Compiled by Katrina Nissen, Jenny Sinclair and Drew Kennedy

 

Day 5 – Tuesday July 16th

Erin Burger, South Africa on netball. “It has shaped me so much as a person, and just being able to do what I love at the moment, and actually sharing that when I go to, or giving back to what I’ve learned through the years, it’s just awesome.” 

“So it’s such a big part of who I am, and what I want to be, an example, and a leader in a sense, and making a difference in little kids lives, and showing them that they can dream, and they should dream, and even women as a whole, just empower them not to stand back for anything.” 

Erin Burger at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Image Simon Leonard

 

MATCH RESULTS

 

Fiji 71 defeated Singapore 56

Fiji notched their first win of the competition after blowing Singapore out of the water in the first quarter. Fiji’s goal keeper Episake Kahatoka, produced her best game of the tournament so far. Heading into the match she had notched up 43 contact penalties over four games. During this match she contained herself to a respectable 7. 

Singapore won the second quarter of the match thanks to their treasuring of possession and conversions of turnovers. They converted 86% of their turnovers in this quarter compared to 14% during the first and fourth and 57% in the third. 

 

Samoa 65 defeated Sri Lanka 55

Sri Lanka came out strongly and won the first quarter by four. Samoa goal-keeper Lenora Misa took 11 intercepts and 12 deflections for the match and was instrumental in turning the tide in Samoa’s favour.  In the second quarter, goal attack Sanita To’o entered the game for Samoa and was a strong presence in the circle. Samoa won the last three quarters and ultimately won the match. 

 

New Zealand 77  defeated Northern Ireland 28

 In Irish wing defence player Niamh Cooper’s 50th match, New Zealand continued to exhibit peak form in the tournament, making easy work of the Warriors. Their strongest backline might be crystallising, with Langman, Rore, Kopua, and Watson the starting group. The Kiwis were able to do classic straight-line plays down the centre, and also as seen in other matches, the left side of the court. Ameliaranne Ekenasio in the first half had three rebounds, more than any defender, and Casey Kopua had four brilliant intercepts. Northern Ireland started with their two least experienced caps, Shaunagh Craig and Emma Magee. Magee at goal attack was the more prolific shooter, confidently taking low balls on the lunge to the front, and captain Caroline O’Hanlon ran the transition play and dominated feeding. The half time score was 44-11 to the Silver Ferns.

 With each side making changes there was an initial series of messy play from both teams, the scoring only 1-1 after 4 minutes. Then the classy transition plays of New Zealand returned, as they were simply able to turn, assess the space, spot a running player, and pass at will, giving the Irish no time to react in defence. Also apparent was the excellent backing up from the Kiwis, either for a teammate almost out of court, or from a deflection. 

Image Danny Dalton

 

Too often the Warriors would defend face-on and not glance quickly behind or to the side to assess where to drop to, making it easy to find shooters holding front at the post.  Katrina Rore gave Cooper a 50th-test present by leaping high to intercept, catching her back arm, and slamming her to the ground, but went to apologise and pick her up immediately.  Irish players were frustrated by the lack of umpiring calls for holding when the experienced Silver Ferns disguised their deliberate infringements well. The score was 61-17 after three quarters. 

 Amongst many changes, Bailey Mes came out to wing attack, and Ciara Crosbie moved to shooter for Ireland. All match the Silver Ferns had shown adherence to their structures, but it was the final quarter that was their least convincing, only winning 16-11. Out of 20 turnovers, 8 were in the final term, compared to just 6 in the entire first half. With day 6 a rest day for both teams they both had time to consider their last opponents in pool play – for Northern Ireland a tough but winnable match against Barbados, and for New Zealand, their arch-rivals, Australia. 

 

Image Danny Dalton

 

Australia 74 defeated Malawi 25 

For the third game in a row Australia kept their opponents to a score of 2 for a quarter, in a fine defensive first half. Fans have been waiting to see a front line of Bassett, Tippett, Hadley and Watson, and they didn’t disappoint. The full match report is here

 

Zimbabwe 66 v Barbados 41

The Zimbabwe Gems took the polish off the Bajan Gems with a convincing win. Zimbabwe started the match strongly forcing Barbados into 7 turnovers. Zimbabwe’s transition was slick, and their defensive efforts were rewarded with 100% shooting returns during the first quarter. They utilised the whole width of the court, easily swinging the ball with such speed that it left their opponents in chase mode. 

