20 July 2019 | Uncategorized

Trinidad and Tobago secure ninth

Trinidad and Tobago secured ninth place at the Vitality Netball World Cup as they saw off Northern Ireland 57-48 in a hard-fought contest this evening.

The Calypso Girls had won all four of the previous World Cup meetings between the two sides, with their last meeting also coming in a play-off game in the 2011 World Cup, to decide seventh and eighth place.

The two sides reached this match after Northern Ireland defeated Barbados, 46-43 in the final group game, whilst Trinidad and Tobago went through on head-to-head after a dramatic 43-43 draw with Scotland in their final Preliminaries stage two game.

Daystar Swift earned her 50th cap for Trinidad and Tobago but she could do little to disrupt the early attacking flow of Northern Ireland as they made five of their first six goal attempts to take an early 5-2 lead.

However, Northern Ireland captain Caroline O’Hanlon fell awkwardly midway through the quarter and had to be replaced by Neamh Woods. Trinidad and Tobago seized on the Warriors’ attempts to regroup from the change by reducing the deficit and then taking a 10-9 lead as Kalifa McCollin began to find her shooting range.

A loose Calypso Girl pass and interception from Northern Ireland kicked them back into action and Noleen Armstrong responded as the Warriors re-took the lead, keeping that advantage until the buzzer at the end of the quarter as they led 13-12.

O’Hanlon returned to the court at the beginning of the second quarter and there continued to be little to separate the two sides as the contest swung back and forth. Both sides were shooting strongly as after Armstrong missed her first goal attempt of the quarter, neither side missed a goal attempt until the tenth minute.

Turnovers were proving to be the key in the contest and Northern Ireland began to start making small errors which the Calypso Girls were able to punish, extending their lead to as many as six goals.

Samantha Wallace and McCollin couldn’t be stopped by the Warriors defence as they made all 17 of their goal attempts in the second quarter to lead 29-23 at the interval.

The six-goal advantage that Trinidad and Tobago began the third quarter with deviated in the early stages as they two teams took their scoring opportunities. Wallace and McCollin picked up where they had left off in the first two quarters for the Calypso Girls and left Northern Ireland frustrated every time they attempted to build momentum and eat into the deficit.

Trinidad and Tobago were controlling the tempo of the game extremely well and Northern Ireland struggled to force many turnovers. The lack of possession change meant their advantage was maintained and that was further helped by Emma Magee’s disappointing shooting as she only made five of her nine goal attempts in the quarter.

No such problems were occurring for the Calypso Girls, however, who again shot at 100% in the quarter. Despite a small flurry of goals for the Warriors at the end of the period, going into the final quarter, Trinidad and Tobago led 43-36.

Wallace continued to score at will as she made her all six of her shots to increase her side’s advantage in the opening five minutes of the final quarter. Shaunagh Craig, who replaced Armstrong for Northern Ireland, also enjoyed a positive opening to the quarter, scoring her first two goal attempts in that period. 

The frustration continued for Northern Ireland who just couldn’t stop the impressive attacking play of Trinidad and Tobago and they were unable to reduce the deficit below the seven goals which it had been at the beginning of the quarter.

The lead grew to as many as 11 at one point as Wallace and McCollin’s shooting clinic continued and the Calypso Girls secured ninth place comfortably.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Daystar Swift said:

“Today we played more as a team. It’s something we have been working on. We’ve been trying to minimise our errors and be a lot more clinical with the ball and that has definitely worked in our favour today.

“We just continued to play the game as we know it and continued to play how we were taught to play.”

Northern Ireland’s Caroline O’Hanlon said:

“In the second quarter we made too many errors and gave them a run and they are too strong a team, they have too much quality and you can’t afford to do that.

“We showed patches of good play as we have done in the tournament, but inconsistencies cost us again. When you are playing against the quality that they have you just can’t afford to have those patches.”

18 July 2019 | Uncategorized

Last-gasp Gallagher rescues draw for Scotland

Lynsey Gallagher kept her nerve to score with the last action of the game as Scotland and Trinidad and Tobago recorded the first draw of the Vitality Netball World Cup.

