World Champion NZU21 Team Return Home
World Champion NZU21 Team Return
Monday 2 September
Members of the victorious NZU21 team arrive home in Auckland tomorrow with gold medals around their necks and the World Youth Netball Championship Trophy proudly on display.
New Zealand beat the Australians, 52-47, in an exciting championship final in Glasgow on Sunday morning.
It is the third time New Zealand has been crowned under-age world champions, their last World Youth Netball Championship win in 2005, and they needed a strong team performance in Sunday’s gold medal match to wrest the title back off the Australians.
Coach Janine Southby praised the team unity after the championship final and the determination shown across the court.
A gutsy semi-final win over a spirited Jamaican side set the Kiwis up for what was always going to be a fierce final.
The composure they showed in a come-from-behind win over Jamaica the previous day was again evident when Australia surged late in the gold medal match.
New Zealand lost key player Kayla Cullen to a knee injury before the tournament started but the depth in the squad was highlighted with the performance of a number of players throughout the week.
The defensive combination of Zoe Walker and Phoenix Karaka stepped up as the tournament progressed and caused plenty of problems for the Australian’s talented frontline.
Wing defence Stacey Peeters was also a stand-out in the final while at the other end of the court, 18-year-old Malia Paseka showed her potential at international level with some long-range shooting when the pressure went on.
Her combination with Te Paea Selby-Rickit, who missed just one attempt at goal against the Australians, was a strength for the New Zealanders against the tight marking from Australia’s defence line.
New Zealand’s patience on attack paid off in a tense final quarter as the Kiwis held off an Australian comeback late in the match.
New Zealand beat Bermuda 107-16
New Zealand beat Malta 94-6
New Zealand beat Northern Ireland 102-15
New Zealand beat Trinidad and Tobago 77-16
Quarter final: New Zealand beat Wales 79-41
Semi-final: New Zealand beat Jamaica 53-44
Final: New Zealand 52 (Malia Paseka 31/43, Te Paea Selby-Rickit 21/22) beat Australia 47 (Kristina Brice 29/33, Cody Lange 11/18, Gretel Tippett 7/7). Quarter scores: 17-12, 30-24, 41-36, 52-47.