Match 4 – Wales vs New Zealand
We faced the reigning champions in our fourth match of the Netball World Cup, and it was another tough match for the Welsh Feathers.
Wales stayed close to the Silver Ferns at the start of the match, but the second ranked team in the world pulled away and started to dominate. In the remaining three quarters, New Zealand continued to extend their lead and ended up winning the match 83-24. The Welsh Feathers took some great learnings and achieved the smaller wins they had set out before the game. The Feathers kept the Ferns possession down at 55%, and finished the match with impressive stats considering the Ferns are the second ranked team.
At the end of the match, Wales captain Nia Jones said, “When we were drawn in this pool, we knew we would possibly face the Ferns and I think where they are, and their level of experience, they’re always going to be targeting a podium finish and it’s slightly out of our reach at the minute.
But we really had to break it down and see whether we could get under their skin really early, or force them into some errors, maybe cause a little frustration. At times we really did that. I think we were patient with the ball and took on their zone and were actually able to break through it, and then other times I think we fell into their trap a little bit… so, a little bit of naivety there but we’ve got some inexperience in this group and next time round we’ll be better prepped for it.”
Q2: 16-40 (8-21)
Q3: 22-65 (6-25)
Q4: 34-83 (12-18)
Match 5 – Wales vs Uganda
With this match targeted by Wales as a must win to get to the 7th and 8th Playoff match, it was going to be another tough affair against the 8th ranked team in the World.
There was just one change in the starting seven from the Welsh Feathers match against New Zealand, and that saw Bethan Dyke come back into the wing attack position to replace Shona O’Dwyer.
Wales contested strongly in the first quarter and kept the score deficit to just three goals heading into the second quarter.
Uganda found their flow and started to stretch their lead in the second and third quarters. In the fourth, Wales came back and put on a strong performance to match the Ugandan side. The fourth quarter scores were 15-15, but the match finished 73-56.
Welsh Feathers goal attack Phillipa Yarranton said it was a tough match. “Any ball we lost today, they converted straight away, and we also needed to slow things down.
Personally, I had a few errors, and I can’t afford to miss that many shots in a game.
It’s back to the drawing board and focusing on the next game. There’s not a lot of time before tomorrow’s match against Trinidad and Tobago, so it will be an early night.”
Q2: 27-36 (15-21)
Q3: 41-58 (14-22)
Q4: 56-73 (15-15)
Match 6 – Wales vs Trinidad & Tobago
Wales faced off against Trinidad and Tobago in Cape Town on Thursday with a place in the 9 th/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. This means that Wales will play off for ninth place.
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.”
Q2: 32-28 (14-14)
Q3: 53-39 (21-11)
Q4: 70-55 (17-16)
Player of the Match: Phillipa Yarranton