance of progressing to the semi-final. For this to happen, Jamaica would have to beat New Zealand on Thursday while South Africa would have to do the same against Uganda. Goal percentage could prove problematic for the Proteas, however.

Goal attack Nichole Taljaard earned her second Most Valuable Player award of the tournament. It was her shot, with three seconds left in the match, that drew the scores

level. Taljaard had an outstanding match, occupying the space in the goal circle well with her ability to shoot from further away a distinct advantage. She also remained calm under the massive pressure of facing the reigning world champions.  

South Africa put in a huge defensive effort in the first half of the match egged on by the deafening shouts of “defence, defence” by the South African spectators in the stands. Silver Ferns coach Noeline Taurua started ringing in the changes with the game a tightly contested affair. Jane Watson came on in the place of Kelly Jury at goalkeeper in an attempt to stop the ball from moving into the South African goal circle. South African-born Karin Burger was moved from wing attack to goal defence to cover Taljaard. For South Africa, Elmeré van der Berg replaced Venter under the pole.  

New Zealand had edged 26-21 ahead by halftime.  

Khanyisa Chawane took over from Bongi Msomi at centre at the start of the third quarter, a period of play where South Africa traditionally lost games they should’ve won. In their game against Jamaica, the Proteas scored only three goals in the third quarter, and then outscored the Sunshine Girls 20-15 in the last 15 minutes of the match. This time around however, the Proteas produced an outstanding performance in the third period, winning it 13-12 to only be four goals adrift. 

The final 15 minutes of the thrilling match saw the Proteas throw everything at the Silver Ferns. Defenders Phumza Maweni and Karla Pretorius made several brilliant steals on the one end while Van der Berg and Taljaard kept the scoreboard ticking at the other. Nicola Smith then joined the fray. 

With four minutes left on the clock, South Africa needed three goals to pull off something special and the atmosphere at the CTICC reached fever pitch. The ball was fed to Taljaard and she made sure to sink what must probably be the most important goal of her career.

Proteas captain Msomi said she told the girls at halftime that New Zealand would make changes, but that they shouldn’t worry about that. 

“We believed that we could put up a great performance. It would have been great if it was a win, but we will take the draw. I’ve been with the girls for a long time. We’ve worked really hard to get in such positions and a few times we’ve let ourselves down. There’s so much pride to see them step up and play good netball. For me to be a part of that, it’s fantastic.” 

Proteas coach Norma Plummer said Thursday’s match against Uganda will be a different story. 

“Uganda has been playing really well at this World Cup. They have a totally different style of play, different from what we had today, and we have to work around that. Hopefully we can challenge them right to the end of the match,” she said. 

Silver Ferns coach Noeline Taurua praised the performance of both teams. 

“It always comes down to certain moments that happen. We also had ball in hand and that last 30 seconds, we probably could have drained the clock. When you look at the stats, our stats are actually not that bad, we had 55 per cent of the ball and our shooting percentage was 90 per cent compared to their 76 per cent. We have to take the draw on the chin.” 

 SCORES:  
Q1: 10-11 
Q2: 21-26 (11-15) 
Q3: 34-38 (13-12) 
Q4: 48-48 (14-10) 

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Nichole Taljaard (South Africa)

JAMAICA 89-26 TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO

Medal hopefuls Jamaica took on Caribbean rivals Trinidad and Tobago for the 11th time at a Netball World Cup in Cape Town on Wednesday, the Sunshine Girls making sure of a comfortable 89-26 victory to continue their course towards a semifinal spot – which was confirmed later in the evening when New Zealand drew with South Africa.

The World Cup head-to-head count between the nations stood at four-all with two draws since their first meeting back in 1963, but this time around it was all Jamaica. Rejuvenated after a day’s break on Tuesday, the Sunshine Girls had no trouble racing to a 14-goal lead by the first break.

Trinidad and Tobago coach Joel Young-Strong urged her side to play their usual safe, short, sharp game in the second quarter but they continued to be outpaced by the Jamaicans, who looked far slicker in all areas.

Adean Thomas was impressive at wing attack while Shanice Beckford was also working hard at goal attack – putting up just one less shot than goal shooter Romelda Aiken-George in the first half. That saw the Sunshine Girls extending their lead to 34 goals by halftime. Their defence also stood strong, as the Calypso Girls’ error count mounted, conceding 29

turnovers in the first half. By the end of the half, they had added just four goals to their total.

There were plenty of changes for Jamaica in the third quarter including Jhaniele Fowler coming on at goal shooter and Rebekah Robinson at goal attack. While the dynamic between the two was different to that between Aiken-George and Beckford, it was no less effective as the Jamaicans continued to put even more distance between themselves and the opposition, finishing the third quarter 50 goals up.

It was all change again in the fourth quarter as coach Connie Francis continued to rotate players ahead of the Jamaicans’ showdown against New Zealand on Thursday. But the Sunshine Girls maintained the intensity to wrap up the emphatic 89-26 win, with centre Nicole Dixon-Rochester named as Most Valuable Player on the day she played her 50th cap for Jamaica.

