Wrap: South Africa off to perfect start with win over Wales

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  • Post published:July 28, 2023

South Africa got off to the perfect start with a 61-50 victory over Wales while defending champions New Zealand put on a dominant performance to cruise to a comfortable 76-27 win over Trinidad and Tobago at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on Friday.

South Africa 61-50 Wales

The Proteas won their first game of the Netball World Cup when they played Wales in Pool C on Friday at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC).

The Spar Proteas won 61–50 in front of a loud, sold-out crowd at the CTICC who all cheered for the national team.

The first quarter was a good start for the home team. At the end of it, the Proteas were up by nine points.

For the Proteas, Ine-Mari Venter was almost perfect in the first half, scoring on 26 of her 28 attempts. Elmeré van der Berg, on the other hand, scored on six of her 12 shots.

In the second half, when South Africa was ahead 32–24, they made two changes. Elmere van der Berg was replaced by Nichole Taljaard, and Shadine van der Merwe was replaced by Jeante Strydom.

Taljaard’s presence was felt right away, and when she and Venter worked together to attack for South Africa, they were a very dangerous team.

Venter was the star of the game for the home team because she scored 47 goals in only 51 shots.

Uganda 79-37 Singapore

Uganda defeated Singapore 79-37 in the opening match of the 2023 Netball World Cup. The African nation dominated the match from start to finish and dominated the scoreboard.

The She Cranes seized 60% of the possessions in the first quarter and surged to a 22-9 advantage.

In the second quarter, the Ugandans continued to demonstrate superior speed and dexterity, with Haniisha Muhameed and Shadiah Nassanga excelling in the shooting circle.

The Ugandans maintained their starting seven for the duration of the first half, with head coach Fred Mugerwa only making substitutions at the break.

He brought a 6′ 6″ Mary Cholok is now the goal shooter, while team captain Irene Eyaru is now the goal attack.

Cholhok is one of only two Ugandan players with Netball World Cup experience, having participated in the 2019 tournament.

However, she only played one quarter on Friday, as Mugerwa continued to rotate his players and give everyone valuable court time.

In the end, it was a comfortable victory for the east Africans, much to the delight of their vocal fans.

Australia 86-30 Zimbabwe

World Netball Ranking first in the world In their opening match of the Netball World Cup 2023 in Cape Town, Australia completely outplayed Zimbabwe, defeating their African opponents 86-30. This was only their second meeting at the World Cup. Australia won the only previous meeting 73-37 in Liverpool four years ago.

The coaches of both teams, Stacey Marinkovich and Ropafadzo Mutsauki, appeared to take a “wait and see” approach during the first half of the game.

In the third quarter, however, Marinkovich made numerous substitutions and positional adjustments, including Ash Brazill’s move from wing defence to centre and Jo Weston’s move from centre to goal defence for Australia.

Felisitus Kwangwa, the captain of Zimbabwe, moved from goal defence to wing defence, Joice Takaidza from centre to goal defence, and Sharleen Tanaka Makusha from wing defence to centre.

Zimbabwe held 51% of the ball during the first two quarters of the match, but the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games champions asserted complete dominance in the third and fourth quarters.

The Aussies claimed 15 intercepts, considerably cutting down the passing options of Zimbabwe.

The Australian Diamonds won the fourth quarter 24-6 and the game 86-30 to win the match.

New Zealand 76-27 Trinidad & Tobago

Friday at the Cape Town International Convention Centre in South Africa, New Zealand’s Silver Ferns began defending their Netball World Cup title with a dominant 76-27 victory over Trinidad and Tobago.

Before Joelisa Cooper scored Trinidad and Tobago’s first goal of the tournament, the champions of the 2019 Netball World Cup raced to a nine-goal lead.

Grace Nweke’s perfect shooting performance at the other end of the court in the first quarter propelled the Silver Ferns to a 23-2 lead at the first interval.

This momentum carried over into the second quarter, with Maia Wilson replacing Nweke and maintaining a perfect scoring record.

However, Trinidad and Tobago was able to find their shooters in the circle with greater consistency – wing attack Shantel Seemungal and later centre Alena Brooks working hard in midcourt – and scored nine goals to bring the score to 43-11 at the half.

In the first ten minutes of the third quarter, the Caribbean nation tied New Zealand goal-for-goal and held 57 percent of the ball.

The Calypso Girls once again scored nine goals, but the Silver Ferns were limited to just fifteen as coach Noeline Taurua gave every player court time.

In the final period, Trinidad and Tobago continued to play well, but the defending champions ultimately secured a resounding victory.

Karin Burger, a defender from New Zealand who was born in South Africa, was named Most Valuable Player.

Tonga 56-51 Fiji

Tonga defeated Fiji 56-51 in a Group A match on the opening day of the Netball World Cup 2023 in Cape Town. This was only Tonga’s second appearance at the tournament.

It was the first time these two island nations met at the World Cup, with Fiji’s tenth appearance.

The beginnings of both teams were hesitant. Fiji chose an aerial game to counter Tonga’s more physical play. It mattered on the scoreboard, as they held a five-goal lead after 15 minutes.

Tonga was able to score a few goals within the first five minutes of the second quarter, tying the game.

Cathrine Tuivaiti represented her third country when she stepped onto the court for Tonga in the third quarter, having previously represented Samoa and New Zealand.

After playing for Samoa in the 2007 tournament in Auckland, she is competing in her second Netball World Cup in 2023.

Tonga’s superior position in the World Netball World Rankings, seventh compared to Fiji’s seventeenth, enabled them to seize control of the game as the third quarter came to a close.

Although Fiji’s goal circle was functioning well, simple errors were beginning to cost them dearly.

Tonga’s aggressive play in the final 15 minutes of the match put their opponents under constant pressure across the court. The victory was secured by Tuivaiti and Uneeq Palavi’s accurate shooting.

Photo by Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix