NWC 2023: New Zealand 76 – Trinidad & Tobago 27
New Zealand’s Silver Ferns began their Netball World Cup title defence with a dominant display over Trinidad and Tobago at the Cape Town International Convention Centre in South Africa on Friday, claiming a 76-27 victory.
The 2019 Netball World Cup champions raced into a nine-goal lead before Joelisa Cooper could slot in Trinidad and Tobago’s first goal of the tournament. With Grace Nweke notching up a flawless 100 per cent shooting record at the other end of the court in the first quarter, the Silver Ferns were 23-2 up by the first break.
They continued that momentum into the second quarter, Maia Wilson coming on for Nweke and continuing the 100 per cent scoring record. But Trinidad and Tobago managed to find their shooters in the circle with more regularity – wing attack Shantel Seemungal and later centre Alena Brooks working hard in midcourt – scoring nine goals of their own to take the score to 43-11 at half time.
It was an even better third quarter from the Caribbean nation as they began by matching New Zealand goal for goal for the first 10 minutes and enjoyed 57 per cent of the possession. They once again scored nine goals but restricted the Silver Ferns to just 15 as New Zealand coach Noeline Taurua gave each of her players some court time. Trinidad and Tobago continued their positive performance in the final period, but ultimately the defending champions wrapped up a resounding victory.
New Zealand’s South African-born defender Karin Burger was named Most Valuable Player
“I was happy with the start. I thought we were quite dominant,” said Taurua afterwards. “There are some elements we’ve been working on and I could see that out on court. I thought that as the game progressed we sort of pulled ourselves apart or the opposition did and we became reactive but it’s a good start for us and we know the areas we can improve on.”
New Zealand captain Ameliaranne Ekenasio added: “I think we did start well but we have to make sure that we continue to rise above the physicality when it comes so it was a good challenge for us… Obviously we had multiple combos out there but we’ve always talked around the fact that no matter who is on we have to be able to do our job so it’s just getting that consistency across the quarters but good for us to know now where we can grow.”
Trinidad and Tobago coach Joel “Twiggy” Young-Strong was pleased with her side’s performance, particularly in the second half.
“New Zealand is New Zealand – they were the World Cup winners so it was tough. We took a little too long to settle in but when we settled in we did some good things, we did some great things and I am very pleased with the goal that we set – to lift our goals against New Zealand and we did that so we celebrate some small wins today.
Q2: 43-11 (20-9)
Q3: 58-20 (15-9)
Q4: 76-27 (18-7)
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Karin Burger (New Zealand)