Jamaican centre player Shadian Hemmings outplays Namibian Wing Defence (and vice-captain) Delila Keja
CAPETOWN - In the first match of the day, the surprise team of the tournament – Uganda - gave the Brits a run for their money. Losing to Great Britain by only one goal, and outscoring them by 9 goals in the last quarter left the East African team feeling triumphant with a 44-45 score. In a post-match interview, Ugandan captain Irene Mirembe said that their secret was to focus on defence and morale. She said that her team was improving day by day and that they would have something to take back home with them.
Michelle Drayne in action against Zimbabwe Great Britain Captain Natalie Haythornthwaite said that they knew Uganda was going to be a tough challenge, and that a number of factors gave them the competitive edge in the match; “Due to them having a really tall shooter, meant that we had to intercept the ball before it got to the goal circle. Also, Uganda uses very short, sharp passes so it was really hard for us to get a clean interception.”
Great Britain is top of their pool and will play against the new kids on the block; USA, tomorrow at 16h00.
A bit of a scrappy second match saw Ireland take on Zimbabwe. Both teams didn’t seem to play to the best of their ability, with Ireland missing a number of shots at goal, and Zimbabwe losing concentration when nearing their goal circle. Ireland coach Elaine McLaughlin put the breakdown in play to the unconventional style of the Zimbabweans; “playing against Zimbabwe who have an African style of netball that we’re not really used to, using a lot of short passes makes it hard for us to break down. But I think our girls did a great job in the first quarter, which meant that we could run our bench and try out different combinations in the second, third and fourth quarters.” The final score was 83-27 to Ireland.
South Africa went undefeated in the group stages after beating the USA 93-14. It was not quite the drubbing they had hoped for, as South Africa lost focus towards the end of the match. Having kept a clean sheet in the first quarter, taking a 29-0 lead, the hosts conceded just one goal in the second quarter, and went into the half-time break 52-1 ahead.
Another century seemed on the cards but, as the home side experimented with different combinations, the Americans threw caution to the wind and came back to score four goals in the third and nine in the final quarter of the match.
Passing was sloppy and goals took longer to come by for the South Africans -- in stark contrast to the first half of the game, where it took literally a couple of seconds between each of their goals.
Coach Dorette Badenhorst said the girls lost focus after centre Danique du Toit was assisted off the court with an ankle injury. "It's not always easy to keep your focus in a game like this," Badenhorst said, referring to the huge gap between the two teams. "We can learn a lot from today's game because the girls lost concentration after the injury."We need to realise that if there is an injury, we must play as a team and keep our focus on the game."
She said Du Toit, the back-up centre, would almost certainly be out for the rest of the tournament.
South Africa's captain Maryka Holtzhausen felt it was more a question of finding the right combinations than keeping themselves focused. "I don't think we took our foot off the pedal," Hotzhausen said. "We just changed our combinations and it didn't work as well as it did at the start of the match "But I didn't think it went that badly in the last two quarters."
South Africa’s Goal Shooter Anja Opperman aims for goal during their match against the USA
USA's South African-born coach, Ilze Gideons and captain Shallyn Reeves, formerly of New Zealand, were more upbeat after the match. Despite losing all their group games, Gideons said they were pleased with their performances so far. "We had set ourselves a target of five goals per quarter so, when that didn't work, we just told the girls to keep fighting but the score doesn't matter anymore," Gideons said. "We told them to just keep going, play hard and enjoy themselves."We've only been playing together for four months as a team so we didn't want to overload them with pressure."
South Africa face Namibia in their quarterfinal game on Thursday and Badenhorst said the team were ready. "We played really good netball over the last three days and worked to play our own game," Badenhorst said. "We are building up nicely to the quarterfinals and have done all our preparations. "It won't be an easy game against Namibia, as they're a good team, but the girls are ready and psyched up for a good match."
In the last match of the day, the Sunshine Girls University team, consisting of 6 of their professional players, downed Namibia in a 68-35 game. Despite both teams having a similar goal scoring average, 79% and 72% respectively, the Namibians couldn’t hold on to their possession, and their scores decreased whilst Jamaica’s increased in the second and last quarter. Likely to face South Africa in the semi-finals, Jamaican captain Trishell Williams said that her team would be working on mental and visual work this evening; “in order to work out strategies so that we come out victorious.”
Great Britain bt Uganda 45-44
Ireland bt Zimbabwe 83-27
South Africa bt USA 93-14
Jamaica bt Namibia 68-35
Quarterfinals will be played tomorrow as follows:
10h00: South Africa vs. Namibia
12h00: Ireland vs. Uganda
14h00: Zimbabwe vs. Jamaica
16h00: USA vs. Great Britain
(Source: Natasha Marot, OC - Picture credit: Jude Williams / FISU)Read more