Vitality Netball World Cup - Day one

The Vitality Netball World Cup got underway on Friday 12 July in front of a sell-out Liverpool crowd. With sixteen of the world’s top teams taking to the court, England Netball followed the results closely.

Session 1:

Group A: Australia 88 – 24 Northern Ireland

Coming up against fierce competition in their opening round, Northern Ireland faced world number one Australia, who got off to a sensational start, with their captain and goal shooter Caitlin Basset converting every single goal in the first fifteen minutes. Northern Ireland gave their all on court but the visitors from Down Under continued to increase the gap, ending the game with an enormous 64-point victory.

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Northern Ireland goal defender, Fionnuala Toner commented: “It was tough, it’s always going to be tough against the number one team in the world. They’re full time netball athletes, we’re amateurs, we still hold down full-time jobs so it’s always going to be difficult but I think we can learn an awful lot from a game like that.”

Group A: Zimbabwe 79 – 39 Sri Lanka

With remarkable shooting statistics from both sides, the match was a compellingly competitive affair. With their raucous support creating an almost unparalleled atmosphere, the Zim Gems made a huge impression with their first ever World Cup victory, beating Sri Lanka by a whopping 30 points.

Group B: New Zealand 64 – 45 Malawi

New Zealand claimed the first victory of the 2019 Vitality Netball World Cup with a resounding victory over Malawi in the opening match of the tournament. Joyce Mvula and Loreen Ngwira of Malawi got off to a flying start, keeping the score line close for much of the opening quarter with Mvula recording a strong 80% shot rate. The second half however saw New Zealand’s formidable attack find their flow and push on to create a wide lead, finishing the game with a comfortable 19-point lead.

Mvula returned to court for the first time today, after suffering an injury during the VNSL Grand Final. She said: “Of course, I’ll try and bring my Thunder form [into this tournament]. I’m coming back from injury so of course it is hard, that’s why I was coming in and out of the game.”

Group B: Barbados 69 – 34 Singapore

The Gems extending their four-game winning streak over Singapore to five as their flowing game prevailed throughout each quarter, with strong shooting statistics being supported by turnover ball. Whilst Singapore showed promise in the third quarter, they were ultimately unable to contend with the speed of the Gems.

Session 2

Group C: Jamaica 85 – 29 Fiji

Top four contenders, Jamaica, stole an emphatic victory, beating Fiji by an outstanding 56 points. Featuring Stacian Facey and Jodi Ann-Ward, the Sunshine Girls showed flair and power as they stole the show from the pacific island team.

Lining up for Fiji was Dee Bolakoro: “It’s amazing [to make my World Cup debut]. It’s a dream come true for a netball player and a pinnacle point for any netballer to be playing at. I was little but nervous but excited at the same time.”

Group C: South Africa 76 – 45 Trinidad and Tobago

South Africa enjoyed a strong start, allowing them to rotate the squad which in turn saw Sigi Burger gain her World Cup debut. On the opposite end of the court Kalifa McCollins racked up an impressive 79% success rate in Trinidad and Tobago’s shooting circle. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough as South Africa’s Bongiwe Msomi led her team to a 76-45 victory.

Shadine Van Der Merwe (Surrey Storm) commented: “It feels like home, it’s nice to have some of your fans based in Surrey where I played in the beginning of this year so for them to come to Liverpool and support netball is just great and having a few fans around is just great.”

Group D: England 64 – 32 Uganda

The Vitality Roses stepped out to a unanimous roar from the home crowd in preparation for their opening match. The Roses created an early lead with ferocious pace and composure, before sealing the deal with a 64 – 32 win over sixth ranked Uganda. Gaining their World Cup debuts were Fran Williams and Nat Panagarry with Jo Harten reaching her 100th cap.

Fran Williams commented: “It was just the most amazing feeling, definitely messy and a bit of a crazy game but I can’t be happier. Just getting out there and enjoying the game was what I wanted from the first game and I think I did that.

“some of these players I grew up watching and idolizing and now I’m getting to learn alongside them as teammates. I’m enjoying every moment of it and trying to just embrace it and absorb as much knowledge as I can from them all.”

Vitality Roses captain, Serena Guthrie commented on the game: “I think the team handled today’s match well, we stayed connected, we managed to get all 12 players out on court so the fact that everyone has had a run around and settled those nerves is good for us as a side moving forward.

“It was a bit of a weird day for us, we had the opening ceremony (which was incredible) in the middle of the day so it was a bit of an interesting game day prep for us, but those are the sorts of things you have to deal with when the sport just blows up and you have all sorts of people interested and wanting to come down. So you know for us it’s just something we’re taking in our stride and finding our way through.”

Group D: Scotland 53 – 35 Samoa

Despite the long lead in time, Scotland remained calm and collected as they looked to kick off their World Cup campaign in style. Scottish Thistles captain Claire Maxwell not only marked her second World Cup appearance with a win but took herself one step closer to the ‘100 Club’ earning her 98thcap.

Maxwell commented on the result: “The atmosphere tonight was absolutely fantastic in there and we are really proud to be taking part in this event.

“We had a strong belief that over the four quarters we were going to be the better side. They were strong, I think they’re going to have a good tournament. Physically they’re also very strong, as well as on the ball so I think they are going to have a fantastic tournament and all the best to them in the rest of their games.”


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