Barbados has recorded a hard-fought victory over Zambia to win 53-38 on the final day of competition at the Netball World Cup SYDNEY 2015.
Despite suffering a number of injuries throughout the game, the Bajan Gems held on to win and finish the event in 13th place
The Bajan Gems skipped out to an early lead through goals to Faye Sealy and Nikita Piggott. The circle pair made the most of some poor defence to push the lead out to seven, catching Zambia on the back foot. However the African nation bounced back well to cut the margin to four goals midway through the quarter. Goal attack Lucy Jere scored a handful of goals whilst also setting up two for teammate Elizabeth Bwalya. Zambia muscled up in defence, forcing Barbados into error and enjoying most of the possession in the final minutes. Quick ball movement around the circle and great execution from Jere saw Zambia bring the deficit down to one goal at the first break, with Barbados in front 12-11.
The intensity lifted in the second quarter as the game settled into a tightly fought contest, with both nations getting good speed and passing flow. There was trouble for Zambia as Jere went down with an injury, replaced by the experienced Diana Banda. The teams went goal for goal, with each side suffering some inaccurate shooting. An injury time-out saw Barbados goal-keeper Shonette Bruce receive treatment to her leg, although she stayed on the court. She recovered well to apply consistent pressure to the Zambian shooters, making four defensive rebounds for the quarter. Three consecutive goals to Sealy kept the Bajan Gems in the lead, with the half-time score 22-20.
Barbados made three substitutions for the third quarter, including 19 year old Shonica Wharton replacing Sealy at goal shooter. Zambia also made a goal shooting change which saw Carol Moono come off the bench to give Bwalya a break. Wharton had an immediate impact, shooting 10 goals. Zambia eventually responded to halt the Barbados goal spree. In particular, goal keeper Agness Chingambo was resilient in defence, making some vital intercepts for Zambia. Barbados remained in control though, with Wharton netting 15 of her sides 16 goals for the quarter. At the final break, the Bajan Gems lead comfortably 38-30.
The fourth quarter began with Barbados shooting accurately to extend the lead to 12 goals. However centre Latonia Blackman soon went down in a heavy fall, and had to be carried off the court. The change caused little concern for the Bajan Gems, as they lifted the tempo to keep their healthy lead intact. Wharton soon brought up her 20th goal for the match and was proving hard to stop. However the young shooter fell heavily late in the game and went off the court. Wharton’s team mates ensued that her efforts were not in vain, with Barbados dominating the last quarter to win 53-38.
Zambian coach Charles Zulu said his team didn’t perform well enough in attack.
“My shooters were not really there today,” he said. “We couldn’t execute our plans.”
Despite the loss, he said his team could take a few positives from the World Cup.
“It is a positive tournament for us. This is our first time playing outside of Africa. We learnt a lot.”
Barbados goal keeper Shonette Bruce was pleased with the unity of her team.
“I believe team spirit helped push us over the line today,” she said. “Everyone was there for each other in backup. The injuries did not stop us. The tournament has been a learning experience for us. We will go back home and hopefully at the next world cup we will be better.”