GLASGOW – Barbados are into the quarterfinals of the World Youth Netball Championships being played in Glasgow, Scotland.
In their penultimate preliminary round game this afternoon, Barbados got the better of Papua New Guinea 45-35 at the Emirates Stadium.
But despite the joy expressed by vice-captains Jeneice Clarke and Tyneisha Rowe following the victory, Barbados will have to increase their offensive output as they come up against tougher opponents at the business end of the tournament. A number of the other teams making the final eight have been hitting the century mark in their games.
The local girls are likely to have to contend with the tall and powerful Aussies first-up in the quarter-finals and will have to put more goals on the score-sheet.
The Papua New Guineans kept Barbados under 60 attempts on target, but Australia are averaging 108 attempts per game so far in the competition.
Barbados got the better start, winning the first quarter 14 goals to 7 but Papua New Guinea’s excellent defence led to the Bajan lasses turning over a lot of balls in good positions. The result of this was that Papua New Guinea managed to draw the second quarter with Barbados.
The half-time score was 23-16 to Barbados but a lapse after the break saw the Papua New Guineans struggle to feed their shooters.
The fourth quarter began with Barbados ten goals in front, and a final effort from Papua New Guinea saw them again work hard to draw the quarter 11 goals apiece but still with a sizeable deficit.
Papua New Guinea had been playing catch-up from the first quarter and needed to make significant stops while increasing their offensive output and they never quite managed to do this even though Barbados did not score heavily themselves.
Barbados Coach Sandra Bruce-Small was pleased with her team, despite the close score.
“I’m very very proud of my girls. It was a tough game but in the end we came through,” she said.
Bruce-Small felt it was a team effort but described the play of her her goal defence Jeneice Clarke as “simply fantastic”.
She added that Barbados were determined to continue their success when they came up against the tougher and higher rated teams.
“We are working very hard. We want to beat England so we want to push them.” said Bruce-Small.
Papua New Guineas’ coach Margaret Opina said this was her team’s best performance so far in the competition and noted there was still room for them to show even more improvement “They did their homework well, and they can still be better,” Opina said.
Other regional teams seeing action in early games were Trinidad and Tobago who defeated Northern Ireland 56-36; Bermuda who edged Malta 40-38 in a thriller; and Cayman Islands who were mauled 94-10 by Wales.
Northern Ireland won the first quarter 13 goals to 10 and the intense battle heated up as Trinidad and Tobago edged closer and closer, until in the 28th minute when they levelled the scores at 20 all.
The Trinidadians scored again and despite some pressure from Northern Ireland who were at their heels for most of the game, they never relinquished the lead.
Trinidad’s goal-keep Chervelle Cox made life difficult in the circle for Northern Ireland’s goal-shoot Jenna Bowman, and at the other end of the court goal-shoot Samantha Wallace won the ball consistently with her strong pull-ins, helping Trinidad and Tobago stride away even further.
In the third quarter the Caribbean side took off the brake, and with the help of a supportive crowd, managed to secure a good lead going into the final period.
Bermuda squeezed past Malta in undoubtedly the most thrilling match of the competition so far. The final score-line of 40-38 was a fitting final score as the two sides played their hearts out for the duration of the game, and only in the final two minutes did Bermuda turn over the ball to secure a two point advantage.