Caitlin Bassett had to earn every possession against a spirited Zimbabwe defence. Picture: Narelle Spangher

Netball World Cup Wrap: Day Two

Day two of the 2019 Vitality World Cup saw another big day of action in Liverpool, as Australia, New Zealand, England, Jamaica, South Africa kept their unbeaten starts alive, while Northern Ireland, Uganda and Malawi opened their accounts for the tournament.

Australia v Zimbabwe

If nerves were to be expected when taking on the number-one ranked team in the world in just your second-ever World Cup game, no one told Zimbabwe. The 2019 Netball World Cup debutants brought plenty of physicality, pace and tenacity to make Australia earn every pass and goal in Saturday’s 73-37 win.

GIANTS teammates Jamie-Lee Price and Caitlin Bassett share a laugh to ease any tension before a big game on day two of the Netball World Cup. Pictures: Narelle Spangher

Zimbabwe were not intimidated by the more experienced Aussies and, after Australia settled into the game quicker, took the challenge up to the Diamonds, but went into quarter-time trailing 18-9.

But the Aussies were caught on the hop as the Gems shot four of the first five goals of the second term. While the Aussies recovered to pull away, they couldn’t recapture their free-flowing play from the day before as their opponents applied defensive pressure all over the court.

It was particularly tight in the Diamonds’ goal circle, with attacking duo Caitlin Bassett and Gretel Tippett pulled up on multiple occasions for offensive contacts as Rudo Karume and Felisitus Kwangwa made up for their height-conceded with close-checking physicality and determination.

The Diamonds tweaked their line-up in the second half, bringing Jamie-Lee Price on to WD and Kelsey Browne into WA, but Zimbabwe produced a special effort to all but match the reigning champions, shooting 13 goals to 15 for the quarter as Pauline Jani and Sharon Bwanali stepped into the goal circle.

But the Aussies responded strongly in the final quarter, shooting 19 goals to six to secure a 36-goal win.

Jamie-Lee Price was tasked with matching up on Zimbabwe captain Perpetua Siyachitema in the second half. Pictures: Narelle Spangher

Caitlin Bassett: After playing just the first half in the World Cup opener, Caitlin Bassett produced a gutsy four-quarter effort in a best-on-court performance. She shot 49 of 53 attempts in a spirited battle with the Gems defenders and, despite giving away a few offensive contacts early, worked well with Tippett to absorb the pressure for every hard-earned possession.

Jamie-Lee Price: Coming on in the second half, Jamie-Lee Price was tasked with holding Zimbabwe captain Perpetua Siyachitema to account. Price showed great judgement, knowing when to put the jets on and when to composedly use her time, with her quick reflexes again a feature.

England v Scotland

It was a comfortable win for the hosts, started positively against the Thistles, with GS Rachel Dunn off to a quick start, shooting five goals in quick succession as England took a 5-1 lead. Scotland rose to the challenge, but the Roses responded again to take an 18-9 lead into the first break.

They pulled away again in the second term, piling on 17 goals to 11, and turned the screws with a 35-14 second half.

But the win came at a cost, with the GD Layla Guscoth rupturing her achilles tendon during the first term.

Dunn was the only Rose not to shift position across the four quarters with a brilliant outing in GS, netting 49 of 52 attempts, while Lynsey Gallagher made the most of her chances for the Thistles, shooting at nearly 93 per cent accuracy.

Jo Harten: The GIANTS goal attack had limited court time, spending most of the match on the sub bench, before swapping on for Natalie Haythornthwaite (who had spent the first half in WA) in GA for the fourth quarter. Harten made a solid contribution in the final term, and while she finished with just three goals from four attempts herself, she had five feeds, four goal assists and a deflection resulting in a gain.

The Diamonds and Gems come together after a good contest fought with a great, competitive spirit in Liverpool. Pictures: Narelle Spangher

Next up:

Australia takes on Sri Lanka at 12am AEST in their final preliminary stage one game tonight, while England will take on Samoa at 8pm AEST. In other matches, New Zealand takes on Singapore, Malawi and Barbados will face off, Uganda will play Scotland, Jamaica faces South Africa, Northern Ireland and Zimbabwe go head-to-head and Trinidad and Tobago take on Fiji.