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Commonwealth Games: Group stages completed with bumper day

The group stages are done and dusted, the semi-finals and classification matches have been decided and we have just about got our breath back – it’s time to dissect day seven.

England will go for gold in the second semi-final on Saturday after defeating New Zealand in the final group game and will now face Australia who suffered a shock loss to Jamaica. 

South Africa held their nerve against a spirited Scotland to set up a 5th-place play-off with Uganda who defeated Malawi in an all-Africa clash. 

Malawi will meet Wales who got their second victory of the Games over winless Barbados while Scotland will take on Northern Ireland, who secured a maiden victory against Trinidad & Tobago -who will meet their Caribbean rivals in 11th-place play-off. 

England top Pool A 

England knew heading into their clash with New Zealand: win and they would face Australia, lose and they would face Jamaica – a reminder that there is no easy game on the path to gold. 

They also knew they were coming up against the team ranked second in the world who had won the 2019 World Cup on English soil, but the Roses did not play like it. 

England took a four-goal lead into the first break before New Zealand reeled them in to make it 25-24 to the home side at the break. 

The Roses regrouped and were soon well ahead again with the substitutes bringing the energy and the crowd bringing the noise with Team Bath captain Imogen Allison the definition of an impact player as she inspired England to a 54-44 victory. 

Northern Ireland clinch fifth spot 

Tenth took on 11th in Pool A as Trinidad & Tobago battled Northern Ireland with both looking for their first win of the tournament. 

It was the lower-ranked side who prevailed as Manchester Thunder’s Caroline O’Hanlon led the Warriors to a 41-32 victory after a blistering start put them on track for triumph. 

Northern Ireland have thus set up one more home nations clash in this Commonwealth Games coming up against Scotland in the 9th-place play-off, the Thistles ranked one place above Trinidad & Tobago in ninth. 

Meanwhile, the Calypso Girls, who are skippered by Celtic Dragons’ Shaquanda Greene-Noel, will face Barbados with one of them set to get their first win of the Games. 

South Africa seal third against Scotland 

South Africa didn’t have it all their own way in their 65-46 victory over Scotland that saw them sit best of the rest in Pool A. 

The Thistles kept the gap between them and the Proteas to just three points in each of the first two quarters, with Strathclyde Sirens’ Rachel Conway a defensive rock for Scotland at goalkeeper.

South Africa pulled clear in the second half thanks in part to a fine attacking performance from Saracens’ Ine-Mari Venter, who nailed 42 of her 44 attempts on goal. 

An all-African match-up is their reward with Uganda prevailing against Malawi in a clash which featured a welcome return to the court for captain Peace Proscovia in the final minutes. 

The skipper had been showing her worth from the bench as her invaluable experience was imparted to the younger SheCranes players. 

Wales topple Barbados for second win 

Wales earned an eight-goal lead in the first quarter and never relinquished it against Barbados as Severn Stars’ Bethan Dyke and Betsy Creak of Team Bath combined perfectly to set up a 60-44 win. 

Nia Jones’ side will now face Malawi in the 7th-place play-off tomorrow at 2:30pm with South Africa and Uganda following at 5pm. 

Trinidad and Tobago kick day eight off at 9am when they take on Barbados in the 11th-place play-off, and they will be followed by Scotland and Northern Ireland at 11:30am. 

Grab the popcorn, it will be a thriller. 

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