Speaking after the match, Jamaica assistant coach Keyan Murdock said: “It was about rotating the team… of course we have to be conscious of the fact that we have a tough game tomorrow [against New Zealand]. We wanted to ensure we had saved enough energy and that was part of the rotation.”

Captain Fowler added: “I felt that the rotation of the team was really good, ensuring that we were all rested for tomorrow as well as making sure that we are all getting enough game

time as well that when we get on court to play any other team that we are fit and ready.”

As for the likely gameplan for their all-important clash against the Silver Ferns, Fowler said: “What we can give away is that we are going to stay disciplined and play our game and I reckon once we do that, we should be OK.”

Trinidad and Tobago goal attack Joelisa Cooper remained pragmatic, saying: “It is Jamaica [we were up against] and we have new players and young players who are very inexperienced and this is the biggest tournament they have played in. So we were being realistic.”

SCORES
Q1: 20-6
Q2: 44-10 (24-4)
Q3: 69-19 (25-9)
Q4: 89-26 (20-7)

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Nicole Dixon-Rochester (Jamaica)

SRI LANKA 60-56 BARBADOS

Sri Lanka were still in search of their first victory of the Netball World Cup 2023 when they took on Barbados in a Group E clash in Cape Town on Wednesday. 

History was not on their side with Barbados having claimed both of their previous head-to- heads at the Netball World Cup – their last meeting a 67-33 victory for the Bajans in Sydney in 2015. But they looked determined to change all that as they came out firing in the first quarter.

Barbados, who have already secured their spot in the 13 th /14 th playoff, were not playing with the same intensity they showed in their defeat of Singapore a day earlier, but managed to stay level, heading into the first break on 15-15.

A run of five unanswered goals at the start of the second quarter meant the Sri Lankans started pulling ahead. That brought about the introduction of Sasha Corbin at wing attack and the move of her sister, Kadeen, who previously won Commonwealth Games gold with England, from goal shooter to goal attack for Barbados. But they remained four goals down at halftime.

Barbados finally seemed to find their rhythm after the break and looked to be a completely different team as they quickly made up the deficit and then surged ahead, winning the third quarter by 22 goals to 12. But the Sri Lankans had a storming final quarter to come back at them to claim a memorable 60-56 win. That is the first time in 20 years that the Sri Lankans have beaten anyone other than Singapore at the Netball World Cup.

Sri Lankan wing attack Gayanjali Amarawansa was overjoyed by her team’s performance and said: “This is a huge win for us, I am very happy for my team because this is our first win.”

SCORES
Q1: 15-15
Q2: 30-26 (15-11)
Q3: 43-48 (13-22)
Q4: 60-56 (17-8)

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Dulangi Wannithilake (Sri Lanka)

Match reports, day 3: Wins for Wales, Malawi, NZ, Australia

Wales claimed their first victory of the Netball World Cup 2023 to safely negotiate their way through to the second stage of the preliminaries while there were comfortable wins for Malawi, defending champions New Zealand, and Australia on the third day of matches at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

WALES 68-56 SRI LANKA
With both Wales and Sri Lanka chasing a first victory of the Netball World Cup 2023 in Cape Town, there was plenty to play for when the two sides went head-to-head in their final Group C clash on Sunday.

On the line was a place in the second stage of the preliminaries with only the top three teams in each pool progressing. And it was the Welsh Feathers who got the job done with a 68-56 victory.

While the Sri Lankans stayed within striking distance for much of the opening quarter, some great intercepts from the Welsh ensured they edged ahead, taking a six-goal advantage into the first break.

Midway through the second quarter, the match was halted for close to eight minutes after Sri Lankan wing attack Dulangi Wannithilake received a blow to the stomach from a Welsh player’s knee and became physically ill on the side of the court.

When play resumed, Wales managed to pick up where they left off, Ella Powell-Davies and Christina Shaw doing exceptionally well on defence for their side to open the gap to head into halftime 30-22 up.

The tallest player in the tournament 2.06m Tharjini Sivalingam came on at goal shooter after the break and made all the difference, with the Sri Lankans producing their highest-scoring quarter. Incredibly Wannithilake also returned to action at wing attack.

But a 10-goal gap by the end of the period proved too much to close and with goal shooter Georgia Rowe completing a near-flawless performance in the Wales circle with 49 goals from 50 attempts, the Feathers wrapped up the crucial 68-56 victory.

Powell-Davies was named Most Valuable Player and said: “It’s so, so good – a massive boost of confidence for this squad. We’ve had a tough couple of games and Sri Lanka really brought it to us today. It was super tough out there, but to get the win it’s a massive boost and we’re looking forward to going through to the next group.

Sri Lanka coach Thilaka Jinadasa said: “The girls did well today overcoming these big losses in our last two matches.”

Speaking about Wannithilake’s injury, Jinadasa added: “She will hopefully be OK. She’ll be taken to the doctor to be checked. She’s a very strong character so I’m sure she will be OK.

“She is a very fast wing attack for us in our starting seven so I have more confidence with her and I knew she was a strong character and could come back and she proved it again today.”

