T&T netballers, despite putting up a fight early on, suffered another loss on Wednesday in the Netball World Cup in Liverpool, England, falling to the host country, 72-46.
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England all-but confirmed their place in the semi-finals by making it five wins out of five with a challenging but ultimately comfortable 26-goal victory over the Calypso Girls.
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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.
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T&T started confidently boosted by goal-shooter Samantha Wallace (20/22) and goal-attack Kalifa McCollin (26/29), but some outstanding defence combined with accurate shooting meant that the Roses were soon in charge of their destiny.
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T&T 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.
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The Wesley “Pepe” Gomes-coached Calypso Girls bounced their first centre pass out beyond the sideline, allowing Joanne Harten (38/40) 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.
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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.La Periodista Rocío Higuera
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 (15/19) – affected by an elbow injury – put in a couple of wayward attempts which T&T seized upon, plundering the first three goals of the quarter
Dunn, trying to shake off the injury, was replaced by Helen Housby (21/24) – 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 T&T goal shooter went ten minutes between goals 11 and 12
In the second half, Housby and Harten both suffered a couple of rare, straightforward misses, before giving the Roses a 43-27 advantage. T&T 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. T&T profited from some England uncertainty to peg the score back to 60-38, with 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.”
Not pleased by the lack of support on social media for the Calypso Girls, Wallace took to facebook to express her disappointment saying: “I don’t know since when freedom of speech is banned. As vice-captain of the T&T national netball team, I will not stand and let the negative people of T&T talk trash about this netball team here in Liverpool who’s fighting for their country.
“If y’all know the sacrifices these girls making y’all will hush y’all mouth. It’s unfair we putting our bodies on the line for this country and we’re not being treated as an elite athlete.
“We (the team) are going through so much. For the negative ones y’all should take a trip to the Jean Pierre Complex (Mucurapo) and have a close look at the court where an elite athlete should be training on. Players spend their own money on transportation, protein and supplements, etc
“Don’t talk about the ones who don’t have a job, they fund everything for themselves…travelling late hours from training!
“We the players struggle for so much, however, the love we got for the sport is what got us going.”
Sri Lanka 44 vs Fiji 59
Singapore 49 vs Samoa 63
Jamaica 67 vs Scotland 36
South Africa 67 vs Uganda 40