Gallagher was coolness personified as her buzzer beater ensured that the game would be thrillingly tied at 43 goals apiece.

Both sides came into this game in search of their second victory of the tournament, and history was on the side of the Caribbean nation, who had triumphed in each of the nine previous World Cup meetings.

Any thought that a tenth victory would be a foregone conclusion was soon dismissed, though, as Scotland fought for every ball during a first quarter in which the lead repeatedly changed hands.

Trinidad’s first shot rebounded off the post, so it was Emma Barrie who opened the scoring with a brace, but then saw her next shot miss the target.

Samantha Wallace opened Trinidad’s account, while good defensive work from Daystar Swift temporarily halted Scottish progress, allowing her side to pull the score back to 4-3.

Gallagher fired in her fourth consecutive goal to give Scotland a 6-4 advantage, and although Trinidad and Tobago were keeping pace, a series of loose passes allowed Scotland to maintain their two-goal margin as the first quarter came to a close with the Thistles 11-9 ahead.

Trinidad and Tobago then took their turn to capitalise on mistakes early in the second quarter, moving into a 14-13 lead. Scotland brought the scores back level, and despite a marvellous leaping interception from Candice Guerero, were then able to push out and re-establish a two-goal lead at 19-17.

The Calypso Girls roared back as the lead changed hands again, but the seesaw nature of the contest continued. Kalifa McCollin’s missed shot gave Scotland the narrowest of advantages at half time: 22-21.

The record-breaking Rhonda John-Davis assumed wing attack duties after the break, and momentum swung again, as Trinidad and Tobago earned themselves a two-goal lead.

As with everything in this match though, that didn’t last for long, and a misunderstanding in the Trinidadian circle allowed Scotland to forge a lead of their own before a breathless quarter ended 34-34.

The Thistles started the fourth quarter on top, making the most of an interception to take their lead out to two. Carelessness in possession by the Thistles let Trinidad and Tobago back in, though, and they then took their opportunity to build a lead.

Gallagher registered her first miss with five minutes left, and the task looked to be beyond Scotland as the Calypso Girls’ lead stretched to 42-39. Emma Barrie got Scotland back to within two, before the nerves began to show on both sides, with neither team able to stamp their authority on an increasingly scrappy final period of the game.

Scotland drew level through Barrie with 45 seconds left, but the Trinidad and Tobago lead was restored by Wallace with the clock rapidly ticking down. It was boom or bust for Scotland now, and they worked the ball down the court to Gallagher, who was awarded a penalty as the dying seconds dwindled away.

As the hooter sounded, there were jubilant cheers from the Thistles’ fans as Gallagher, shooting from the left side, sank the game-tying goal, ending an enthralling contest.

Despite the late rally, Scotland finish sixth in Group G, and will play Barbados in the 11th-place play-off, while Trinidad and Tobago will contest a ninth-place finish with Northern Ireland.

Scotland’s Lynsey Gallagher said:

“I heard the crowd roar and I knew it was a penalty pass or shot, so I just needed to take my time and put it away.

“I think it was a bit of ping pong at the end. It’s hard to win ball off Trinidad and Tobago and we just had to treasure the ball. Sometimes it was just the final execution of things – things that you know you do day-in, day-out, but I think that was just part and parcel of that game.”

17 July 2019 | Uncategorized

Experimental England move closer to semi-finals

England all-but confirmed their place in the Vitality Netball World Cup semi-finals by making it five wins out of five with a challenging but ultimately comfortable 72-46 victory over Trinidad and Tobago.

England coach Tracey Neville again elected to ring the changes, with wing attack, Natalie Haythornthwaite, being given a place in a World Cup starting seven for the very first time.

Trinidad and Tobago started confidently, but some outstanding defence combined with accurate shooting meant that the Roses were soon in charge of their destiny.

Trinidad and Tobago continued to offer solid resistance, particularly in an early, second-quarter rally, but England’s further tactical changes injected a greater sense of purpose, and the Roses started to dominate the scoring exchanges, successfully closing out the match.