 Bajan Gems goal shooter, Shonica Wharton continued her confident mid-range shooting, as she has done throughout the tournament so far. She was the more reliable shooter for Barbados potting 13 from 15 during the first half. Zimbabwe maintained possession for 54% of the first half, thanks in large part to their tenacious, on body defence. They pocketed 9 gains, 4 intercepts and 10 deflections. 

 Barbados fought hard through the third quarter, only falling short by 2 goals of a quarter win. Their mid-court was hindered by the loss of Rieah Holder 5-minutes in, due to a suspected knee injury. Holder was wheeled from the stadium to receive treatment. 

Tonisha Rok-Yaw (Barbados) after sustaining friendly fire. Photo: Danny Dalton

Barbados led the final quarter thanks to some spectacular defence from goal keeper Shonette Azore-Bruce. The sparkling Gem adjusted her positioning to better display offensive contacts. Her off the ball work also allowed her to contest front positioning which paid dividends in her snagging intercepts at the top of the circle. In terms of rebounds, it was a quiet game from Azore-Bruce as she only took 1. She is the leading rebounder of the competition, sitting on 18 rebounds coming into this game.  

 But Bruce’s hard work was undone on too many occasions, in their attacking third. The Zimbabwe Gems were tenacious, with many passes contested by at least two players. Wing defence Tonisha Rock-Yaw was particularly troubling for the Bajans as she rode the opposition right into the pocket to contest the across court passes. 

 A little friendly fire ended Azore-Bruce’s game with 5-minutes left to play, but by then the game was locked away for Zimbabwe. 

 

What caught our eye

Northern Ireland’s Niamh Cooper played her 50th international test cap today. When asked about the milestone she said she was buzzing. “It is always an honour to go out and play for Northern Ireland. I never take for granted getting any test caps, so to get 50 is a big achievement.” 

When looking back over her career, she still holds her first Commonwealth Games as a highlight. “The first game I played in the Commonwealth Games, in 2014, stands out for me. It was my first game in a major tournament so it was the first match or me that stands out.” 

 

Paper Layla made her return to the tournament yesterday. She was seen cheering from the Roses bench. 

 

Image May Bailey

The Diamonds dress is a tribute to all past and current Australian netballers. A brainchild of the current crop, all 177 players have their names printed on the dress in fine diagonal lines. It’s yet another way of honouring the rich history of Australian netball, and connecting a group that call themselves sisters. 

When asked about what it means to wear the dress, Diamond’s midcourter Jamie-Lee Price said it was an honour, despite not knowing where her name is on the dress. “We really pride ourselves on our ‘sisters’ brand and who has come before, who is playing now and who is going to play in the future. We are really proud of the dress. I think in a first World Cup it is a huge honour to acknowledge the players who have come before us.”

Caitlin Bassett was part of the group planning the dress:

“The dress was part of the uniform committee, which is myself, Jo Weston, and Stephanie Wood, and I guess we wanted to do something a little bit different, and the idea came to us about including the names of past Diamonds. It was brought up potentially, just Diamonds that had been at World Cups, and we think it’s really important to note, whether you make it to that World Cup, which is a really special experience, it takes ALL Diamonds players to help the team get there. So, we’ve got every Diamond’s name on the dress. For our two assistant coaches, Claire Ferguson and Megan Anderson, they didn’t ever actually make it to play at a World Cup, so for them, having them here and knowing that they’re on our dress, the people that perhaps didn’t make it to World Cup it’s massive for us.

Bassett then describe how it felt for her personally to wear the dress:

“So much pride!! I think you only need to look down at your dress to see inspiration, you can see Joyce Brown, and you know, all those ones that came before you, and we’re really blessed to have so many messages of support before we came over, but to have that special feeling of coming to Liverpool with us, I think is really awesome!”

 

Closeup of the Diamonds dress. Image courtesy of Netball Australia

 

On the injured list

Australia’s April Brandley didn’t take the court today, after sustaining an injury to her ear following a collision with teammate Courtney Bruce on Day 4. The injury isn’t expected to keep her from the court for long. 

Aussie umpire, Marc Henning, umpired the last game of the day wearing a compression sock on his right calf. Peaking out of the top of the sock was some blue strapping tape. He managed to run the sidelines unhindered so we hope it is just a precaution. 

Aussie umpire, Marc Henning, wearing the compression sock. Photo: Danny Dalton

Barbados centre, Rieah Holder, came down with what looked like a horrific knee injury. Though she walked off the court, she was wheeled out of the stadium. She did return to the bench during the fourth quarter but didn’t take any part further in the game.

