Scotland
GK Hayley Mulheron
GD Fiona Fowler
WD Samantha Murphy
C Claire Brownie (c)
WA Nicola McCleery
GA Lynsey Gallagher
GS Bethan Goodwin

Barbados
GK Shonette Azore-Bruce
GD Rhe-Ann Niles-Mapp (c)
WD Teresa Howell
C Rieah Holder
WA Sabreena Smith
GA Nikita Payne
GS Latonia Blackman

 

Scotland beat Barbados to 9th place in a dramatic game that ran into overtime. The end of regular time was reminiscent of Scotland’s round match against Malawi – a penalty goal needed after the whistle, to draw the scores.

The first quarter began as a low-scoring, even contest; until Barbados piled on five goals in the final minutes. The ball came down easily for Barbados through centre Rieah Holder. Great interplay between shooters Nikita Payne and Latonia Blackman kept dour Scottish defenders Fiona Fowler and Hayley Mulheron quiet. Payne dominated the first quarter, making Scotland look flat-footed.

Up the other end, Scotland shot at just 50 per cent in the first quarter, enabling Barbados to cruise to a seven goal lead by quarter time.

Barbados started the second quarter playing the possession game African and Caribbean nations do so well. Scotland remained hesitant with goal circle entries, but the Scottish team upped their defensive effort and midway through the quarter started to make some gains.

An intercept to Fowler, and six turnovers to Barbados under renewed Scottish pressure, closed the gap. As the defensive wins came, so did the shooting confidence for Scotland. They went into half-time two goals down, but with the momentum. Goal attack Lynsey Gallagher stepped up as the main shooter for the team.

The game became physical and spiteful at times. In the third quarter Barbados keeper Shonette Azore-Bruce was taken off in a wheelchair after an ugly collision with her already bandaged leg (she was later diagnosed with a slight hamstring tear). Barbados again stretched the lead out to five through accurate shooting and aerial defence from captain Rhe-Ann Niles-Mapp.

Scottish coach Gail Parata replaced Bethan Goodwin with Joanne Pettitt at GS. Pint-sized Gallagher continued to work low bounce passes around the circle to gain shooting position close to the post, and Pettitt acted as Gallagher’s feeder. Late in the third quarter Scotland surged again, pressuring Barbados into bad passes and levelling the scores at the final break.

Barbados again took an early lead in the final quarter after two nervous misses by Pettitt. Scottish captain Claire Brownie put her body on the line for her team and Fowler grabbed another desperate intercept, attempting to drag their team to victory.

With the lead in danger, Barbados coach Sandra Bruce-Small replaced Holder at C with Blackman, and introduced Shonica Wharton at GS. Wharton shot fearlessly and Barbados held a four goal lead with three minutes left. Barbados tried to soak up time playing the ball around; but couldn’t hold it, sending two balls sailing over the sideline.

Scotland had found it hard to score quickly throughout the match, but Gallagher was huge for Scotland in the final minutes of regular time. Today it was her turn to take the penalty shot after the final whistle to tie the match. She set herself, took a breath and nailed it – sending the game into overtime and the crowd into raptures.

The Longines GC2018 statistics page went into melt-down as another quarter was added for the first time in the tournament.

Scotland immediately took the lead for the first time in the match and stretched it out to two, but Barbados came back at them through flawless shooting by Wharton. The scores were again level at the end of the first seven minutes of overtime.

Parata made a gutsy decision to move Brownie to WD and bring Samantha Murphy on at C to apply more pressure in defence. Brownie lead the team by example, coming up with two inspirational gains; followed by a massive flying intercept to Fowler. Still Barbados wouldn’t lie down, Niles-Mapp taking a last gasp intercept of her own to bring Barbados back within one.

Scotland had to hold their centre passes under incredible pressure and it was Gallagher who lead them to victory, finishing with 35 goals at 95 per cent accuracy. The match finally ended with a two goal win to Scotland.

Scotland finished the tournament in 9th place, the same as their world ranking. Barbados finished in 10th, one placing above their ranking of world number 11 leading into the Games.

