NWC 2023: Wales 70 – Trinidad & Tobago 55
Wales faced off against Trinidad and Tobago in Cape Town on Thursday with a place in the 9th/10th playoff at the Netball World Cup 2023 on the line.
The two sides have met at eight previous World Cups with the Caribbean side having won all of those encounters. But on Thursday it was the Welsh Feathers who enjoyed the early momentum. Trinidad and Tobago looked a little flat from the start and were struggling to hold onto their ball, allowing the Welsh to edge ahead and take a four-goal lead into the first break.
The match came alive in the second quarter with the Calypso Girls finding some of the rhythm and flair that they’ve displayed at the tournament so far while the Welsh stuck to their structures and continued to outpace their opponents. Trinidad and Tobago’s Afeisha Noel provided plenty of entertainment in the shooting circle, mixing it up with several layups and shots from distance. With the teams both scoring 15 goals in the quarter, Wales retained their four-goal lead at halftime.
The Welsh came out firing in the third quarter and Trinidad and Tobago were far less effective on defence. Wales were able to move with speed through the midcourt to feed their shooters, with Georgia Rowe excelling in the circle. The 6 ft 4 goal shooter finished a dominant quarter for Wales with 13 goals from her 13 attempts while she finished the match with a 98 per cent shooting average.
The final quarter was a close one, with only one goal the difference between the sides but ultimately the Welsh stood strong to wrap up a memorable 70-55 victory.
Wales will now play off for ninth place, while the highest Trinidad and Tobago can finish is 11th. Those positions would mirror their current world rankings with the Welsh currently in ninth and the Calypso Girls in 11th spot.
Speaking after the match Rowe said her side weren’t focused on the fact that they could claim a first win over the Calypso Girls in Netball World Cup history.
“It feels really good. I don’t think we allowed ourselves to have that pressure of it being the first time. I think we were coming in today after a disappointing loss yesterday and just making sure we were really connected,” she said.
“We stuck to our structures and weren’t focusing so much on who our opposition were, but just on what we were putting out on court, so we’re really pleased. Obviously, the fact that we had never beaten them is an extra celebration for us. I just think it was a complete team effort, which is really good.”
Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Daystar Swift said: “I felt they had better discipline. I felt the Welsh team were making safer passes and that really worked for them, getting the ball to the circle edge
“The energy was down. We tried our best before the game to really lift our spirits and take that spirit on court. Unfortunately, we now play for 11th and 12th which is not what we were expecting but we are working hard to seal that 11th spot and we definitely don’t want to go lower than that.”
Q2: 32-28 (14-14)
Q3: 53-39 (21-11)
Q4: 70-55 (17-16)
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Phillipa Yarranton (Wales)