NWC2023: Wales 68 – Sri Lanka 56
Wales took their first win in the 2023 Netball World Cup
With both Wales and Sri Lanka chasing a first victory of the Netball World Cup 2023 in Cape Town, there was plenty to play for when the two sides went head-to-head in their final Group C clash on Sunday.
On the line was a place in the second stage of the preliminaries with only the top three teams in each pool progressing. And it was the Welsh Feathers who got the job done with a 68-56 victory.
While the Sri Lankans stayed within striking distance for much of the opening quarter, some great intercepts from the Welsh ensured they edged ahead, taking a six-goal advantage into the first break.
Midway through the second quarter, the match was halted for close to eight minutes after Sri Lankan wing attack Dulangi Wannithilake received a blow to the stomach from a Welsh player’s knee and became physically ill on the side of the court.
When play resumed, Wales managed to pick up where they left off, Ella Powell-Davies and Christina Shaw doing exceptionally well on defence for their side to open the gap to head into halftime 30-22 up.
The tallest player in the tournament 2.06m Tharjini Sivalingam came on at goal shooter after the break and made all the difference, with the Sri Lankans producing their highest-scoring quarter. Incredibly Wannithilake also returned to action at wing attack.
But a 10-goal gap by the end of the period proved too much to close and with goal shooter Georgia Rowe completing a near-flawless performance in the Wales circle with 49 goals from 50 attempts, the Feathers wrapped up the crucial 68-56 victory.
Powell-Davies was named Most Valuable Player and said: “It’s so, so good – a massive boost of confidence for this squad. We’ve had a tough couple of games and Sri Lanka really brought it to us today. It was super tough out there, but to get the win it’s a massive boost and we’re looking forward to going through to the next group.”
Sri Lanka coach Thilaka Jinadasa said: “The girls did well today overcoming these big losses in our last two matches.”
Speaking about Wannithilake’s injury, Jinadasa added: “She will hopefully be OK. She’ll be taken to the doctor to be checked. She’s a very strong character so I’m sure she will be ok.”
“She is a very fast wing attack for us in our starting seven so I have more confidence with her
and I knew she was a strong character and could come back and she proved it again today.”
Q2: 30-22 (13-11)
Q3: 50-40 (20-18)
Q4: 68-56 (18-16)
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Ella Powell-Davies (Wales)