SCORES:
Q1: 17-11
Q2: 30-22 (13-11)
Q3: 50-40 (20-18)
Q4: 68-56 (18-16)

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Ella Powell-Davies (Wales)

AUSTRALIA 101-32 FIJI 

With 18 places separating them in the latest world rankings, a comprehensive victory for Australia (1) over Fiji (19) was all but guaranteed. The world’s top-ranked team is yet to lose a quarter at the Netball World Cup 2023. This was the second 100-goal score of the World Cup, Australia’s third in all World Cups and the 15 th overall.  

It was the Diamonds’ fifth World Cup victory over the Pearls. Outside of the tournament, they also have had the better of their opponents in three other international matches.

Fiji got proceedings underway with Maliana Rusivakula landing the first shot. It didn’t take long for Cara Koenen to return the favour at the other of the court for Australia.  

Fiji, fresh off their upset win over Zimbabwe on Saturday, managed to hang on for the first five minutes of the game. Australia however found their rhythm and started building up a healthy lead. The ease with which they were moving led to attractive attacking play for which their opponents had no answer.  

Fiji head coach Unaisi Rokoura, who played in the 1999 and 2003 World Cups, brought on Lydia Panapasa as goal shooter with Rusivakula moving to goal attack for the second quarter. Josephine Nailumu (goal defence) and Ana Moi (wing defence) also took to court in an effort to stem the relentless Aussie attack. The Australian team remained unchanged.  

Even though the possession was evenly distributed in the first half, with a superior goal shooting percentage, Australia had a firm grip on the game. They went into the break 46-18 in the lead. 

When the third quarter started, it was a new-look Australian team who assumed position with Ash Brazill the only player yet to make an appearance in the game. Goal shooter Sophie Garbin fired off three shots in quick succession, and another five soon after, to take the wind out of Fiji’s sails.  

Australia racked up 26 points in the third quarter and followed it up with 29 in the final 15 minutes of the match, their highest over three days of play.  

Goalkeeper Courtney Bruce earned her second award as Most Valuable Player for another stellar performance on defence. She got eight intercepts and caused several deflections to turn the ball back toward her team’s goal circle.  

Commenting on the rest of the tournament and how they want to progress, Australian coach Stacey Marinkovich said her team have their eyes set on the other teams. 

“As we’ve gone on along the journey, the focus has been on how we get our game going in terms of performance and style, compared to the other teams,” she said.

“So certainly we’ll talk about what we see and what they bring to the table. The draw is what it is. That is one of the challenges of a world cup, you’ve got to bring your game on the day and learn in the moment and adapt.” 

Despite the heavy loss, Fiji captain Maria Lutua-Rusivakula said their main goal was to give all the players some time on court. 

“In that aspect we did what we wanted to do, even though the result doesn’t really show it. We are progressing all the time and we want to go forward by making the little things count. For now, we are taking it one day at a time,” she said.

SCORES 
Q1: 23-9 
Q2: 48-18 (23-9) 
Q3: 72-27 (26-9) 
Q4: 101-32 (29-5) 

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Courtney Bruce (Australia) 

 NEW ZEALAND 80-19 SINGAPORE

Defending champions New Zealand closed out their Group D matches with a comprehensive 80-19 victory over the lowest-ranked team in the tournament, Singapore.

Having beaten the same opposition by 68 goals at the last World Cup in Liverpool four years ago, few would have expected anything other than another win for the Silver Ferns when the two sides faced off again on Sunday.

While the Singapore side are speedy and produced a promising start, they were outgunned in all departments, scoring seven goals in the first quarter and just two in the second as New Zealand took firm control.

The Silver Ferns shooters had no mercy on Singapore goal keeper Jamie Lim on her 23rd birthday, racing to a 32-goal lead by halftime.

Once again the Singaporeans’ inaccurate goal shooting cost them with neither shooter averaging over the 55 per cent mark.

While New Zealand had little trouble in sailing to the 80-19 victory, of some concern will be the condition of goal shooter Grace Nweke who appeared to limp off the court in the third quarter and was seen icing her knee on the sidelines.

Despite the comfortable victory, New Zealand coach Noeline Taurua felt there was plenty of room for improvement.

“I’m not actually entirely happy, I thought we were able to get a lot of ball and I think our attention to detail in some respects wasn’t on point,” she said afterwards.

“I feel today we went a bit backwards, especially when we had ball in hand. The quality wasn’t as good as expected.”

Asked about Nweke’s knee, Taurua added: “At the moment the call from the physio is that it’s not too bad but just precaution so I’m happy that we took her off so we can ascertain clearly why there’s the issue, but it’s OK.”

Singapore captain Kai Wei Toh said: “It was really an honour to play against them and I think it was a great experience. We don’t always have the chance to play them so the team enjoyed it.

“I’m very proud of my girls. They put up a strong fight and a strong start, but we should keep it consistent through the four quarters. I think we tried to play a short game, which we did. There were a few successful passes down the court also and I think our defenders did really well. They went for all the balls and really tried very hard.” 

