T&T's Calypso Girls, Bajan Gems to play catch up after opening defeats at Netball World Cup

By July 28, 2023
Barbados Gems in action against England. Barbados Gems in action against England. Skysports

Trinidad and Tobago’s Calypso Girls and Barbados Gems were both brave in defeat despite being outclassed by reigning champions New Zealand and England in their respective opening games at the Vitality Netball World Cup in Cape Town, South Africa on Friday.

The number 10-ranked Calypso Girls, who were the first Caribbean team in action, went down 27-72 to number two-ranked New Zealand, while the 14-ranked Gems, succumbed to a 29-90 loss to number three-ranked England Roses.

Those results meant that both Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados will have to play catch up in their respective pools, if they are to make the top three to progress to the next round.

New Zealand head Pool D ahead of Uganda, who were 79-37 winners over Singapore, while England heads Pool B ahead Malawi, who registered a 55-49 win over Scotland.

Trinidad and Tobago, one of only three countries to win a World Cup title in the tournament’s history, knew they were always up against it against the Silver Ferns, but left their best on the court in restricting the champions to a score under 80.

Still, New Zealand were comfortable from the start going 23-2 in the opening quarter and 43-11 at half time, before asserting authority at the backend of the contest.

Grace Nweke scored a flawless 31 goals for New Zealand and Maia Wilson made 22 of 24 attempts, while Afeisha Noel and Joelisa Cooper, had 17 and 10 goals for Trinidad and Tobago.

The Calypso Girls are scheduled to face Singapore on Saturday at 11:00am Jamaica time.

Meanwhile, Barbados, despite the presence of experienced siblings Sasha and Kadeen Corbin, who both racked up over 70 caps for England before switching allegiance, struggled for consistency which proved their undoing against the Roses.

They Started positively by matching strides with, but a number of unforced errors paved the way for England to take command of the game at 20-8 going into the first interval and 42-18 at half time.

England rang the changes at the start of the third quarter and with Barbados being caught out by the long balls, it forced goal shooter Kadeen Corbin to take up the goalkeeping position. While the move gradually assisted in restricting the Roses, it also limited the Gems’ scoring chances across the last two quarters.  

Faye Agard, captain of the Bajan Gems took heart from her team’s performance heading into their second game against Scotland tomorrow at 9:00am Jamaica time.

“We know we had some really good passages of play, but we also had a lot of unforced errors that we need to work on. So, we know what we need to do, go back to the drawing board and fix some things for the next game,” Agard said.

Sherdon Cowan

Sherdon Cowan is a five-time award-winning journalist with 10 years' experience covering sports.

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