In the first ever meeting between Trinidad and Tobago and Uganda, the shooting firepower of both teams was evident throughout.
From the very start of the first quarter it was clear that very little separated the two sides; much of the action throughout the fifteen minutes was goal-for-goal.
The lowest shooting statistic in the quarter was 90% from Peace Proscovia, whilst the goal attacks on both sides, Kalifa McCollin and Stella Oyella, fired at 100%.
It was the Calypso Girls that eventually edged in front before things returned back to type, with the first quarter ending 17-15 to Trinidad and Tobago.
Quarter two saw Uganda seize early momentum, and with a turnover they were able to draw things level.
With Mary Nuba Cholock joining McCollin and Oyella at 100%, the goals continued to pour in one after the other.
Uganda finally found and converted their second turnover of the quarter as the fifth minute began to tick away but an errant pass into Cholock undid their hard work and Trinidad and Tobago were able to capitalize on the error.
Inspired by the opportunity gifted to them to draw things level, Trinidad and Tobago took the initiative again to break the goal-for-goal rhythm, reversing the early lead had Uganda established. As the whistle blew for half time the score was 31-30 to the Calypso Girls.
As things continued to tick over goal-for-goal once more in the third quarter, a footwork foul from Cholock threatened to allow Trinidad and Tobago to extend their lead, however a three-second infringement triggered by a strong all-court defense from the She Cranes meant they re-gathered possession.
This to-and-fro nature of proceedings stirred the She Cranes into a turnover and a steady stream of three goals in a row, with both Uganda shooters still at 100% as they took the lead once more from the Calypso Girls.
But this run of goals was immediately matched and then beaten by Trinidad and Tobago, who added one extra to take the lead back.
Responding to the momentum swing, Proscovia was brought back on for Cholock, which proved a savvy decision from coach Vincent Kiwanuka as Proscovia’s presence shifted things back in the She Cranes’ favour.
As the quarter ticked down, Uganda were able to push their lead to five goals, and went into the final quarter 46-41 up.
Strong zonal defence kicked the fourth quarter into action, with the She Cranes each manning their players to force a turnover on the Calypso Girls’ centre.
But the favour was soon returned and Trinidad and Tobago began to slowly eat into the Ugandan lead after a string of three goals were scored. An ill-timed miss from Samantha Wallace, however, stopped the Calypso Girls from being able to draw things back level and they were held at three goals adrift for the most part of the final quarter, eventually falling to a 57-54 defeat.
Samantha Wallace, Trinidad and Tobago’s goal shooter, said:
“It was a good contest. We knew they were going to come out and give their best. Everybody wants to improve their rankings so we knew what we were in for.
“I think we did really well I’m really impressed with the girls; compared to other games, I’m really impressed with them.”
Uganda captain Peace Proscovia said:
“I feel overwhelmed with joy to win that game. Most importantly the confidence that the players had to go out there – especially playing a team like Trinidad and Tobago – with very limited error rate was a hard one, we just needed to be very clinical and innovative but that’s what the team did, and I’m so proud of that.”
The two teams came into the meeting off the back of defeats to Jamaica and South Africa, with Trinidad and Tobago holding the superior historical record over their opponents, having won the previous three World Cup meetings.
Trinidad and Tobago started quickly, with centre Candice Gueroro particularly influential across the court as her side established an early lead.
Despite being put on the back foot, Fiji soon found their rhythm and Lydia Panapasa and Unaisi Rauluni began to have an impact in the shooting circle. However, Trinidad and Tobago retained their dominance in the middle of the court, and they led at the end of the first quarter by 23-10.
Fiji upped their game in the second quarter, ensuring a much more even contest. The teams traded goals, with Samantha Wallace impressing in front of the net and Kalifa McCollin ably supporting her with some excellent positional play.
As the quarter progressed both Panapasa and Rauluni were shooting at over 90% for the Fijians, but they were starved of the service needed to really pull Trinidad and Tobago back. At half time, the Calypso Girls led 40-25.
Both teams struggled to settle in the third quarter, with the two previous defeats in their tired legs beginning to show. Fiji again made a strong attempt of keeping up with Trinidad and Tobago though, losing the quarter by just two goals – an overall advantage of 57-40 for the Calypso Girls to take into the final quarter.
Fiji admirably upped their game in the final quarter though, retaining possession much better than they had done previously and nullifying Trinidad and Tobago’s much-changed attack.
Despite their best efforts though – and eventual 16-10 margin of victory in the final quarter – it was too little too late to reel Trinidad and Tobago back in, as the Calypso Girls completed a 67-56 victory.
Trinidad and Tobago’s Khalifa McCollin said:
“As a unit we were very good – much better than our previous matches. It’s all learning from here. Going into the next round I know it’s going to be tough so we’ll go back to the drawing board and work on things we need to.”
What looked to be a keenly-contested game was turned on its head in the second quarter when Jamaica came out firing on all cylinders, scoring 16 unanswered goals, and from then on the result was never in question.
Both coaches elected to make several changes to their starting line-ups from their opening World Cup matches. Jamaica had the luxury of being able to rest players following their comfortable victory over Fiji, while Trinidad and Tobago were in search of their first win following their disappointing defeat to South Africa.
Trinidad and Tobago squandered first use of the ball allowing Jhaniele Fowler to fire Jamaica into an early two-goal lead. Her opposite goal shooter Samantha Wallace had a shot to equalise, but it bounced off the rim. Jamaica took full advantage of the reprieve, carving out a 9-5 scoreline.