The Calypso Girls bounced their first centre pass out beyond the sideline, allowing Harten to open the scoring, while Rachel Dunn was twice dumped on the floor in quick succession before netting England’s third goal of the game.

Good work from Eboni Usoro-Brown, amongst others, allowed England to take a commanding lead, as Harten in particular found her groove in the circle.

The crowd – England were playing on the new, one-court layout for the first time in the tournament – were in buoyant mood, cheering the Roses’ every goal as the hosts extended their lead out to 20-12 after the first quarter.

In the second quarter, Francesca Williams came on in place of Usoro-Brown and got an early interception. However, Rachel Dunn – affected by an elbow injury – put in a couple of wayward attempts which Trinidad and Tobago seized upon, plundering the first three goals of the quarter.

Dunn, trying to shake off the injury, was replaced by Helen Housby – a change which saw England put their foot on the gas again, taking the score back out to 29-21.

Haythornthwaite and Housby in particular were combining well, and Harten was displaying her usual accuracy in front of goal – her 30th of the game saw England 39-23 up at half time, while their defence was also gaining momentum, snuffing out the threat of Samantha Wallace as the Trinidad and Tobago goal shooter went ten minutes between goals 11 and 12.

In the second half Housby and Harten both suffered couple of rare, straightforward misses, before giving the Roses a 43-27 advantage. Trinidad and Tobago were struggling to contain the speed of England’s mid-court players with several passes going astray, but Wallace was at least now having more of an impact on the game, shooting her fifteenth goal.

However a careless shot on her part saw England move 17 goals ahead, as Harten and Housby put their slow start to the quarter behind them. England led 56-33 going into the last 15 minutes.

Dunn made a welcome return to court for the fourth quarter, and was soon back on the scoresheet. Trinidad and Tobago profited from some England uncertainty to peg the score back to 60-38, with Khalifa McCollin becoming the first of their shooters to reach the 20-goal mark.

Neville, who had already given Chelsea Pitman some game time at centre, continued to rotate from the bench, with Serena Guthrie returning to court as England experimented with different combinations.

Some typical Guthrie interceptions were replicated by the likes of Housby and Usoro-Brown as England’s lead stretched out to beyond 25, with the home fans able to applaud their side off after an eventual 72-46 win.

England’s semi-final spot will be confirmed if South Africa beat Uganda this evening.

England’s Jo Harten said:

“I thought it was patchy in places, it was far from perfect, but overall we’re happy. We couldn’t be happier or more proud of ourselves to get to this point, but now there’s another step up tomorrow and into the weekend as well.”

Of her injury, Rachel Dunn said:

“My hand went numb because of a knock to the elbow. The feeling came back, it was fine, it’s just one of those – you kind of need your hand when you’re shooting! I just took a knock but it’s all fine now.”

15 July 2019 | Uncategorized

Uganda beat Trinidad and Tobago to keep last four hopes alive

A tantalizingly close encounter saw Uganda edge out Trinidad and Tobago 57-54 in both sides' first Group G fixture.

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.”

14 July 2019 | Uncategorized

Trinidad and Tobago register first win as Fiji are defeated

The Calypso Girls condemned Fiji to bottom spot in Group C with a 67-56 victory.

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.”  

13 July 2019 | Uncategorized

Jamaican Sunshine Girls extend winning run

Jamaica won the Saturday evening battle of the Caribbean nations at the Vitality Netball World Cup, recording a 68-43 victory over Trinidad and Tobago.

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.”

12 July 2019 | Uncategorized

John-Davis disappointed despite history-making feat

Trinidad and Tobago’s Rhonda John-Davis says she is more focused on helping her team improve than on her history-making appearance at a sixth Netball World Cup.

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.

She said:

“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.”

12 July 2019 | Uncategorized

South Africa impress in opening day win

South Africa recorded a victory over Trinidad and Tobago on what was a bittersweet evening for Calypso Girls captain, Rhonda John-Davis, who made history by appearing at her sixth Netball World Cup.

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.”