Two other Barbados athletes come up a little sore from their match after colliding with each other in the final quarter. Goal Keeper Shonnette Azore-Bruce needed to be escorted from the court to receive ice and treatment to her shoulder. Tonisha Rock-Yaw was able to continue with the match. 

 

Shonette Azore-Bruce crashed through the holdings. Image Danny Dalton

Insight from the Experts

Dan Ryan, head coach of Northern Ireland, gave us some insight on what it is like to be a first time coach at a World Cup. 

“I have learnt so much already. I came into this opportunity with real perspective around what it is going to offer me. I didn’t worry too much around end results, or rankings or where the team was going to go. For me it was around the process of building the team skill set and building the strategies and structures that they didn’t have previously in place and seeing them implemented under pressure. We have been doing a really good job with that throughout the week.” 

Dan Ryan on the bench. Photo: May Bailey

“For me, it is all about the coaching process: reevaluating what is working, what is not, how I need to change some things. Obviously there are games where there is so much to work on, so from a coaching perspective it is what is more important to the group and keeping it clear and simple.” 

“Then also, I need to prepare the team for the vary styles of opposition we will play against, so on Day 1 we had Australia who wear you down and make you very uncomfortable, then we had an Asian nation, African nations and the styles are so different. So, from a coaching perspective is a great analysis and you have to come up with creative ways to present game plans and different strategies to do thing within you overarching theme. So, my coaching is growing all the time, my skill set is evolving and even working with this group, the Irish culture is different to the Australian culture so the human elements of how best to connect with the group and get the best out of them and the conversations you need to have: I am loving all that stuff. And so are the players, I think in most parts.” 

In a thoughtful mood after the loss against Zimbabwe. Image Danny Dalton

“When I picked up the team, even though we aren’t having the results we would have wanted they are certainly heading in the right direction and have improved and only one team can win this World Cup and the rest need to be able to acknowledge where the growth and success sits with them. Even though we aren’t winning the matches we would like, or falling short in those games we are improving and succeeding in other areas as well. I have loved this experience. Only 16 coaches in the world get to coach at a World Cup so I am really grateful to be here and making the most of it.”

Dan believes his players will be closely watching Australia play New Zealand tomorrow in the hope of learning from the world’s best. “I think this whole World Cup for them has been about learning. You learn from watching the best and from playing the best and in my group I have some real students of the game and I love working with those types of athletes. There will be players who will sit there with the stats and facts, those who love watching the patterns of play and watching the very best of the best go about their business. So, they will be watching with interest.” 

 

This could get ugly!

There’s been some incredible athleticism on display this week, along with the thrills and spills that come with having 14 finely tuned athletes in a small area. These are some of the best stacks we’ve seen this week.

 

Image Danny Dalton

 

Image May Bailey

 

Image May Bailey.

 

Image May Bailey

 

Image May Bailey

 

Image May Bailey

 

Image May Bailey

 

Image May Bailey

 

Image May Bailey

 

Toner takes a fall. Image May Bailey

 

Interviews

Erin Burger, South Africa on netball. “It has shaped me so much as a person, and just being able to do what I love at the moment, and actually sharing that when I go to, or giving back to what I’ve learned through the years, it’s just awesome.” 

“So it’s such a big part of who I am, and what I want to be, an example, and a leader in a sense, and making a difference in little kids lives, and showing them that they can dream, and they should dream, and even women as a whole, just empower them not to stand back for anything.” 

 

Niamh Cooper, Northern Ireland, on playing in a ‘home’ tournament. “It is brilliant. The excitement about everything has brought our game to a whole new level. We have been able to have family and friends come support us. My mum and sister are here and it is just such a buzz. Having supporters here really lifts the atmosphere. And, when you are walking around Liverpool and every is saying to you ‘oh you are in the World Cup’ it is just so special.” 

 

Pepe Siyachitema, Captain Zimbabwe, on being the ‘surprise packet’ of the tournament. “Yes, we are. Our players are working hard and no one knows what we play like. Even the players from other African countries don’t know what we play like. It will be the first time we will play Malawi and it will be exciting.” 

 

Ameliaranne Ekenasio, New Zealand on playing Australia.

“We’re really excited about it, thinking about it already. We started trying a few little things in that game today, we’ve just got to think about taking the body on strong. We know what they’re going to bring, they’re going to try and run through us no matter what. We’ve got to try and be really smart and work through it.”

The Daily Liverpool Scoop podcast is available at https://www.netballscoop.com/2019/06/daily-liverpool-scoop-podcast/

 

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