Former World Champions Trinidad and Tobago punched their ticket to the 2023 Netball World Cup after they brushed aside Barbados 50-40 in their top-of-the-table clash at the Americas Netball Qualifier inside the National Indoor Sports Centre on Thursday night.
The win left Trinidad and Tobago with maximum 14 points from their seven wins with just Saturday’s game of academic interest only with Jamaica, remaining.
Barbados dropped their first points of the campaign as they are next with 10 points from six games and two to play, including Friday’s against Jamaica, which will also be of academic interest only. They should seal the second and final qualification place when they oppose Antigua and Barbuda on Saturday.
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Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls, who are using these games for World Netball points ranking purposes only, have already qualified for the Cape Town, South Africa, Netball World Cup, slated for next summer. The Jamaicans have won all six of their games, despite playing with a number of Under-23 players and fringe senior team players.
Trinidad and Tobago had quarterly leads of 12-7, 22-21 and 35-30 and head coach Kemba Duncan believes her players stuck to the game plan for most of the game.
“The strategy that we went with I think the girls were able to maintain it for most of the game. There were some areas that they would have probably fallen short, we would have actually discussed it and we will go back and do some work on it to prepare for the next game,” she reflected.
And she was happy with the overall performance of the team throughout.
“They would have been very disciplined and showed some level of control and were able to give the support that they needed on the court and executed what we have been working on, so I’ll rate it as good. We still have work to do but it’s been good so far.”
Meanwhile, Barbados’ coach Margaret Cutting is of the view that her shooters failed to convert their chances when it really mattered.
“I believe that the accuracy of our shooters during the tournament was fine so far, but in this game, the shooters did not convert some crucial shots,” she lamented.
However, she was satisfied with the level of play from her team and the improvement made since the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, over two months ago.
“My team did play well and I’m really pleased with their performance, looking at the score, 40-50, and looking at the Commonwealth Games score it shows you that Barbados has made a very good improvement.”
She added: “We were looking to win the game or put in a good contest and a fight because we had two rough games yesterday (Wednesday) and we took those teams down, and coming out here to play this game we knew it was a take of first or second place, we gave it our best and I’m satisfied.”
In other games on Thursday, Jamaica annihilated St Lucia 85-30, St Vincent and The Grenadines beat Antigua and Barbuda 66-30, and the USA defeated the Cayman Islands 44-35.
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