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Netball Super League athletes continue their journey at the Netball World Cup on day four

Welcome back to the Netball World Cup x Netball Super League (NSL) updates blog, where you can keep on top of all that’s going on in Cape Town! In this article, you will find score updates, standout players and much more. Come back daily to read about your NSL stars!

Fixtures:

With BBC coverage starting from today, the excitement that netball is going to be even more accessible for the fans is super exciting!

Australia vs Scotland:

Monday morning, bright and early… what a beautiful day for one of the home nations to face the Australian Diamonds. World number one vs world number 10. A squad of Scottish Thistles, some of who have never played against an Aussie side before. With the Thistles’ starting seven featuring all NSL players, their goal was to grow their connections amongst their team. Five of the starting seven come from Strathclyde Sires, with the powerhouse unit in defence of Claire Maxwell, Emily Nicholl and Rachel Conway. The shooting duo of Bethan Goodwin and Niamh McCall were to come up against some of Australia’s best defenders of Courtney Bruce and Jo Weston. The mid-court magic would come from Manchester Thunder’s Iona Christian, who is a firm favourite of the commentating team so far this tournament. Hannah Leighton of Celtic Dragons was a pivotal player in the first quarter with an early turnover for her side in the opening few minutes.  Some beautiful vision from Christian found Nicholl home alone in the circle, but Bruce was clinical in marking the shot and turned over the ball. The first quarter ended 21-9.

Sirens’ Cerys Cairns appeared with the goal attack bib after the break, providing her attacking unit with a different option in the circle. The Thistles defence put in a hard shift against the Diamonds’ attacking unit – Steph Wood being a play maker for her Australian side. The attempt to zone and shut down their attacking unit was somewhat successful for the Thistles however as their turnovers were converted by Cairns. The Diamonds picked up their pace and went on a goal scoring spree, doubling their score after the first quarter, leading at half time 43-16.

Emma Barrie made an appearance on court for the Thistles after the half time break. The match up between Barrie and Bruce was a spectacle to behold as both continuously tussled for the ball, but Barrie came out victorious. Her on court strength proved tough for Bruce who still managed to get round her on some occasion. Leighton’s standing jump was instrumental in her side winning some ball on the Diamonds’ circle edge. Her height and vision did not go unnoticed by the commentary team who showed their appreciation to the Dragon’s athlete. The Thistles managed to hold the Diamonds to their lowest quarter score so far this tournament, making the third quarter the Scottish sides highest scoring in the game. The whistle blew with the score going into the quarter 58-28.

Quarter four for the Thistles was about enjoying playing against the number one team in the world. Their pace intensified, their goals were going in and their energy was high. Christian’s effort to win ball as well as keep it for her side did not go unnoticed as she worked hard, pacing up and down the court against one of Australian’s best, Jamie Lee-Price. As the timer ticked down, the Australian powerhouse side showed class against the Thistles, who managed to keep it to the Diamond’s lowest scoring game. The full time whistle blew and the game concluded, 76-37.

Zimbabwe vs Barbados:

A hotly anticipated clash between Barbados and Zimbabwe opened up the Preliminary Round Two stage for Group E this morning with both sides looking to claim their first victory in this World Cup.

The NSL sibling stars, Kadeen and Sasha Corbin, opened the Barbados line up as goal attack and wing attack respectively, with Zimbabwe’s captain, Surrey Storm’s Kwangwa at goal defence looking to shut down Kadeen Corbin’s dynamic movement. Barbados delivered instant impact, taking a 15-8 lead in the first quarter.

Team Bath’s Kadeen Corbin held strongly under the post strong; incorporating her trademark rolls and pick-ups to open spaces in the attacking circle for both herself and Goal Shooter Latonia Blackman. Saracen MavericksSasha Corbin delivered an equally impressive performance at wing attack; her high work-rate was evident as she repeatedly drove deep into the centre third to move the ball quickly up the court and into the attacking circle.

Kwangwa found herself delivering a high penalty rate, and the Zimbabwe coach decided to mix things up against Barbados and substituted Kwangwa part way through a punishing second half for Zimbabwe; with Barbados extending their lead to 35-16.

The Gems regrouped at half time and returned to court with a clear appetite for battle. A shift in momentum saw the quarter end in a 15-15 draw, and a fourth quarter all to play for. Continuing their focus on maintaining possession and making careful decisions, Zimbabwe posted their first winning quarter of the match, 14-12, with an impressive scoring rate for the match of 93%.

However, it wasn’t enough to overdo Barbados’ terrifically strong first half and the Bajan Gems locked their first victory of the tournament: 62-45. The Corbin sisters maintained their momentum for the whole match, delivering impressive performances. Sasha Corbin offered a fantastic 23 goal assists and six turnovers, while Kadeen was the match’s top goal scorer with 38 goals.

