Defending champion New Zealand and the world’s top-ranked side, Australia, kicked off their Netball World Cup 2023 campaigns with convincing victories while Uganda earned the host continent their first win of the tournament.
NEW ZEALAND 76 – 27 TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
New Zealand’s Silver Ferns began their Netball World Cup title defence with a dominant
display over Trinidad and Tobago at the Cape Town International Convention Centre in
South Africa on Friday, claiming a 76-27 victory.
The 2019 Netball World Cup champions raced into a nine-goal lead before Joelisa Cooper
could slot in Trinidad and Tobago’s first goal of the tournament. With Grace Nweke notching
up a flawless 100 per cent shooting record at the other end of the court in the first quarter,
the Silver Ferns were 23-2 up by the first break.
They continued that momentum into the second quarter, Maia Wilson coming on for Nweke
and continuing the 100 per cent scoring record. But Trinidad and Tobago managed to find
their shooters in the circle with more regularity – wing attack Shantel Seemungal and later
centre Alena Brooks working hard in midcourt – scoring nine goals of their own to take the
score to 43-11 at half time.
It was an even better third quarter from the Caribbean nation as they began by matching
New Zealand goal for goal for the first 10 minutes and enjoyed 57 per cent of the
They once again scored nine goals but restricted the Silver Ferns to just 15 as New Zealand coach Noeline Taurua gave each of her players some court time. Trinidad and Tobago continued their positive performance in the final period, but ultimately the defending
champions wrapped up a resounding victory.
New Zealand’s South African-born defender Karin Burger was named Most Valuable Player
“I was happy with the start. I thought we were quite dominant,” said Taurua afterwards.
“There are some elements we’ve been working on and I could see that out on court. I
thought that as the game progressed we sort of pulled ourselves apart or the opposition did
and we became reactive but it’s a good start for us and we know the areas we can improve
New Zealand captain Ameliaranne Ekenasio added: “I think we did start well but we have to
make sure that we continue to rise above the physicality when it comes so it was a good
challenge for us.
“Obviously we had multiple combos out there but we’ve always talked around the fact that no
matter who is on we have to be able to do our job so it’s just getting that consistency across
the quarters but good for us to know now where we can grow.”
Trinidad and Tobago coach Joel “Twiggy” Young-Strong was pleased with her side’s
performance, particularly in the second half.
“New Zealand is New Zealand – they were the World Cup winners so it was tough. We took
a little too long to settle in but when we settled in we did some good things, we did some
great things and I am very pleased with the goal that we set – to lift our goals against New
Zealand and we did that so we celebrate some small wins today.
UGANDA 79-37 SINGAPORE
A first Netball World Cup clash between Uganda and Singapore saw the African nation
dominating from start to finish and walking away with a 79-37 victory.
The She Cranes pulled away in the first quarter, enjoying 60 per cent of the possession in
the period and surging ahead to a 22-9 lead.
It was more of the same in the second quarter as the Ugandans proved quicker and slicker
on all fronts with Haniisha Muhameed and Shadiah Nassanga doing the business in the
The Ugandans stuck with their starting seven throughout the first half, coach Fred Mugerwa
only making changes at half time.
He brought 6 foot 6 Mary Cholhok on as goal shooter, with captain Irene Eyaru in as goal attack among several other changes.
Cholhok is one of just two players in the Ugandan squad with Netball World Cup experience,
having played at the previous tournament in 2019. She played just one quarter on Friday,
however, as Mugerwa continued to roll in the changes and give all his players valuable court
Ultimately it was a comfortable victory for the east Africans, much to the delight of their vocal
supporters in the crowd, although coach Mugerwa was convinced his side should have
scored more goals.
“I was happy but not a hundred per cent,” he said. “We should have scored more than the
goals we scored but I think there are some errors that we are making as a team, but we will
work on that.
“Some passes were not good so we need to work on that, some of the movements as well,
but the moment we work those ones out I think everything will be fine.”
Singapore captain Kai Wei Toh said the match provided a valuable learning experience for
“It was a very big first game. We are a very young team so this game allowed them to
experience different body builds and physicality – something that we can use to prepare for
the next few games,” she said.
“We are fit enough to go for it – we just have to go for it. We didn’t expect it to be so tough
but I think it’s a good thing that the team experienced it once and we know what to expect for
the next one.”
“I think we can utilise our speed a bit more. Today we were a bit hesitant with our passes
and runs because of their long arms and hands so if we are able to do that, we’ll be able to
play a better game next time.”
Q2: 42-18 (20-9)
Q3: 62-29 (20-11)
Q4: 79-37 (17-8)
PLAYER OF THE MATCH: Margret Baagala (Uganda)
Credit: World Netball