SCORES
Q1: 17-7
Q2: 41-9 (24-2)
Q3: 61-14 (20-5)
Q4: 80-19 (19-5)

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Jane Watson (New Zealand)

MALAWI 84-48 BARBADOS   

With singing and dancing Malawi fans in the stands, the Queens scored their second victory of the Netball World Cup 2023 in Cape Town when they beat Barbados 84-48 on Sunday. 

The match marked Malawi’s 50th appearance in the World Cup since their debut in 1995. It has been a challenging tournament for Barbados as they suffered their third consecutive loss.

Right from the opening whistle, Malawi took control of the game, showcasing strategic play that left Barbados struggling to keep up. The Queens' skilful passing and rock-solid defence made it difficult for the Bajan Gems to launch any effective counterattacks. 

At the start of the second quarter, with Thandie Galetta replacing Jane Chimaliro on wing attack, the African team extended their lead even further. The next 15 minutes saw Barbados facing relentless pressure, with Malawi’s defenders making incredible interceptions and thwarting their opponents' progress. By halftime, Malawi held a commanding 43-22 lead. 

The Bajan Gems made a determined effort at the beginning of the second half, with Kadeen Corbin scoring the first goal and expressing their intent to narrow the gap. However, Malaw’s experienced defenders, Towera Vinkhumbo and Jane Dambo, stood firm and they turned Barbados’ possession into scoring opportunities of their own.  

Despite their resilience, Barbados couldn’t break through. In the third quarter, Malawi surged ahead with a dominant centre-court attack that left Barbados searching for answers. As the clock ticked down, Malawi maintained their lead, entering the final stages of the match with an impressive 29-goal advantage. 

In the last 15 minutes, the Queens continued their dominance, controlling the pace and leaving no room for Barbados to stage a comeback. 

Ultimately, Malawi’s tactical gameplay and strategic positioning were the key factors. Their seamless shooting circle rotations ensured a steady stream of scoring opportunities while suffocating defence denied their opponents quality ball possession. 

Beaten by England on day 2, Malawi coach Samuel Kanyenda said his side had sat down with the whole team to properly prepare for Sunday’s encounter. 

“After today’s win there is definitely less stress after the negative feedback from yesterday.

I’m proud of the girls for putting on a good performance and creating this win. Now we are looking forward to the rest of the games.” 

Barbados vice-captain Tonisha Rock-Yaw said it was a tough day at the office. 

“There were some things that were good, but we needed to capitalise and focus a lot more. We needed to try and limit the mistakes and turnovers, there were too many today. For the rest of the tournament, we are taking it day by day and just making sure we stay in it.” 

SCORES: 
Q1: 20-10 
Q2: 43-22 (23-12) 
Q3: 64-35 (21-13) 
Q4: 84-48 (20-13) 

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Takondwa Lwazi (Malawi)

Match reports, day 2: Wins for SA, England, Scotland,Trinidad&Tobago, Jamaica

South Africa thrill home crowd with convincing victory as England cruise and Scotland claim first win

Hosts South Africa claimed an emphatic victory over Sri Lanka while world No. 3 England had no trouble in getting past the Malawi Queens at the Netball World Cup 2023 in Cape Town on Saturday. In other matches, Scotland earned their first win of the tournament with victory over Barbados while Trinidad and Tobago did the same against Singapore.

 

SOUTH AFRICA 87 – 32 SRI LANKA

 Taking to the court in brightly coloured Ndebele-inspired dresses with the stands in the Cape Town International Convention Centre packed with enthusiastically cheering local fans, South Africa crushed Sri Lanka 87-32 at the Netball World Cup 2023 on Saturday.  

The South African starting line-up looked a little different from the one that beat Wales a day earlier. Elmeré van der Berg got another chance, this time moving to goal shooter, with Nichole Taljaard moving to goal attack. Izette Griesel started on centre in the place of Khanyisa Chawane and Nicola Smith got the nod at goalkeeper ahead of Karla Pretorius.  

For Sri Lanka, there was no Tharjini Sivalingam, who, at 2.06 metres is the tallest player at this year’s World Cup. At the age of 44, she is also the oldest.  

South Africa shut out any Sri Lankan playmaking from the get-go while stamping their authority on proceedings. The Proteas’ opponents were frustrated with their inability to have any say in the one-sided match, with wing defence Bhashini De Silva copping a caution towards the end of the first quarter. 

Sri Lanka could not score consecutive goals as especially Griesel managed to intercept numerous balls. Griesel, playing in her third Netball World Cup, had a solid game at centre, and the same went for Jeanté Strydom who made her Proteas debut against Wales. She deservedly walked away with the award for most valuable player. South Africa went into the halftime break 45-18 up. 

Pretorius earned her 100th cap for South Africa when she came on in the third quarter, replacing Shadine van der Merwe at goal defence. Captain Bongi Msomi also got a well-deserved break with Chawane putting on the centre bib and Griesel moving to wing attack.  

The Proteas piled even more pressure on Sri Lanka, adding 23 goals in the third quarter and stretching their lead to 44. 

In the last 15 minutes, Ine-Marie Venter, the most valuable player against Wales, assumed the goal shooter position, earning her 50th cap while Phumza Maweni came off the bench to resume her defensive partnership with Pretorius.  

