Scotland drew first blood at the Netball World Cup 2019 Regional Qualifier – Europe in Perth tonight with a 52-40 victory over Wales.
The victory means Scotland took a major step towards securing one of the two places at the July 2019 World Cup in Liverpool available from this weekend’s tri-tournament.
For the first three quarters there was nothing to choose between the teams, with much of the game a cagey affair in which both sides struggled to turn possession into goals under intense defensive pressure that forced errors from both sides.
Scotland went into the final quarter with a slender 32-31 lead but an incredible performance from the Thistles’ 18-year-old goal shooter Bethan Goodwin proved to be the difference between the two sides.
Wales’ cause was not helped when goal defence Nia Jones was sent off the court for two minutes with just 11 minutes remaining on the clock and the game poised at 34-37. Scotland took full advantage, opening up a five-goal lead at a critical time in the game.
Scotland were able to keep their composure, something both sides had struggled with for much of the game, and there was no way back for the Welsh team who eventually succumbed to a 12-goal defeat against a home side buoyed by the support of a partisan crowd.
Wales will aim to keep their qualification hopes alive when they face Northern Ireland tomorrow, Saturday 20 January at 3pm.