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.”
In what turned out to be the tightest game of the tournament so far, Scotland were quick to the mark from the centre pass. The Thistles attack tactfully opted for low movement around their shooting circle which saw Lynsey Gallagher get them off to a solid start.
The teams traded early blows, before an obstruction against the Ugandan centre saw the She Cranes take their opportunity to edge ahead.
They then capitalised on a missed opportunity by Scotland’s goal shooter Emma Barrie to pull three goals ahead, and as they built momentum the She Cranes’ defence and attack were equally as impressive. Impeccable precision in the shooting circle by both Stella Oyella and Peace Proscovia saw them finish the quarter 16-11 up.
They were able to extend this lead still further in the second quarter, despite the tireless determination of Emily Nicholl and Hayley Muleron to restrict their attacking options. By half time, the Ugandan lead had stretched out to seven, with the score 29-21.
The third quarter saw the Scots eat into that lead, though, as Barrie and Lynsey Gallagher upped their shooting percentages as the Thistles unsettled their opponents and brought the score back to within seven.
Any potential comeback was snuffed out by the Ugandans though, as they brought on Mary Nuba Cholock to assist Proscrovia in their shooting-circle, which allowed Oyella to drop to back to control centre court and see Uganda over the line.
Scotland’s Claire Maxwell, who was playing in her 100th international, said:
“It was great to play in such a fantastic atmosphere and such a big World Cup. I’m disappointed we didn’t get the win but we’ll push on for the next game – we will refresh and go again. It’s such a young squad and we can learn so much so we’re really looking forward to the next stage.”
Emma Barrie added:
“It was quite frustrating. We could have won that game but we did our best and that’s all we can do. My shooting could have been better but if it’s not 100% then I just need to keep trying.”
The two sides have previous experience at multiple World Cups, but prior to this had never competed against one other at this level.
It was Uganda who settled quickest into the match as they raced into the lead. Goal shooter Mary Nuba Cholock and goal attack Stella Oyella – the first player ever to be sent off in a World Cup match yesterday against England – scored seven times between them inside the opening four minutes.
The former, in particular, was left unmarked far too easily for the Samoan coaching staff’s liking, collecting the ball and converting with ease at times.
By the end of the first quarter, the Uganda attackers’ movement to outfox Samoa’s Gene Solia-Gibb and Rachel Rasmussen and their clinical finishing – missing just twice between them – saw Uganda take a 22-11 lead.
Samoan goal shooter Tee Salanoa converted eight of her nine opportunities – with Sanita To’o also scoring three – but Uganda were largely in possession, limiting their opponents to fewer chances than they were treated to themselves.
In the second 15 minutes, Samoa’s Ariana Luamanu, who turned 17 less than a fortnight ago and is the World Cup’s youngest player, entered the field of play.
As a consequence of her introduction or otherwise, Samoa’s performance improved as they scored 12 times – one more than in the first quarter – and limited Uganda to four fewer goals than their opening segment, although the match leaders did still further increase their advantage.
At the halfway mark in the match, Uganda led 40-23 and were thoroughly in control of the contest.
The third quarter could have seen Uganda press home that advantage and really stamp their authority on the tie, but Samoa once again limited them to fewer goals than in the previous quarter.
The decision to hold what they had rather than expend unnecessary energy on really pinning Samoa back proved to be a wise one, as Uganda headed into the final quarter of the game 24 goals clear.
With that cushion, Cholock was replaced for the final 15 minutes – ending the match having converted 35 of her 40 attempts – with the goal shooter’s work complete.
Samoa produced an admirable, battling showing in the final quarter, scoring 15 times and conceding only 12 to close the deficit to 21 goals, but the match finished 69-48 to Uganda, with their lead gathered in the first half sufficient for them to glide home to victory.
Uganda will face Scotland in their Group D fixture on Sunday, with the game now promising to be enthralling battle to finish second in the group, while Samoa face a significant challenge in the form of England.
Tracey Neville’s Roses made a strong start against Uganda after making a spine-tingling entrance in front of their home crowd.
England were switched on from the beginning, with goal shooter Jo Harten – winning her 100th international cap – starting well, and Helen Housby soon following suit.
Despite the best efforts of She Cranes shooters Peace Proscovia and Rachael Nanyonga, the final five minutes of the quarter saw a calculated England move into a commanding position, leading 15-6 at the end of the first period.
The second quarter was a closer affair, with England appearing unsettled as Uganda remained persistent, with Proscovia and Nanyonga displaying impeccable precision in the shooting circle.
At the other end though, Uganda’s defence could not hold England back as Serena Guthrie, playing in her third World Cup, and Chelsea Pitman were able to feed the impressive Harten. Uganda’s increased confidence in the second quarter prevented England from dominating, but the hosts still led by 10 goals heading into the third quarter.
Uganda showed their physicality in defence as they attempted to hold off England in the third quarter, but the Roses were in complete control going into the final quarter, leading 44-24.
The fourth quarter was similarly competitive, and one foul too many meant that Uganda’s centre Stella Oyella was sent off the court.
The Roses found their second wind, and worked hard to play the ball into Rachel Dunn, who converted 17 from 19 shots after her introduction. England were equally as impressive at the other end of the court, dealing well with an increasingly physical game to only concede six goals in the final quarter.
In front of an appreciative home crowd, England ran out 64-32 winners to open their home World Cup in solid fashion.
England’s Rachel Dunn said:
“Uganda are a really tough team, and after the test series we had against them last year, we knew they’d be a strong side. So getting them first out meant we had a few nerves to get over, but I think that performance sets a benchmark for us to build from.
“We felt the nerves in the warm-up, but I think the performance was good. The girls went out there and got a lead, and we didn’t look back from there.
“It was good to get a win, and a good win as well. It’s been a lot of years in the making, and it was great to get out there and get a win on the board in front of the amazing crowd.”