With nine minutes to go, South Africa stretched their lead to 50 points for the first time. They then seemed to take their foot off the pedal somewhat with the victory secured and not wanting to risk serious injury ahead of what promises to be a pulsating affair against Jamaica on Sunday. 

Pretorius said it was fantastic celebrating a milestone like a 100th cap for one’s country on home soil as well as in front of family and friends.  

“The highlight of my career must be the 2019 World Cup where I got the player of the tournament award. And then earlier this year the Quad series [against New Zealand, Australia, England] when I returned after having my daughter Kara, putting in the hard work to get out on court again,” she said. 

A beaming Strydom said she’s never felt prouder in her life. 

“I’m sitting here next to three legends of the game, 100 caps and 160 caps [for Pretorius and Msomi] and Norma on her 100th win yesterday. With me only on two caps, this is the best feeling in the world, and I can’t actually describe how I’m feeling, it’s overwhelming.” 

SCORES: 

Q1: 24-9  

Q2: 45-18 (21-9)  

Q3: 68-24 (23-6)  

Q4: 87-32 (19-8) 

 

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Jeanté Strydom  

 

SCOTLAND 53 – 44 BARBADOS

Scotland and Barbados faced off at the Netball World Cup for a seventh time in the tournament’s history with both sides chasing their first win of the 2023 event in Cape Town. Their previous head-to-head record stood at 4-2 in favour of the Bajans but Scotland closed that gap with a 53-44 victory on Saturday.

Barbados had suffered a 29-90 loss at the hands of England while Scotland were edged out 49-55 by Malawi after the African nation staged a massive comeback in their clash on the opening day of the tournament on Friday.

While both teams struggled slightly to find their rhythm in the opening period, a run of five unanswered goals at the end of the quarter saw the Scots taking an 11-8 lead into the first break.

A slicker performance from the Bajan Gems with fewer errors meant they were able to level matters in the second quarter, however, with the teams all square on 23-all by halftime.

Just like they did in their game against England a day earlier, Barbados lost some focus in the third quarter, and Scotland took advantage – producing several solid periods of play to build up a five-goal lead.

With their noses in front and the prospect of a first victory of the tournament in sight, the Scots managed to extend that advantage in the final quarter to wrap up a 53-44 victory.

After notching up a 93.5 per cent shooting average, Scottish goal attack Niamh McCall was named Most Valuable Player.

Speaking about how her side managed to bounce back after a heartbreaking loss to Malawi a day earlier, McCall explained: “To be honest, we did have that chat and it was a case of drawing a line and saying today is a new day. It was important that we got the win today because that’s what we came here to do was win, so I’m really happy and proud of our team performance.”

As for the MVP award, she added: “It’s really difficult getting the award because I feel like that was a full team performance but I can’t not be happy with my stats compared to yesterday… I’m really happy that I was able to step up and shoot them in today.”

Barbados wing attack Sasha Corbin, who together with her sister Kadeen previously represented England, was devasted by the result, saying: “I think we showed fight today. We definitely took some good stuff from the game yesterday against England.

“I think that last bit we didn’t push on and we didn’t always have the options. We just struggled a little bit on that but you can’t fault the defence. We tried so hard to get ball, we tried to look after turnovers. We’re just gutted, to be honest.

“We need to look after our possession and today we fell short and threw some annoying passes away, silly errors so I’m pleased with how we came out fighting but we now need to learn how to finish games properly.”

SCORES

Q1: 11-8

Q2: 23-23 (12-15)

Q3: 38-33 (15-10)

Q4: 53-44 (15-11)

 

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Niamh McCall (Scotland)

 

ENGLAND 62 – 39 MALAWI

In the fifth meeting between England and Malawi at a World Cup, the Roses made it five out of five when they beat the Queens 62-39 in Cape Town.  

England was fresh off a massive 90-29 win over Barbados on Friday while Malawi scored a come-from-behind victory over Scotland. Before Saturday, the last time the two squads faced each other was at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. The Roses dominated throughout the match then and comfortably beat Malawi 66-41.  

Saturday’s match kicked off with England unable to convert their first centre pass, and Malawi capitalised on this opportunity, securing an early lead. A familiar face for fans of the Netball Super League in the UK was Malawi goal shooter Joyce Mvula who previously played for Manchester Thunder.  

England seemed to be caught off guard by their opponents’ skilful play through the court, with the African side remaining within touching distance and finishing the first quarter only two goals behind. In the next 15 minutes, however, mistakes began creeping into Malawi’s general play, granting the Roses some breathing space and relief. The score at halftime was 29-20 in favour of England.  

As the second half got under way, it was clear England managed to overcome their rocky start to the match with a much-improved performance. Their defensive end found stability with the reliable combination of Geva Mentor and Layla Guscoth. The experience of these two players added a sense of assurance to their performance. 

In the third quarter, the umpires called time when Malawi centre Takondwa Lwazi took a significant fall and went down in a heap of pain. Her teammates helped her off court and it seemed it was the end of the match for her. She did however return in the last 15 minutes.   

