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Botswana celebrate historic world champs win

14 November 2007


Attention Sports Editors


Botswana celebrate historic world champs win

Botswana were the toast of the New World Netball World Championships in Auckland today after their upset 44-43 win over Barbados.

The result means the African minnows can now finish no worse than 12th in their first appearance at a world championship.

Wales, Fiji and Trinidad & Tobago joined Botswana in the playoffs for the ninth to 12th final placings after today’s matches.


Belying their status as newcomers, the unranked Botswana held off a late charging Barbados in a pulsating final few minutes for the biggest win of their short world championship history with the scalp of the No 7 ranked team.


It was the first win at this tournament for the African team more used to playing outdoors on concrete courts and who have battled against the odds over the years to compete in a world championship.


``It is our first international win at this level so it’s got to be very good for us,’’ Botswana coach Joseph Makakaba said.


``We have shown the world we can compete.’’


After a tight opening quarter when they led by just two, Wales overwhelmed Malaysia to run away 69-32 winners.


It was a rampant outing for the Welsh who dominated in all departments with constructive play and accurate finishing.


``It was a good win and I thought we put out a really good solid performance there today,’’ Welsh coach Denise Ellis said.


``We knew we could still reach our target of top 10 by coming out today and putting in a good performance against Malaysia which we did.’’


Fiji revived their sagging fortunes with a 58-37 win over Scotland. Bouncing back from the disappointment of failing to make the quarterfinals, Fiji controlled both ends of the court in a mostly scrappy match which provided few highlights. Fiji led from start to finish with quarter scores of 18-11, 35-17 and 52-26.

Athletic Fiji goal defence Marjorie Parr was a real thorn for the Scottish shooters, her long reach and ability to disrupt causing major problems.


At the other end of the court, the lofty 1.92m Taraima Rara had a field day under the Fiji hoop. The shorter Scotland defenders were unable to defuse Fiji’s successful use of the bomb where Rara asserted her authority with a strong positional game and an impressive display of accurate shooting.


``Yesterday is gone, we’ve forgotten about that game (loss to the Cook Islands),’’ Fiji coach Vilimaina Davu said.


``We’ve missed out on the top eight but I was very proud of what the girls did out there today and we’ll do our best to finish in that ninth position.’’


Trinidad & Tobago proved too strong for Singapore, running out comfortable 42-32 winners.


Singapore’s mid-court struggled against Rhonda John-Davis, Tricia Liverpool and Anika La Roche, but staunch defence by Jean Ng, Premila Hirubalan and Charlene Porima revived Singapore’s spirit and, more importantly, increased their share of possession.

For Trinidad & Tobago, goal defence Crystal Ann George and John-Davis picked up any loose ball with ease while the Calypso Girls’ athleticism through the midcourt, sharp passing into the circle and Anastascia Wilson’s reliability and sheer power under the net took its toll.

As Trinidad & Tobago began to smell victory they increased their tempo and scored more freely, pulling away in the final minutes for the win.

“It’s now disappointing that we’re out of the top eight, so we must be at least ninth for this tournament to mean anything,’’ Trinidad & Tobago coach Grace Parkinson-Griffith said.

Today’s results consigned Barbados, Singapore, Scotland and Malaysia to the battle for 13th to 16th places.

The top eight resume their quest for championship honours tomorrow after a rest day when England meet Malawi, Australia take on the Cook Islands, Jamaica front Samoa and the Silver Ferns square off against South Africa.



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