Wales vs New Zealand:

Celtic Dragon’s legend Clare Jones kicked off Wales fixture against New Zealand. With the news broken this morning that the Silver Ferns’ main goal shooter, Grace Nweke, has been ruled out of the remainder of the Netball World Cup due to a knee injury, Wales were keen to crack the new attacking unit of New Zealand. The height of Georgia Rowe continued to work in the Feathers’ favour as wing attack Shona O’Dwyer repeatedly fed in the perfect ball to her shooter. Goal attack Phillipa Yarranton has made a name for herself at this tournament – her high shooting stats and memorable movement has been discussed amongst commentary teams and other national teams themselves as a player to watch out for. Captain of the Feathers and Leeds Rhinos, Nia Jones was as vocal as ever on court, encouraging her team mates after every pass made and celebrating every small win. The first 15 minutes ended with New Zealand in the lead, 8-19.

Quarter two started with a bang as New Zealand came out of the blocks with smoke coming from their trainers. Zoe Matthewman came on at goal attack after the break, giving the Feathers another option in their attacking unit to open up the circle, allowing more room for Rowe to move around. Saracens Mavericks’ Christina Shaw proved her strength against New Zealand’s goal shooter, reaching for every ball and jumping for every rebound possible. Team Bath’s Bethan Dyke at wing attack supported O’Dwyer in the centre court by giving new patterns of movement to the flow of the game. New Zealand continued their lead into half time, 16-40.

In the third quarter, Matthewman started off strong; starting off the line to ensure a clear run into the centre third to receive the centre pass. An equally contested 15 minutes saw New Zealand become frustrated with the Feathers’ new flow of attack. Nia Jones’ non stop running put pressure on the Silver Ferns’ attack with the help of Shaw hunting for interceptions. The score leading into the final 15 minutes was 22-65.

Clare Jones was back to start the final quarter, with their first centre pass being intercepted straight away. The commitment of Nia Jones fighting for ball was displayed as a knee slide into the Silver Ferns’ shooting circle. The Captain was hot on the heels of her attacker. Rowe also returned to court, showcasing her impressive split landing, allowing herself to get closer to the post when shooting. Yarranton managed to convert a turnover made by Dragons team mate Clare Jones but the ball was quickly back in the hands of the Silver Ferns. With New Zealand picking up 13 deflections, the Welsh Feathers continued to push hard right until the final whistle. The end score was 34-83.

Fiji vs Malawi:

Strathclyde Sirens’ Towera Vinkhumbo took to the court as goal keeper in Malawi’s first match of the Preliminary Stage Two round. Working with goal defence Jane Dambo, the pair provided a solid defensive circle from the first whistle against a well-versed Fijian shooting partnership of Rusivakula and Rauluni.

The Fijian Pearls started strong in the opening minutes; pulling two out in front in the first quarter. The Queens quickly stepped up their game and began to find the flow which has been a trademark of this regular starting seven line-up in the World Cup so far. At the end of the first quarter, Malawi had stamped an authoritative 20-10 lead which the Pearls would struggle to fight back from.

Following a disappointing first quarter, the Fijian Peals hit the second fifteen minutes in style. A lot of variety in attack; mixing up swings across the circle with short, fast passes helped to keep Vinkhumbo and The Queens more at bay. By the half time whistle, possession was exactly 50:50 between the sides, with Malawi coming out on top with a 95% shooting average compared to Fiji’s 85% leading to a half-time score of 36-23 to The Queens.

The third quarter saw Fiji increase their work rate, focused on converting possession and taking turnovers from Malawi where possible. The tactics gave the Peals their best quarter yet; securing an 11-11 draw with fifteen minutes left to play.

As often demonstrated in the NSL season for Sirens’, Vinkhumbo was able to maintain her intensity for the full match. A commanding presence at the back of the court, the Keeper was vocal in shutting down Fiji’s attempts to switch in the circle and helped keep Malawi steady to ensure they battled out the closing minutes of the match to secure a 62-48 victory.

Jamaica vs Uganda: 

Loughborough Lightning’s Mary Cholhok started for the Uganda She Cranes this afternoon. The game started going goal for goal with Jamaica breaking away after the first five minutes. The match up between Cholhok and Shameera Sterling for Jamaica was hotly anticipated due to their playing styles as well as height in the circle. The Sunshine Girls were not short of flare and class in their performance in the opening half, using Jhaniele Fowler as their main target. However, Cholhok’s split landing was just phenomenal, needing a whole paragraph dedicated to it as she made it look so easy. Her movement out of the circle allowed the She Cranes to open up their vision as well as using their goal attack to run the backline space. Going into the half-time break, the Sunshine Girls lead, 38-21.

