First win for Bajan Gems

Netballers register victory at Netball World Cup

Barbados finally registered a victory at the 2015 Netball World Cup in Australia today.

After five consecutive defeats, Barbados outclassed Sri Lanka 67-33 at the Allphones Arena in Sydney during action on Day 7 of the tournament.

Shonette Bruce defends against Sri Lanka’s Hasitha Mendis.
Shonette Bruce defends against Sri Lanka’s Hasitha Mendis.

Both nations entered the match without a win. Four-quarter consistency has been a deciding factor in each of their campaigns, and today’s encounter gave the two teams a chance to atone.

Some early nerves saw some inaccurate shooting in front of goal. The Barbados defence soon clicked into gear and helped execute thanks to strong rebounding.

Barbados’s 17-year-old goal attack Sheniqua Thomas had great energy around the circle and combined well with goal shooter Faye Sealy. Shonette Bruce was strong in defence for the Bajan Gems, pulling in two rebounds for the quarter whilst also doing a great job in covering Sri Lanka’s Thishala Algama.

Sri Lanka failed to shut down the Barbados long balls, losing the battle in midcourt. Algama played a key role in attack, scoring 10 goals for the quarter while captain Seminin Alwis provided a crucial goal assistance role for Algama feeding in from the circle. Gayani Dissanayke also picked up some crucial rebounds to keep Sri Lanka in touch.  However the Bajan Gems remained on top, and went to the first break with an 18-12 lead.

In the second quarter Latonia Blackman continued to provide excellent service in midcourt, gifting plenty of chances to the circle pairing of Thomas and Sealy. The combination was working well for Barbados, nailing six consecutive goals. The Bajan Gems long ball tactic continued to trouble Sri Lanka, with their defence caught napping. Sealy capitalised on this with five straight goals, pushing the Barbados lead out to 17 goals. At half time Barbados were comfortably in front 37-17.

Nikita Piggot replaced Thomas for the third quarter and was sharp in front of goal; executing six goals from six attempts in the quarter. Algama returned to the goal shooter role for Sri Lanka and was again the main target in attack. However Bajan Gem Rhe-Ann Niles was limiting her chances with some great intercepts. Barbados soon pushed the margin out to 29, as Sealy netted her 30th goal for the match. At three-quarter time, Barbados led 54-25.

The Bajan Gem defence continued to shine in the final term, with Niles and Bruce combining for nine deflections. Hasitha Mendis starred for Sri Lanka in the quarter, scoring all eight goals. Barbados eventually running out 67-33 winners.

Bajan Gem Faye Sealy top scored for the match and was happy that her teammates were able to get their first win today.

“I think we all fought right to the end and it was a very good performance from everyone on court. We all really wanted this win and we got it.”

 Sealy said the performance of young teammate Thomas was pleasing, saying she was a welcome addition to the team.

“She really brought her game today and we are very proud of her. She’s pretty well behaved for the most part. She’s very fun to be around; she is a great teammate.”

Sealy believed that while Barbados had recorded few wins at the World Cup, there were positives to take away.

 “It’s been a good tournament, of course we had some losses that we didn’t really expect or want but we are picking ourselves up and hopefully we will win the rest of our games.”

Source: (INF)

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