England pulled away in the third quarter, outscoring Malawi by 10 goals and at the same time not allowing their opponents to score more than twice in succession. The Queens regained some ground in the last 15 minutes, but a repeat of Friday’s comeback exploits against Scotland was not to be.  

England goal shooter Helen Housby was awarded the Most Valuable Player for a good all-around performance in the circle. She landed all 17 of her shots at goal.  

England coach Jess Thirlby was once again pleased with her team’s efforts.

I think we’ve prepared well for styles like this. I think it’s important to respect the opposition. We really look forward to the challenge of different levels of physicality and different styles of play so we kind of knew what to expect and we also know tactically how to be smart about it,” she said.

“I think everyone has had a test today and I think it’s perfect to get a test so soon on day two. We felt prepared for this game and I think we shouldn’t really wipe away a 20-plus goal win against such a quality side as anything other than a great step in the right direction.”

Malawi captain Jane Chimaliro said it was unfortunate that her side couldn’t continue with their good performance from the first quarter. 

“We came hard at them in the first quarter and it started very well for us,” she said. “The game was very close but I think we lost concentration and consistency in the third quarter, and that’s why we lost the game. And then we didn’t play well in the last quarter.” 

 

SCORES: 

Q1: 12-10 

Q2: 29-20 (17-10)  

Q3: 48-29 (19-9)  

Q4: 62-39 (14-10) 

 

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Helen Housby  

 

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO 49-36 SINGAPORE

Trinidad and Tobago raced into a seven-goal lead before Singapore could make any impression on the scoreboard in their Group D encounter. But the Asian side did well to rally and close that gap. Singapore’s shooters struggled with their accuracy though, goal attack Kai Wei Toh sinking just one of her seven attempts in the first quarter as the Caribbean team headed into the first break 13-10 up.

Singapore’s scoring woes continued in the second quarter, but with Trinidad and Tobago also squandering several chances to find their shooters at the other end of the court, the match remained a tight one. Evidence of this was the fact that just 17 goals were scored in total in the 15-minute period.

In the end, it was Trinidad and Tobago’s physicality and superior shooting accuracy that triumphed over Singapore’s speed. They started pulling away in the third quarter and extended their lead in the fourth to wrap up a 49-36 victory – their first of the Netball World Cup 2023.

That also saw the Calypso Girls extending their record of wins over Singapore at the Netball World Cup to six out of six.

Trinidad and Tobago goal shooter Afeisha Noel was named Most Valuable Player and said: “A first win for Trinidad and Tobago is really good. To come out of this group in the top three is an honour.

“I think our composure made the difference today. We went to the changeroom and we spoke as a team, the coach spoke to us and told us to regroup and then we came back out and we dominated… Our coach always tells us short and sharp passes and that’s what we did.”

Singapore goal shooter Amandeep Chahal said: “I did get a few pushes and nudges but I guess that’s just the physicality of the game, so you just have to stand strong.

As for her side’s troubles in the shooting circle, Chahal added: “I guess we just have to regroup and come back stronger tomorrow, work on our shooting and shooter passes, like triangles and stuff, just to bring the ball closer and improve the accuracy.”

 

SCORES

Q1: 13-10

Q2: 21-19 (8-9)

Q3: 34-30 (13-11)

Q4: 49-36 (15-6)

 

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER:  Afeisha Noel (Trinidad and Tobago)

Match reports: Wins for SA, Jamaica, England, Malawi

SOUTH AFRICA 61-50 WALES

South Africa cleared the first hurdle in their Netball World Cup 2023 campaign when they beat Wales 61-50 at a packed CTICC in Cape Town.  

The Welsh team didn’t only have to contend with the superiority of the Proteas on the court but also the deafening roar of the home crowd in the stands. There was cheering, dancing and singing throughout the 60-minute encounter that undoubtedly fuelled the home side’s determination to make their country proud.  

Player of the tournament at the 2019 Netball World Cup in Liverpool Karla Pretorius made her 99th appearance for the Proteas and was in great form, putting her impressive defensive abilities on full display. 

In the first two quarters, South Africa showed why they are fifth on the latest world rankings compared to Wales’ ninth position. They had the height advantage over their opponents as well as the speed and agility across court. The Proteas went into the lead 32-24, with Ine-Marie Venter having a stellar performance as goal shooter, finding the net time after time.  

While most of the players settled well into their positions, Elmeré van der Berg seemed to struggle to find her feet. Welsh defenders Ella Powell-Davies and Christina Shaw pounced on Van der Berg’s nervousness, keeping her from making her mark on the big stage. Her shooting average of 50 per cent was clear evidence of that and she moved to the bench for the final two quarters of the match, being replaced by Nichole Taljaard. Coach Norma Plummer also brought on Jeanté Strydom (for Shadine van der Merwe) who made her international debut for South Africa. 

Wales didn’t make any substitutions until the third quarter with Nansi Kuti replacing Georgia Rowe at goal shooter. It was also Kuti’s debut for Wales.  

In the final stretch of the match, South Africa started pulling away. They used their status as one of the most experienced teams at the World Cup in terms of international caps and upped the tempo to completely shut out the Welsh and clinch an important victory on the first day of action.  

Plummer was beaming with pride about Venter’s performance that saw her named the Most Valuable Player. 

