Cape Town, South Africa - South Africa will face Great Britain in final of the inaugural World University Netball Championship at the Good Hope Centre, in Cape Town, on Saturday afternoon.
Great Britain overcame Ireland 52-37 in their semi-final after South Africa had beaten Jamaica 41-39 earlier on Friday. “We’re very excited and really happy that we’ve made it into the final,” Great Britain’s captain Natalie Haythornthwaite said. “Today, we weren’t happy with some of the basics that we kept getting wrong. “So, for tomorrow’s (Saturday) game to go well, we’ll have to do the basics right and keep control. “It’s going to be a tough game against South Africa.”
In the end, it was a comfortable victory for the English in their derby semi-final but it had started at a frenetic pace. The Irish put Great Britain under pressure early and, it was only towards the end of the first quarter, that Britain edged ahead, leading 14-10 after 15 minutes. Great Britain beefed up their defence, with national under-21 goalkeeper Kadeen Corbin defending her post. “The other keeper [Rachel Mulloy] did nothing wrong but it was just a better combination against a different style of play,” Haythornthwaite said. “We knew it would be a tough match and both teams took time to settle and work out how to adapt to each other.
“In the end, it was just composure and control. “We knew the Irish team were never going to give up so, all credit to them, they came out really strong and they put up a great performance. “Thankfully, we got the edge and managed to pull away.” Ireland caught up to 20-19, midway through the second half but, while they defended well, they made errors in the middle and missed a couple of goals, letting the English increase their lead to 27-22 at half-time.
Irish heads dropped in the third quarter and their mistakes proved costly as Great Britain took a 40-30 lead going into the final quarter. The Irish lasses fought hard to keep the gap to a minimum but Ireland’s captain Oonagh McCullough was disappointed with her team’s overall performance in the match. “We were making the turnovers, but we just weren’t converting them,” McCullough said. “There wasn’t the consistency in the match that we needed. “Our defence did a superb job but we were making mistakes in the circle. “We weren’t putting the ball in the net and there were too many errant passes.”
Ireland face Jamaica in the bronze medal match on Saturday and McCullough said the girls were determined not to leave empty-handed. “We showed yesterday that we can come out and fight against the more physical teams when we beat Uganda (45-43) and we can give as good as we get. “Unfortunately, today didn’t go to plan but we want to get in the medals, so we will fight hard for the bronze. “We’ll go home now and recuperate and then get up for the fight against Jamaica tomorrow.” – Sapa, Jenny Bernstein