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12 July 2019 | Uncategorized

Ruthless Australia start campaign in style

World Cup holders and current world number one-ranked team Australia began their Vitality Netball World Cup 2019 campaign with a win as they cruised to an 88-24 victory against Northern Ireland.

The Diamonds had won all five of the previous World Cup meetings between the two sides and from the off, their 100% record never looked in any danger.

They strode seven points into the lead inside five minutes before the Warriors, ranked eighth in the world, got themselves on to the scoresheet.

At the end of the first quarter, Australia led 24-7 with goal shooter Caitlin Bassett converting all 18 of her opportunities and goal attack Steph Wood equally as efficient with her six.

That efficiency from the Diamonds continued into the second period, as they pressed on in search of more goals.

Northern Ireland, though, improved in the second 15, as they scored eight times – once more than in the opening quarter – and limited Australia to 21, three fewer than they managed previously.

The gulf between the teams was clear, although Northern Ireland were trying their utmost to limit their opposition.

At the halfway mark, there was a 30-goal gap between the sides, with the score standing at 45-15 to the holders.

For the third quarter, Caitlin Thwaites and Gretel Tippett replaced Bassett and Wood respectively for Australia, and after a couple of minutes stoppage for Northern Ireland centre Caroline O’Hanlon to receive treatment after a heavy fall midway through the quarter, normal service resumed.

Northern Ireland notched three times in the quarter, but fell further behind as Australia increased their lead to 67-19. Substitute Thwaites converted 15 times from a possible 16, winning her battle against Northern Ireland goalkeeper Gemma Lawlor.

Australia already had the two points wrapped up prior to the fourth and final period, but still had time to convert another 21 times as they eased towards the final whistle, ending their scoring at 88.

The Diamonds, one of just four teams to have competed in every edition of the Netball World Cup, face Zimbabwe on Saturday morning as they seek a second successive victory.

Northern Ireland will look to get their first points of the tournament in their fixture versus Sri Lanka shortly afterwards.

Australia’s Sarah Klau, who made her international debut today, said:

“It’s everything that I could have imagined. Standing there, during the national anthem, I got the goosebumps like I thought I would. It was such an incredible experience – it’s always been a dream of mine.

“Having debuted now, I think that gives me a lot of confidence leading into the next few games. Hopefully I do alright.”

Northern Ireland coach Dan Ryan said:

“Your heart is in your mouth when you see a player of her (Caroline O’Hanlon’s) importance to our World Cup campaign get injured.

“She’s been assessed by the medical team and will continue to be assessed in the next couple of moments. I think everything should be okay, hopefully, but we just have to wait and see.”