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NETBALL

Dominant Aussies record 12th Netball World Cup championship — SA finish sixth

Dominant Aussies record 12th Netball World Cup championship — SA finish sixth
Australia arrived as favourites and duly delivered at the Netball World Cup by beating Enland 61-45 in the final at the CTICC in Cape Town. (Photo: Ashley Vlotman / Gallo Images / Netball World Cup 2023)

Australia trounced England 61-45 in the final of the Netball World Cup on Sunday to clinch an unbelievable 12th World Cup title.

Australia claimed an incredible 12th Netball World Cup title after defeating England 61-45 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on Sunday evening.

To put Australia’s dominance on the global netball stage in context, there have been 16 Netball World Cups in total. The four times they failed to leave a tournament with a gold medal, they clinched silver.

It was therefore always going to be an uphill battle for England who were playing in a Netball World Cup final for the first time.

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Sophie Garbin of Australia in action during the Netball World Cup 2023 final against England at Cape Town International Convention Centre. (Photo: Shaun Roy / Gallo Images / Netball World Cup 2023)

And so it proved as the Aussies thrashed England by a margin of at least four goals in each of the final three quarters.

It was only in the first quarter where England were in the hunt thanks mainly to error-free goal shooting by Helen Housby and Eleanor Cardwell, but it was unsustainable, especially as Australia began to dominate possession.

England had reason to come into the contest with a sense of confidence having beaten the Aussies 56-55 in their final stage two preliminary group game.

But the Australians were a different beast when it counted most, in the final.

Championship credentials

Australia showed their championship prowess early in the match while England struggled to shake their nerves.

While the Australia Diamonds were precise and clinical, the Roses of England struggled to put passes together, despite their flawless early shooting performance.

In the second half of the first quarter the Roses showed why they made it all the way to the final with a terrific comeback to square the game up at 13 goals apiece.

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Helen Housby (shooting) and her England teammates were unable to stop Australia from claiming a 12th Netball World Cup title. (Photo: Shaun Roy / Gallo Images / Netball World Cup 2023)

The second quarter followed the same pattern, but this time England were unable to find a late comeback. Australia took the quarter 14-10 with Steph Wood and Cara Koenen shooting flawlessly for the Diamonds.

It was the introduction of goal attack Kiera Austin in the quarter that firmly shifted the momentum to Australia. The athletic Austin missed only two shots in the entire game while her quick movement created space for Sophie Garbin in the shooting circle.

Centre Paige Hadley and wing attack Liz Watson, meanwhile, controlled the centre circle excellently, feeding balls at will to their attackers as Australia took a 27-23 lead into the halftime break.

Australia continued to flex their championship credentials with a stunning 19-point quarter in the third, thanks mainly to the irrepressible goal-shooting of Garbin, who landed 13 goals.

The Aussies stretched their lead to 10 goals with a 46-36 lead at the end of the quarter.

At that point the writing was on the wall for first-time finalists England, whose fightback again fell short in the third.

With five minutes left on the clock and Australia 12 goals ahead, the smattering of Aussie fans started their “Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi!” chant as their side continued to run away with the final.

It was fitting that player of the match Austin dotted Australia’s 61st and final point with the final siren of the tournament imminent.

As it went off, the Australian bench and support staff entered the court in jubilation to join the seven already there as they celebrated their first World Cup title since 2015.

Rest of the day’s action

In the bronze medal match, Jamaica defeated reigning champions New Zealand 52-45 to claim their tied best World Cup finish.

The result for the Silver Ferns, meanwhile, meant it was their worst performance and the first time they had left a Netball World Cup without a medal.

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Izette Griesel of South Africa in action during the Netball World Cup 2023, 5th/6th-place match against Uganda at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. (Photo: Shaun Roy / Gallo Images / Netball World Cup 2023)

Earlier in the day, South Africa lost their fifth place playoff match against Uganda’s She Cranes 49-47 to finish their home tournament in sixth place.

“It was important for us to try and give it a good shot,” Proteas skipper Bongiwe Msomi said after the clash. “We just gave away too many balls.”

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The Proteas thank the crowd after their final game in the Netball World Cup 2023. (Photo: Shaun Roy / Gallo Images / Netball World Cup 2023)

“But when we drew and levelled the score, they kept the ball and credit to them, they played really well today.

“We’re disappointed, and at this point, I don’t know what to feel.

“Trust me, we came with a plan; we just needed to execute it. There’s no fault in the coaching staff; it’s on us.”

“We’re quite an honest group and mature. There’s a few things we should’ve executed better and I think it was quite visible. We lacked discipline.” DM

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