Fowler was in tremendous form but jarred her head when reaching for the pass that would lead to her eleventh goal. An interception from Stacian Facey took the score to 16-12, but Trinidad and Tobago suddenly clicked into gear to move within a single goal. The Sunshine Girls completed the scoring in the first quarter to hold a narrow 17-15 advantage.
In the second quarter, good work along the touchline saw Shanice Beckford maintain her 100% shooting record. Jamaica monopolised possession, scoring the next seven goals and establishing a 23-15 advantage. The Calypso Girls simply could not keep hold of the ball, and the deadly duo of Fowler and Beckford continued to pile on the agony with unanswered goals. Finally a red dress, in the form of Wallace, scored but by then the damage had been done, with Trinidad and Tobago having conceded 16 unanswered goals and looking at trying reverse a 36-18 deficit.
Trinidad and Tobago’s defensive difficulties were illustrated when Jamaica overthrew a pass out of bounds, but still managed to score next. By this time Jamaica were looking comfortable with a 42-21 cushion, although Trinidad and Tobago did add the final two goals of the half.
A couple of interceptions meant that Jamaica renewed their assault on the net, scoring the first four goals of the third quarter. This time, Trinidad and Tobago were able to make a positive contribution at the other end, but Jamaica’s lead continued to grow.
Rebekah Robinson, on in place of Beckford, extended the lead to 24, before Romelda Aiken assumed goal shooting duties from Fowler. Her initial shot from under the net hit the rim, but there was no mistake with the rebound. Both sides continued to trade goals, moving the score along to 57-34 at the end of the third quarter.
Trinidad and Tobago made good use of the initial centre pass in the fourth quarter and an interception meant they reduced the deficit to twenty. Robinson, only firing at 50% accuracy, took the score to 60-38, before Aiken pushed the Jamaicans out to 23 goals ahead.
Trinidad and Tobago kept pressing, but overthrown passes once again saw them squander possession, before the final goal of the encounter summed up the match: Jamaica being gifted possession courtesy of an overly-ambitious pass and making no mistake at the other end of the court.
The side ranked number two in the world have looked impressive in their first two matches, but will face a sterner test when they take on South Africa tomorrow.
Jamaica’s Shanice Beckford said of their start to the game:
“We were flat, we were not sticking to the game plan. Our coach told us we needed to mark more. Nicole Dixon came on at centre and she brought that defensive (aspect) to that second quarter.”
John-Davis played as the Calypso Girls were beaten 76-45 on the opening day of the Vitality Netball World Cup 2019.
The appearance ensured that John-Davis is now out on her own as the most prolific player in Netball World Cup history, with her six tournaments putting her ahead of a host of players who have played in five editions of the competition.
However, she was reluctant to dwell on that achievement.
“I’m a competitor, so it’s really tough to focus on being proud of making a sixth World Cup after we have just lost by such a big margin. It is a great accomplishment, but in that loss we definitely struggled.
“We lacked discipline at times, and when things were working for us we decided to change up, which won’t help us, so that was our main downfall today.”
Trinidad and Tobago face Jamaica in their second match of the tournament tomorrow, and John-Davis believes that the relentless run of fixtures should help each team to fine-tune their performances.
“It’s helpful because you can’t dwell on the loss – you have to learn from it and show that when you go to the next game, you don’t make the same mistakes.”
After reflecting on the defeat, John-Davis also acknowledged how far the sport has come since her first World Cup tournament in 1999.
“There’s more interest now,” she said. “There’s a lot more physicality in the game and the netball nations are playing more and more. There’s more competition and there are more players, and that’s great for the sport, because it can only rise further from here.”
John-Davis made history by competing in her sixth World Cup, but was unable to stop her side slipping to a 76-45 defeat.
The sides traded goals in the early stages, however the Proteas quickly got into their stride, taking advantage of overthrown passes to take an 8-4 lead.
However, to the delight of the crowd, the Calypso Girls hit back strongly, narrowing the deficit to just one goal, before spurning an opportunity to equalise following an interception. After winning possession back in similar fashion, South Africa then pulled away, stretching their lead to four goals, and holding a 19-15 advantage.
In the second quarter, the South Africans made three consecutive possessions tell, with their attackers taking the score to 22-15, as the Caribbean side struggled to contain the unerring precision of their opponents.
The potent attacking pair of Lenize Potgieter and Maryka Holtzhausen ensured that the lead stretched to 10 goals. The middle phase of the quarter was scrappy, with both sides conceding possession easily. Erin Burger’s interception helped the South Africans ease further ahead though, as they established a 38-25 lead.
Throughout the half, wing attack Bongiwe Msomi was a driving force, with her accurate, quick passes giving her team-mates good chances to score. A typical interception from her meant that South Africa entered the dressing rooms at half time with a commanding 40-25 lead and left the Calypso Girls with a mountain to climb in the second half.
Trinidad and Tobago started the second half listlessly, conceding possession too often in promising situations. South Africa continued their relentless dominance taking the score out to 45-28. The difference between the sides was a reflection of the ability of the Proteas to exploit the space in the shooting arc. Potgeiter’s focussed shooting in front of the net was a constant – she had 98% accuracy as South Africa extended the advantage to 54-32. Both teams exchanged a couple more goals before the end of the third quarter.
The fourth would prove to be a more even affair, with both teams regularly scoring . However South Africa produced a sudden burst of goals and were comfortably in front as John-Davis was substituted, bringing to an end her historic appearance.
South Africa’s Bongiwe Msomi said:
“At first it was a little shaky. But the second quarter, we stepped up. We did not know what to expect, we did not know how they played. Then the second quarter was better, because we could work things out.”