“Her growth has been phenomenal. She had outstanding shooting for us,” said Plummer.

“It was a win, not what I necessarily would call a convincing win. I thought our first quarter was sensational but then the Welsh notched it up in the second and third quarters. We started spraying balls and that was disappointing. There’s a lot of information that we now have and that we can use and work on.” 

On Sunday, the Proteas face Jamaica who stacked 105 goals against Sri Lanka. Captain Bongi Msomi said they are not looking that far ahead.  

“We are taking it day by day. Next it’s Sri Lanka. In 2019 we were in the same situation, anything can happen on any day. But first things first, and that’s tomorrow.” 

SCORES: 
Q1: 18-9 
Q2: 32-24 (14-15) 
Q3: 47-37 (15-13) 
Q4: 61-50 (14-13) 

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Ine-Marie Venter (South Africa) 

JAMAICA 105-25 SRI LANKA

Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls got their tournament off to a storming start, notching up a formidable 100-point total in their opening Group C match against Sri Lanka.

That was only the second time the Jamaicans have scored 100 goals on the World Cup stage and the 14 th time that the century mark has been surpassed by any team in the tournament’s 60-year history. 

The last time the milestone was achieved was in 2015 when Sri Lanka was also on the receiving end of a 101-18 drubbing at the hands of Malawi.

On Friday, the Jamaicans slotted in 11 goals before the Sri Lankans got themselves on the scoreboard.

Goal shooter Romelda Aiken-George notched up a 100 per cent shooting average in the opening quarter, scoring 19 of her side’s 26 goals. This is the 34-year-old’s fifth Netball World Cup, so equalling the Jamaican record jointly held by her coach, Connie Francis, and Janet Johnson.

Sri Lanka won the Asian qualifying tournament to book their place at the Netball World Cup but found it tough going against the slick Jamaican outfit, reaching halftime facing a 41-goal deficit.

Jhaniele Fowler came on for the first time in the third quarter and notched up a near-perfect 24 out of 25 goals as the Jamaicans continued to dominate. She added 18 more in the fourth quarter to finish with a 97.7 shooting average – both she and Aiken-George (97.1 percent) making the most of their significant height advantage in the circle.

It was Rebekah Robinson who slotted in the Jamaicans’ 100 th goal of the match in the final quarter as they romped to a 105-25 victory.

Speaking after the match, coach Francis said: “I loved the way the girls went out there and put on a fantastic show… I am so proud that they were able to execute well throughout the court.

“It was good to get all the girls out there and you know what I was happy about, was the different types of combinations that we could run and we were able to see that the girls were executing it.”

Commenting on her side surpassing the 100-goal mark, Francis simply added: “The girls set specific targets and to see them attain them was really good.”

Sri Lankan captain Gayanjali Amarawansa admitted afterwards: “For Asians this was a very tough game. This is the first time we have played against Jamaica so we had a good experience. I think we have to experience games like this so it was a good one.

“Toughness and physicality are the good lessons for us so we hope to go ahead with that.”

SCORES:
Q1: 26-5
Q2: 52-11 (26-6)
Q3: 75-18 (23-7)
Q4: 105-25 (30-7)

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Latanya Wilson (Jamaica)

ENGLAND 90 – 29 BARBADOS

England also got their bid for a first ever Netball World Cup crown off to a positive start, producing a commanding performance against Barbados in their opening Group B encounter.

The match was unique in that it saw England’s Geva Mentor and Jade Clark as well as Barbados’s Latonia Blackman all stepping out on the Netball World Cup stage for an incredible record-equalling sixth time.

The two sides have met a total of six times in Netball World Cup history, with the island nation never having gotten the better of the Roses.

While the Bajan Gems had a positive start to the match, staying in touch for the first five minutes, seven unanswered goals from England towards the end of the quarter saw them surging further ahead than they already were to reach the first break 20-8 up.

The English didn’t look back from there, dominating on all fronts, winning the next quarter by the same 12-goal margin and continuing that ascendency.

Barbados could manage just four goals in the third period and things didn’t go much better in the fourth, the Roses rolling out comfortable 90-29 winners.

England coach Jess Thirlby was understandably pleased with her team’s performance, in which World Cup debutante Funmi Fadoju was named the Most Valuable Player.

“I’m really pleased. It’s a solid start. I think while we’re not getting carried away with the scoreboard, one of the learnings for us is to make sure we’re more consistent quarter on quarter, irrelevant of changes… and I actually thought quarter on quarter we got stronger, we found more ball through the game which was great, we adjusted.

“It’s a confidence boost but we’re not getting carried away, we have bigger challenges to come in the next couple of days.”

Barbados coach Denise Alleyne said: “I think we had a really good first half, we stuck to the gameplan for the most part. We didn’t convert as many as we would have liked but we were able to move the ball around and we had some good spots. We had a bit of a mental lapse in the third quarter that spilled over to the fourth but for the most part, I saw some good things happening and we have some stuff we can improve upon for our next game.

