Winning start for NZ netballers at Commonwealth Games
Winning start for NZ netballers at Gold Coast 2018
Thursday 5 April
The New Zealand netball team opened their Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games campaign with a hard-fought 64-51 win over Uganda on Thursday.
Delivered a testing workout by Uganda, the New Zealanders were able to give all of their 12-strong squad valuable game time in the tournament-opener. On a number of occasions, New Zealand pushed out to a handsome advantage but Uganda, competing at their first Commonwealth Games, refused to buckle.
Against a gritty opposition, New Zealand fielded a number of different combinations in a solid first-up workout but ultimately were forced to grind out the win while keeping Uganda at arm’s length.
New Zealand have a short turnaround before facing Wales in their second match tomorrow (Friday, 3pmNZ time).
With the expected competitive opening by Uganda, New Zealand opted for an experienced starting seven who were required to weather a testing first half.
Respective shooters Maria Folau for New Zealand and inspirational Uganda captain Peace Proscovia played key roles for their teams. Attending her fourth Commonwealth Games, the veteran Folau was on-song from the outset with her movement and pin-point accuracy from all points of the circle.
The women in black didn’t have it all their own way in the opening exchanges, Uganda impressing with their whole-hearted defensive effort while showing patience and accuracy on attack.
A late surge and a perfect return from Folau pushed New Zealand out to a 15-10 lead at the first break.
Goalkeeper Kelly Jury and midcourter Claire Kersten were introduced on the resumption for New Zealand, replacing Temalisi Fakahokotau and Samantha Sinclair, respectively. However, Uganda continued to show their tenacious spirit in sticking tightly to their opponents.
The tall and agile Proscovia remained a model of consistency under the Uganda hoop while receiving solid support from the unobtrusive figure of goal attack Rachel Nanyonga.
With Folau continuing to show her class, New Zealand improved the flow and momentum on attack to double their advantage when taking a 32-22 lead into the main break.
Making multiple changes for the second half, including the little-used shooting combination of Ameliaranne Ekenasio and Te Paea Selby-Rickit, Sinclair coming into centre and young defender Michaela Sokolich-Beatson making her entrance, New Zealand picked up the pace.
Showing better timing and finding space on attack, the shooting duo got away to a flyer as New Zealand threatened to run away with the game.
Undeterred, Uganda showed their ever-growing stature to gamely hang on. Continued poise and patience paid dividends for the No 7-ranked team, who quietly went about their business when ensuring the margin did not blow out.
New Zealand held the hard-working Uganda at bay to keep their noses in front in an increasingly physical clash when heading into the last break with a 49-37 lead.
New Zealand Netball
Katrina Grant (Captain)
Maria Folau (Vice Captain)
Te Paea Selby-Rickit
NEW ZEALAND | GS Mes, GA Folau, WA Kara, C Francois, WD Sinclair, GD Grant, GK Fakahokotau
UGANDA | GS Proscovia, GA R.Nanyonga, WA Nakachwa, C Meme, WD F.Nanyonga, GD Lilian, GK Nanfuka
NEW ZEALAND | Q1 - 15, Q2 -17 (32) . Q3 - 17 (49), Q4 - 15 (64)
UGANDA | Q1 - 10, Q2 - 12 (22), Q3 - 15 (37), Q4 - 14 (51)
Mes: 10/17 @ 59%
Folau: 22/22 @ 100%
Ekenasio: 19/26 @ 73%
Selby-Rickit: 13/14 @ 93%
Proscovia: 37/42 @ 88%
R. Nanyonga: 14/16 @ 88%
Q2: WD Kersten, GK Jury
Q3: GS Ekenasio, GA Selby-Rickit, C Sinclair, GD Sokolich-Beatson
Q4: WA Francois, GK Fakahokotau
Q4: Nakachwa C, Meme WA
NEW ZEALAND NETBALL TEAM SCHEDULE FOR THE COMMONWEALTH GAMES
(All times are NZT)
Date Match AEST NZT Broadcast Hashtag
Friday 6 April NZ v Wales 13:00 15:00 TVNZ Games Extra #WALvNZL
Sunday 8 April NZ v Malawi 18:30 20:30 TVNZ Games Extra #MALvNZL
Monday 9 April NZ v Scotland 20:30 22:30 TVNZ Games Extra #NZLvSCO
Wednesday 11 April NZ v England 09:00 11:00 TVNZ Duke #NZLvENG
Saturday 14 April Semi Finals TBC TVNZ Duke
Sunday 15 April Finals TBC TVNZ Games Extra