New Zealand look determined to defend the Netball World Youth Cup (NWYC) following their 89-22 win over Northern Ireland in their opening Pool-A match played on Saturday.
The Pool also has Samoa, Scotland and Sri Lanka. Both teams got into the match full of confidence and hunger to win. However, New Zealand took the game in the first quarter.
They played long passes, which worked well for them. The defending champions looked physically superior compared to Northern Islands. Northern Ireland lost many balls, giving New Zealand too much possession. By the end of the first quarter, the defending champions were leading 21-6.
In the beginning of the second quarter, New Zealand continued with their long ball strategy and worked more with their wing attackers to add more goals. Their opponents on the other hand tried to get back into the game but found New Zealand resolute. The second quarter ended 43-11 in favour of the defending champions as Northern Ireland did little to trouble them.
Both teams made several changes in the beginning of the third quarter. The pace of the game increased a bit and Northern Ireland worked hard to try and reduce the gap but it was not to be as New Zealand went into break after the end of the third
The last quarter of the match saw New Zealand completely dominating while their opponents were left frustrated, losing balls easily. They appeared tired in the last quarter and New Zealand sealed the victory to kick-start their title defence with a bang.
New Zealand coach, Kiri Wills did not hide her happiness and congratulated both teams for showing respect to each other throughout the game.
“This was the first game and already teams are playing good game with no signs of misbehaving on the pitch and less injuries. However our plan is to defend the cup and we are highly determined. We want to make sure that we are always accurate and quick on our attacks,” she said.
Despite the heavy loss, the Northern Ireland coach, Jackie Portia said she pleased with the play of her team. “They lost their first game because they were playing with giants and they could not play over head ball because of the height of their opponents,” she said of her team.
Other Saturday results:
Jamaica 43-41 Cooks Island
Australia 83- 33 Zimbabwe
Fiji 55-28 Trinidad and Tobago
South Africa 62-30 Barbados