Speaking about Blackman playing in her sixth Netball World Cup, she added: “It’s just great, Latonia is a patriot at heart. It’s interesting because my very last tournament as a player was her first so we actually played together for one tournament. I hope it’s not her last. She still has a lot to offer – her spirit, her personality, everything she stands for is what Barbados netball is all about.”

SCORES:
Q1: 20-8
Q2: 42-18 (22-10)
Q3: 65-22 (23-4)
Q4: 90-29 (25-7)

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Funmi Fadoju (England)

MALAWI 55-49 SCOTLAND

In a pulsating match at the Netball World Cup 2023, the Malawi Queens scored a 55-49 come-from-behind victory over Scotland. It was the first time these two sides have met in the history of the sport’s showpiece tournament.

Before the tournament started, Scotland captain Claire Maxwell said her team wanted to shake the tag of underachievers. This result certainly didn’t do anything to achieve what she set out to do.

The match started with a bang as Malawi's shooting duo, Joyce Mvula and Jane Chimaliro, displayed remarkable accuracy, converting all their chances at goal in the first quarter. But despite their impeccable shooting, Malawi struggled to retain possession, with only 37 per cent of the ball in their hands. Scotland held a comfortable 17-9 lead at the end of the first quarter and it looked like an upset was on the cards.

In the second 15 minutes, the African team kicked into high gear, proving their mettle and resilience. With fresh legs stepping in from the bench, the team started gradually chipping away at the seemingly insurmountable lead Scotland had established earlier on.

Scotland, on the other hand, started the first three quarters with an unchanged lineup, sticking to their initial strategy of staying with the tried and tested. They introduced replacements in the final 15 minutes in an attempt to salvage the match but it was not to be.

Malawi will undoubtedly want to build on the exceptional performance against Scotland with their eyes set on the playoffs. For their opponents it is time to regroup and refine their match strategies, hoping to bounce back stronger.

Q1: 17-9
Q2: 29-22 (12-13)
Q3: 41-35 (12-13)
Q4: 55-49 (20-8)

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Joyce Mvula (Malawi)

Sri Lanka’s Sivalingam shooting for great heights

At almost seven feet tall, Tharjini Sivalingam is hard to miss in the shooting circle.

She’s not only the tallest player to take part in the Netball World Cup 2023 (NWC2023) in Cape Town but is also the tallest person in her hometown in Sri Lanka.

While the goal shooter admits her height has been an advantage on the netball court, it has certainly not been so in regular life.

“Rather disadvantages. I would say there are a lot of challenges in my life and day-to-day activities,” she explained.

“In netball, of course, height is always an advantage which cannot be denied by anyone. I have been playing goal shooter always, I have perfect coordination with my girls – using both height and coordination from my teammates, I could make more goals in every match,” she added.

While her team finished in 15 th place at the Netball World Cup 2019 in Liverpool, Sivalingam emerged as the tournament’s top shooter, netting 348 goals in her seven matches.

She was also the top goal-scorer at the 2011 tournament in Singapore and hopes to do the same at the NWC2023 in Cape Town, which gets under way this Friday.

“I am humble about those achievements,” said Sivalingam.

“As I always say, it’s a team sport and all credit should be equally shared among the players. Therefore, I am really proud of my team for those achievements. I am pretty confident with my team and we hope to repeat the show again with better achievement.”

At 44 years old, Sivalingam has confirmed this will be her last appearance at a Netball World Cup. It’s been a remarkable journey after growing up in war-torn Sri Lanka as the fifth of six siblings and only learning to play netball while studying economics at university.

“Before university, I did only high jump at school level,” she explained.

“Since I was born and grew up in the war in Sri Lanka, I could not really enjoy competitive sports in my childhood. I started my netball career at my university… from there I was identified based on my height and flexibility to the national practices.

“That’s how I entered Sri Lanka Netball in 2008.”

Sivalingam has certainly made up for lost time and became the first netball player from her country to play professionally when she was recruited to Australia’s state netball league as part of Victoria’s City West Falcons side.

“Netball brings people together and every day I build up a very good network locally and internationally,” she said.

“I have earned a lot of fans who have been always encouraging and motivating me in my every step. Also, whenever I play for my nation, that gives me extra energy.

“Since this is my last World Cup and last international tour representing Mother Sri Lanka I cannot say a lot, but simply thanks for all the love, to each and every one.”

As for still managing to play at international level well into her 40s, Sivalingam reckoned: “Thank God, I have good health and stamina to play.

“Since I have seen many struggles from childhood, I can strive hard for anything – with that motivation, I always think positively and keep playing as long as possible.”

Sri Lanka have been grouped together with Jamaica, hosts South Africa and Wales for the preliminary round of matches. They play Jamaica on Friday before taking on South Africa on Saturday and Wales on Sunday.

“Our team is well set and the players have good motivation and are excited to play the World Cup. We are looking forward to showing our best as always,” said Sivalingam.

“We have a good team spirit, coordination and confidence within us. We hope for the best results in every quarter of each match.”

The NWC2023 takes place from 28 th July to 6 th August at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

Details on tickets and travel packages and more information on the NWC2023 are all available on the official tournament website (www.nwc2023.org.za) with a range of tickets and packages still on offer.