Scotland 50 def Barbados 48

Scotland celebrates. Photo: Simon Leonard

Scotland
Lynsey Gallagher 35/37 95%
Bethan Goodwin 13/21 62%
Joanne Pettitt 2/5 40%
Scotland 50/63 79%

Barbados
Nikita Payne 22/24 92%
Latonia Blackman 15/17 88%
Shonica Wharton 11/12 92%
Barbados 48/53 91%

Lynsey Gallagher, Scotland
“It was a nerve-wracking one! In training we did a drill – you’ve got five minutes, you’ve got three balls and you’ve got to keep it so like as long as we can nail that practice and we do it on the training court and bring it to the main playing court then we’ll be fine. We just had to grind it out but it was great to get a win.”

Did you think about the end of the Malawi game (her shooting partner missed a penalty to tie the game)?
“A tiny little bit when you’re standing under that post. I was like, breathe, set my shot and go. And then I felt like I’d won the game when it went into extra time. I was just so relieved that we could then take it because we knew that we had the energy and the tank to take it all the way.”

Thoughts about the tournament
“It’s been a bit of a whirlwind to be honest. We’ve had some really fantastic performances throughout all the games, Malawi was obviously one of our highlights. To really start pushing those teams that are really up there is something that we’ve wanted for a long time. We’ve put in a lot of work and a lot of hard effort. 9-10 I sometimes don’t think justifies where we’re at in the world rankings, but we’ll keep working hard and we’ll keep pushing to work our way up.”

Gail Parata, Scotland Coach
“We knew Barbados they had another big 60 minutes in them. They are a very good side, and we didn’t have our best shooting game today, but oh, I’m so proud of them! I’m so proud how they pulled it back. We wanted to push forward but Barbados kept coming back at us, and we got there in the end.”

How did you turn things around after the poor first quarter?
“Just getting them to get back to our processes. We hadn’t played any Caribbean style here so far, so we had to get used to their style of play because we’ve had the African countries, kiwis and England. For them to adjust to the Caribbean style of any ball in the air, they’re going to take it out of your hands. They’re going to come around quickly, so really proud of how they adjusted and came back into the game.”

Did you feel your were going to win when you went into overtime?
“We’ve got a real fit squad and we know that one of our strengths has to be that we have to be really, really fit and be able to finish off games. And if they get into overtime like that, we know that we have the legs to do that.”

Thoughts about the tournament?
“It’s been an amazing experience, but mostly I’ve been so proud of the performances we’ve put out against some great sides. Against New Zealand we didn’t have a great start, but our next three quarters were excellent. And then we went and did that against Malawi, did some good things against Uganda. All of these teams above us, we’re challenging them. And it’s a very young squad, we’ve got the second youngest squad so we’ve got a few that are going to be around for a while.”

Sandra Bruce-Small, Barbados Coach
“I thought that we should have won it in regular time. We made a bit of blunder, but overall the girls played really well today. We spoke to them about the fact that we have been inconsistent during the tournament. We asked them to put out 60 minutes of good netball today and we came very close to winning. They were a little disappointed with the turnover that caused it, but we asked them to go back and fight to the end and they really did try very hard.”

Is Latonia Blackman retiring?
“We are not sure yet because we have a tournament next year, we think she can go one more year.”

What’s next for Barbados Netball?
“They’re going to be rested for a few weeks and then they continue with the regular league games. We have the African qualifiers at the end of August, so we prepare for that then.”

What can you take out of the tournament?
“Consistency is one of the things that we’ve learnt and staying calm under pressure. We really have to work hard on that.”

Where was your biggest improvement during the tournament?
“I thought today everybody came to the party. We had to do without our WA (Damisha Croney), remember she went down in the Fiji game. She’s showing some signs of concussion from that game, she’s at home. So we told the girls they had to get up and give a little extra for her, so I think that worked to our favour this morning.”

Tip for the gold medal?
“It looking like Australia, but I’m hoping that England or Jamaica can win (laughs). It looking like Australia and England but I’m still hoping (laughs)… New Zealand may come at the game against Australia.”