Wales emerged victorious in the Wendy White Series, emerging 2-nil victors after a 72-34 win last night at the Sport Wales National Centre, Cardiff.
It was a nightmare start for the visitors as goal attack Terrelle Onesemo went down with a nasty leg injury within the first thirty seconds. Once play restarted it was Wales who struck first, although a second Welsh goal went awry for a Samoan interception. Indeed, Samoa had done their homework on their hosts and were leading by 1 after five minutes of play. Things were neck and neck for most of the quarter, only for Samoa to lose concentration in the final three minutes and give wales a 4-goal lead going into the first break.
The second half began in a somewhat rigid fashion as both teams exchanged simple goals. It was Wales who broke the deadlock with a brilliant interception from Nia Jones who pounced on a loose pass to set up Sarah Llewelyn who was waiting to take advantage. Despite some Samoan changes, Wales took a 14 point lead at half-time.
What had started the match as a reasonably sturdy Samoan defence started to flake as the second half wore on. Wales rung the changes as the goals kept coming and the third quarter saw was up by 26. With a minute to go Wales passed the seventy-goal mark and other than a beautifully floated Samoan pass that drew a wow from the crowd, the visitors were routed.
The final score of 71-45 did not tell that whole tale of how much the young visiting side improved in this second test, particularly in defence. Samoa made some outstanding interceptions, and despite losing Terrelle Onesemo to injury they put in a performance that will stand them in good stead in the future.
Post-match, Wales were presented with the Wendy White trophy for winning the series. Meanwhile, Eleanor Roberts was recognised by Wales Netball President, Merle Hamilton, for winning her first cap on Tuesday and Georgia Rowe was crowned player of the series and had her award presented by Tom Cooper from Ace Orthotix.
Wales now turn their attentions to January’s World Cup qualifiers in Perth, Scotland. Elsewhere, Celtic Dragons head to Severn Stars for their first pre-season match ahead of the 2018 Vitality Superleague season.
Q1 Wales: 18 Samoa 11 Q2 Wales 20 Samoa 9 (38-24) Q3 Wales 26 Samoa 9 (59-33) Q4 Wales 12 Samoa 12 (FT: 71-45)
Suzy Drane (C), Fern Davies, Bethan Dyke, Kyra Jones, Nia Jones, Sarah Llewelyn, Cara Lea Moseley, Eleanor Roberts, Georgia Rowe, Christina Shaw, Leila Thomas and Amanda Varey.
Nicolette Tato (C), Sanonu Robertson (v/C), Giorja Fatu, Liana Hogarth, Seiafi Lafaiali’i-Sapolu, Ariana Luamanu, Sisavaii Muliaga, Terrelle Onesemo, Soli Ropati, Tahnyshavaughn Salona, Sanita To’o and Betty Tuipulotu