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Superleague stars maintain momentum in day six of Vitality Netball World Cup

Picture by Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com - 17/07/2019 - Netball - Vitality Netball World Cup 2019 - Jamaica v Scotland - M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool, England - Lynsey Gallagher of Scotland.

Day six of the Vitality Netball World Cup got underway on Wednesday with teams from Group G and Group E returning to the M&S Bank Arena, after a well-deserved rest day for their second match of Preliminaries Stage Two.

Our Vitality Netball Superleague stars were out to impress once more. Here’s your roundup for the day:

Session 9:

Group E: Sri Lanka 44 – 59 Fiji

Fiji recorded their second win in a row to open the day’s proceedings. Facing up to Sri Lankan goal shooter Tharjini Sivalingam, Celtic Dragons defender Dee Bolakoro faced a tough challenge in marshalling the 6’8″ powerhouse who currently tops the table as the competition’s top goalscorer. The victory means the Pearls will go onto face Samoa in the 13th-place game on Friday morning.

Bolakoro commented on her side’s performance: “After losing two days ago, we went back, we had to regroup again and then we wanted to win today’s game to make it two in a row. We knew Sri Lanka was going to be a tough game as well but we were hoping to win again and I think it was just about keeping possession and executing every ball that we got.”

Group E: Singapore 49 – 63 Samoa

Samoa recorded a convincing victory over Singapore in the second game of the day, leaving Singapore yet to record a single win in the tournament. The game pitted top against bottom in Group E and that difference in placings was reflected on the court.

From the first quarter, which ended 9-16 in favour of the Samoans, it became evident which side would take the points.

With Samoa’s shooters recording impressive 100% and 93.8% shot rates throughout the game, their dominance in attack simply proved too much for Singapore to contend with. Toa Tanimo finished the match having converted 45 goals from 48 attempts, and her side won the final quarter by 19 goals to 15, the highest-scoring quarter of the game.

Session 10:

Group G: Trinidad & Tobago 46 – 72 Vitality Rose

Four of 2019’s Vitality Netball Superleague All Star VII took to the court as the Vitality Roses delivered a consistent performance throughout the quarters to dismiss the threat of Trinidad and Tobago.

Wasps Netball’s Rachel Dunn, Team Bath’s Serena Guthrie and Loughborough Lightning’s Nat Panagarry started for the Vitality Roses while Kalifa McCollin, who departed Celtic Dragons for Southern Steel in the ANZ Premiership, began for the Calypso Girls. McCollin brought her Superleague form into this match with an accomplished display at goal attack as she achieved 90% shooting accuracy, as well as eight assists and 17 feeds.

However, the unbeaten Vitality Roses were not in a generous mood and opened up an eight-point lead in the first quarter with Haythornthwaite’s energy and creativity unsettling her opponents; she notched 18 assists. Team Bath’s Eboni Usoro-Brown and Wasps Netball’s Fran Williams brought security to their defence with the former making four interceptions – the most in the match. Wasps Netball’s Jade Clarke was typically influential in the first-half as she shifted from wing defence to centre.

Panagarry spoke after the victory: “It’s really nice to play with the other Superleague girls and to be on the same team as Nat [Panagarry], Serena [Guthrie], Rachel [Dunn] and Eboni [Usoro-Brown] and I’m learning so much from them all. We have a lot of familiarity both as opposition in the Superleague and then as teammates in the full-time programme so it’s building on those relationships and learning from each other.

“I personally think, in tomorrow’s match, I can bring knowledge of playing against Bongi [Msomi] with her usually at wing attack for Wasps Netball and me at wing defence for Lightning so there is that familiarity. A lot of the girls from both teams now compete at Quad Series and play with others in Suncorp Super Netball so we know their strengths but they also know ours so it’s about finding the weaknesses.”

Group G: Jamaica 67 – 36 Scotland

Scotland and their 11 Vitality Netball Superleague stars faced off Jamaica in the evening, the side ranked second in the world according to the International Netball Federation. After a tough defeat in their last outing with South Africa, the Scots came out fighting in the opening quarter.

In fact, the underdogs triumphed over a lacklustre Jamaica in an enticing first 15 minutes. In arguably what was their best quarter of netball at this year’s Vitality Netball World Cup so far, Strathclyde Sirens’ Claire Maxwell and her side were 13-14 ahead.

The Sunshine Girls quickly responded and showed exactly why they were so feared before the tournament began. The favourites, hurting after losses to South Africa and the Vitality Roses respectively, went into half-time leading by 11 and they extended this advantage by 24 before the fourth quarter.

Jodi-Ann Ward of Severn Stars and Celtic Dragons’ Stacian Facey impressed as they helped their side eventually record a 42-23 victory, restricting their Scottish counterparts to just 22 goals after their impressive first quarter.

Teenage goal shooter Emma Barrie said: “I think that’s the first time we ever won a quarter against Jamaica so that’s a really positive thing. We definitely learned a lot today. We’ll go back to the hotel, do analysis, see where we went wrong and we’ll come back stronger against Trinidad and Tobago.

“Having so many Sirens players [in the squad] definitely helps. We’ve had previous experiences together in pressure situations so that’s been really good for us coming into this Vitality Netball World Cup.”

Group G: South Africa 67 – 40 Uganda

South Africa enjoyed the best possible preparation for their heavyweight battle with the Vitality Roses on Thursday with a victory against Uganda. The SPAR Proteas’ win would not come easy, however, as the She Cranes have proved more than capable against fearsome opposition. With Peace Proscovia, who scored 10 from 11 attempts, the Ugandans battled hard but lost the first quarter by nine goals.

With the backing of the home crowd and their pocket of supporters in the stands, the underdogs were far from riled by their initial setback. They went into half-time having won the second quarter and followed up a fine 15 minutes with a fast start in the third.

The South Africans find themselves on top form this summer, though, and were not going to relinquish their lead. They went onto win that third quarter by five and the 21-7 scoreline in the final quarter ensured them of a place in their first Vitality Netball World Cup semi-final.

The Vitality Netball Superleague quartet of Maryka Holtzhausen (Severn Stars), Sigi Burger (Surrey Storm), Shadine Van Der Merwe (Surrey Storm) and Bongiwe Msomi (Wasps Netball) will all appear in the last four.

Holtzhausen said: “It’s still a bit surreal. We knew beforehand what we needed to achieve in this game and so I’m just happy we could break that curse of playing for a fifth position and we’re in that top four. I can’t really believe it.”

Keep up to date on all the live action by following @NetballSL on Twitter.

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