New Zealand netball champs again
NEW ZEALAND are the repeat champions of the Netball World Youth Cup.
The Silver Ferns repeated their 2013 victory over neighbours Australia with a tough 60-57 victory in front of a capacity crowd at the Botswana University Sport Centre in Gaborone last night.
That victory in which New Zealand surged from quarters of 27-28, 17-14 and 45-41 earned them four gold, the same as Australia in the eighth tournament.
New Zealand also have one silver and three bronze while Australia have two silver and one bronze.
It was refreshing to see the officials allowing the two teams from Down Under to play a physical game of body checks. Both employed a speedy game, displaying skills of the highest order, with New Zealand exploding with six- and seven-points lead in the pivotal last quarter.
Earlier, England captured the bronze with a one-sided 70-35 victory over 2021 hosts Fiji.
The four Caribbean teams did not fare well in this seventh edition of the World Cup. Jamaica, who were defending the bronze position, ended fifth and will have to qualify for the next edition.
That could put even more pressure on Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Grenada who will be in those qualifiers. Both Trinidad and Tobago and the Bajan Gems had ended seventh and eighth in 2013. On this occasion they placed 14th and 15th. First-timers Grenada placed dead last at 20.
Today, the Bajan Gems will commence their 20-hour trip back home with the team expected in Barbados tomorrow. (KB)