The second half for Uganda saw a few changes come for their team – Cholhok was still standing strong in the shooting circle, ensuring she adjusted her body angles depending on where the ball was landing on the circle edge. The She Cranes defensive unit worked relentlessly against Fowler, but her height as well as positioning proved just a little too difficult this time round. With Fowler then being replaced by Romelda Aiken-George, Fowler’s 100% shooting stats would be hard to follow… not for Aiken-George though as she followed in Fowler’s footsteps, also scoring at 100%. The She Cranes fought hard to the end with a buzzer beater shot by Cholhok, but the Jamaican side were just too strong today, winning 61-48.

Tonga vs England:

Imogen Allison of Team Bath kicked off the Vitality Roses campaign against Tonga, hoping to get their fourth consecutive win of the tournament. Donned in their black and pink dresses, the Vitality Roses took their first CP straight to goal. With Funmi Fadoju of London Pulse and Fran Williams from Loughborough Lightning in the defensive unit together, they were a force to be reckoned with as they managed to rack up a few turnovers in the first quarter. Co-Captain and Manchester Thunder Captain Nat Metcalf was a real workhorse in this first 15 minutes; driving the ball to circle edge, being on the reset if necessary and re-offering her services on the third line. The first quarter ended 13-19.

With the introduction of ex-NSL star Cat Tuivaiti, Williams nor Fadoju were fazed by her tricks and skills, as Fadoju tipped the ball away from one of these passes. With England going on a 6 goal run, Allison was a real playmaker for her side. Continuously fighting for ball and not giving up. She was stuck to her player like glue. The link up between her and Laura Malcolm in the centre third with Metcalf, made it easy for the English attacking unit to find the space and execute perfect ball placement. The quick transitions from the defensive end to the Roses’ attacking end reflected well on their performance and the scoreline going into half time, 38-22.

London Pulse centre Jade Clarke made an appearance after half time for the Vitality Roses. Another legend of the game, Clarke is England’s most capped player, adding another one to her name today. The tenacity of the team kept the game flowing, with Liv Tchine and Chelsea Pitman showing off their Pulse connection in a Roses dress. Fadoju was still on top form, picking up numerous turnovers and deflections with new defending partner, Layla Guscoth of Surrey Storm. The quarter ended with the Vitality Roses maintaining their lead, 36-53.

The song of Tonga was heard in the stands as the fans sang in beautiful tone to celebrate their team for the final quarter. With all players getting a run out on court today, our NSL superstars shone as they picked up the most deflections, had the highest shooting percentage and received the most centre passes without disruption for the duration of the game. The connection between Cardwell and Pitman was sublime, with Pitman’s ball placement being exactly where Cardwell needed it. Clarke’s experience on the court showed as she showcased her talent in her vision and ball placement yet again. The final score was 46-72, where the Vitality Roses now face Fiji tomorrow night.

South Africa vs Trinidad and Tobago:

An explosive atmosphere filled the arena as the host nation took to the court against Trinidad & Tobago in the first match of the Preliminary Stage Two round.

Saracens Mavericks’ Ine-Mari Venter was powerful for South Africa at goal shooter; demonstrating the control and athleticism which make her such a threat to defenders. Further down the court, Manchester Thunder’s Shadine Van der Merwe started at wing defence, utilising her vision and speed to apply huge pressure to the Calypso Girls’ mid-court.

Trinidad & Tobago’s captain, Celtic Dragons’ Shaquanda Greene-Noel started at goal defence for the side. Up against Nicholé Taljaard, Greene-Noel worked hard to pressurize the shooter, reading the attacking movement to force the range shots as much as possible. The first quarter started closely, with no more than two goals difference. Soon the SPAR Proteas began to settle and convert fast passages of play into goals, ending the first quarter with an 18-12 lead.

In the second half, Greene-Noel worked with goal keeper Daystar Swift effectively, forcing the Proteas’ to alter their style of play with Venter coming out of the circle more to offer an alternative option for the mid-court feeders. Gaps started to open up in the Trinidad & Tobago side, with Van Der Merwe’s work rate apparent and helping South Africa to push their lead to 33-15.

Green-Noel re-joined play part way through the third quarter at goal keeper, encouraging her team and showcasing fantastic deflections to keep the ball out of the Proteas’ hands as much as possible. At 51-21 and with fifteen minutes left of play. Shadine Van Der Merwe moved to GD for the final quarter, tasked with keeping the Calypso Girls’ away from the net. Despite a shooting average of 82% compared to Trinidad & Tobago’s 90%, the Proteas dominated and when the final whistle blew, they stood victorious at 69-28.

Make sure to follow all NSL social media channels for updates continuing over the rest of the tournament: @NetballSL on TwitterInstagram and TikTok.

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