New Zealand Defeats Uganda 54-44 At Netball World Cup

New Zealand Defeats Uganda 54-44 At Netball World Cup

By Spy Uganda

A fourth quarter surge helped the Silver Ferns secure a second straight win after they posted a hard-fought 54-44 scoreline over a gallant Uganda at the Netball World Cup in Cape Town on Saturday.

For three-quarters of the match, the Silver Ferns had to negate a serious challenge from Uganda who refused to take a backward step, pushing the more fancied New Zealanders all the way in a riveting contest.

Weathering the storm, the greater experience and strong midcourt defence, where long-limbed defender Kelly Jury made an impact at wing defence late in the piece, finally got the Silver Ferns over the line in an enthralling match-up.

“We knew it was going to be a game where we’d have to hold on and grind to stay in it until we could hopefully pull away towards the end,” Silver Ferns captain Ameliaranne Ekenasio said.

“Uganda are a quality team and we knew that they were going to bring it and that’s exactly what they did today.”

Facing a hectic schedule, Silver Ferns coach Dame Noeline Taurua balanced the twin effect of managing workloads while maximising opportunities to test a variety of playing combinations. There was plenty of mixing and matching throughout against the unfamiliar style of the She Cranes with all the Silver Ferns roster getting game time.

The only change to the Silver Ferns starting line-up from yesterday was Whitney Souness getting the nod at wing attack.

Back in their traditional black strip after playing in silver the day before, it didn’t take long for the Silver Ferns to find they had a challenge on their hands against fellow opening-round winners in Pool D. A well-drilled Uganda, the eighth-ranked team, once again showing their rising status of recent years.

The Silver Ferns built a two-goal advantage on three occasions during the first quarter, Uganda coming back twice to equalise but the greater accuracy (100%) of shooters Grace Nweke and Ekenasio provided a slim 13-11 lead for the women in black at the first break.

With Maia Wilson taking over at goal attack from Ekenasio on the resumption, things didn’t get any easier for the Silver Ferns with Uganda matching them all the way. Patience paid off for the She Cranes who were exemplary with their ball security.

Happy to play the ball around, with centre Margaret Baagala being a standout, worked a treat while the towering figure of goal shoot Mary Cholhok was never far from the action. An imposing presence, the 2.1m shooter moved seamlessly across the circle while proving an accurate finisher under the hoop.

Uganda did an excellent job of denying the New Zealanders their flow, the Silver Ferns breaking free after their opponents had levelled the scores before having a strong finish to gain some breathing space.

It took until four minutes before halftime for the first clean intercept to be taken, Phoenix Karaka continuing her fine form, and her in-circle defensive combination with Jury paying dividends when the Silver Ferns forged to the biggest lead of the game when leading 25-21 at half-time.

The Silver Ferns made a raft of personnel and positional changes for the third quarter with Te Paea Selby-Rickit (goal shoot), Gina Crampton (wing attack) and Jane Watson (goalkeeper) making their entrance to the game while Ekenasio, back on at goal attack, and Kate Heffernan (wing defence) and Souness (centre) moved into new roles.

Uganda were unable to get closer than two goals, the Silver Ferns taking toll of a couple of unforced errors from their opponents to hold the edge. The third stanza followed a similar pattern to the previous two with the Silver Ferns winning it by two to take a 38-32 lead at the last turn. an accessible web community

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