Netball: South Africa answer their critics with victory (+photos)

SOUTH AFRICA 56
BARBADOS 36

Critics may have written off South Africa as title challengers but their win over Barbados showed they have the potential to make an impact.

Once again, South Africa started slowly, trailing 11-12 after the first quarter as the flamboyant Barbadians threw themselves around the court before South Africa overran their opponents in the second quarter 20-6 to lead 31-18 at halftime.

It was an even third quarter but South Africa accelerated home in the final stanza.

At 1.92m, Sindisiwe Gumede was a valuable resource at goal shoot for South Africa, improving on her performance in the previous game against Malaysia.

In defence, goal keep Adele Niemand and Barbados shooter Laurel Browne were virtually locked together for most of the match, such was Niemand's physical and close marking.

If South Africa want to finish top of Pool D, they will need to lift their performance again when they play England tonight.

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SAMOA 60
SCOTLAND 39

Samoa bounced back with a vengeance to beat Scotland in third day opening round action.

It was a quick turnaround for Samoa who were heavily beaten 26-82 first-up by Australia but came out with plenty of resolve for their second match.

Their first-quarter lead of 14-11 was extended to 29-19 by halftime and 47-27 after three periods of play.

Samoa have five players in their squad with experience in New Zealand's former National Bank Cup league and although that experience showed, it was the superior height of Catherine Latu which really counted.

Latu was too big for Scotland goal keep, Lisa Harper who once again came out of the game a little worse for wear.

Samoan captain Francis Solia believed the short time from the first to the second game was not a hindrance to her side. ``The game against Australia was a real learning curve. It was such a late game and we just had to deal with it. We had to put in a good performance today. It was a physical match.

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MALAWI 44
BOTSWANA 32

Malawi got their campaign back on track with a tough 44-32 win over African rivals Botswana.

The Queens of Africa had to work hard for their 12-goal victory following their lopsided opening game loss to New Zealand.

Gold medallists at the past two COSANA tournaments in Africa, Malawi led 12-6 after the first quarter but Botswana fought back with some enterprising play and long range shooting to close the margin to just two goals for a halftime score of 18-16.

Malawi again showed their experience and strong defence to open out to a 30-24 lead by the end of the third quarter, converting 12 of 14 goal attempts.

Their stronger defensive qualities in the circle created turnovers in the final quarter and restricted Botswana to 12 shots at goal, only eight of which were successful.

It leaves Malawi to battle Wales this afternoon for the second pool A qualifying spot in the top eight.

"I am very happy," said Malawi coach Griffin Saenda.

"I mean everyone wants to win but when you win, whether by one basket or whatever, you will become a successful coach."

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AUSTRALIA 78
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO 34

Australia were untroubled in beating Trinidad and Tobago although their performance was marred by some uncharacteristic loose play.

Like New Zealand, the Australians gave every player decent court time -but rested captain Liz Ellis and goal shoot Catherine Cox - but they looked uncomfortable at times against their Caribbean opponents.

Some passes were cut off while their rebounding was not as sharp as captain Sharelle McMahon would have liked.

Showing glimpses of their famous aerial flair, Trinidad & Tobago fought back in the second quarter of the increasingly physical encounter as Australia went through a mistake-ridden patch.

Trinidad & Tobago's period of dominance, however, was short-lived as Australia responded to a rev-up from coach Norma Plummer during an injury break.

Although it was far from a vintage performance, Australia ground their way back to form, confronting the physical challenge of Trinidad & Tobago with a superior passing game and overall efficiency.

Australia led 24-9 after the first quarter but then went through a poor patch before regaining their better form to lead 58-30 going into the final quarter which they dominated.

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