Netball: Patched-up legend shows how to produce a winner

By Suzanne McFadden


Even with her knees patched and bolted together, legendary Jamaican goal shoot Elaine Davis proved last night she still has the moves in her fourth and final world netball championships.

Davis, her hair braided with green and gold, appealed for injury breaks three times during the match against Fiji, after some heavy collisions with the might of Fijian captain and coach Vilimaina Davu.

But with her deceptive flat and fast shots finding the mark 93 per cent of the time, Davis was reluctant to leave the court.

When her troublesome knees, operated on five times, finally forced her off court halfway through the third quarter, she had contributed a match-winning 28 goals from 30 attempts.

Jamaica, third seeds at this world championships, glided through their second win, 78-35, virtually guaranteeing them a quarter-finals spot - another step towards their expected meeting with the Silver Ferns in Friday's semifinals.
The 8th-ranked Fijians had huge, raucous crowd support.

The spectators roared every time Davu - previously one of the great Silver Fern defenders - got her hand to the ball, and gasped every time the Fijian shooters fumbled.

Davu put herself on the bench at halftime, when Fiji was behind 17-33, and brought captain Mere Rabuka and impressive goal defence Marjorie Parr back into the game.

But the determined Fijians faced a tough task with Davis and wing attack Nadine Bryan on a roll.

The Fijians were let down by inconsistent shooting - tall Australian-based shooter Taraima Rara was guilty of soft hands under pressure.

With three minutes left on the clock, Davu leapt back on court. But by then the gap was colossal.

Davis, 31 and retiring after this tournament, said she enjoyed her tussle with Davu.

"I'm used to playing against her when she was a bit more mobile - but it was all right," she said.

Although she sat out the rest of the game with an ice pack and a heavy bandage on her knee, she pronounced herself fine and raring to go for today's clash with Singapore.

Fiji will have to beat the Cook Islands today to stay in the running for a quarter-final.

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