Netball: Second win for Botswana

Botswana turned round a 19-goal loss to Trinidad and Tobago in a pre-championship warm-up last week with an impressive display of controlled netball at the world netball championship in Auckland today.

In a physical, no-holds-barred game, crowd favourites Botswana retained composure under some intense Caribbean pressure for a well-deserved 39-38 win after leading 20-17 at halftime.

The result means Botswana will play off for ninth and 10th place tomorrow, an outstanding result for the world championship newcomers.

Botswana coach Joseph Makakaba said his team, still on a high after yesterday's 44-43 win over Barbados, went into the game with very specific instructions.

"Our game plan was to stop goal shooter Anastascia Wilson, to use her space. She likes holding, so we had to stop that. The plan was to double mark so the goal attack couldn't feed her from outside and I think it worked very well for us," a delighted Makakaba said afterwards.

"We were under pressure because of the physical play that Trinidad and Tobago display, and because they beat us 52-31 in a friendly match when we arrived here. I thought maybe they came to this game having won it before playing.

Makakaba's advice to his players was brief.

"I told them to forget about that result, because this was a different game. We told them to keep cool, to stay calm. Just relax, play slowly but surely so they buy time."

The strategy paid dividends, especially in a chaotic closing quarter as bodies flew and retaining possession become vital. Makakaba said patience was a key component of Botswana's game, and vital in breaking through Trinidad and Tobago's zone play.

"One of their strengths is zone marking, so we had to break the zone by distributing the ball around to find gaps."

For Trinidad and Tobago, Wilson shot 15 from 20 while Janelle Barker alternated between goal attack and goals shoot, managing 20 from 26.

Botswana's shooting was as reliable as always, Tebogo Radipotsane's long reach and deadly eye netting her 28 from 30 with excellent back up from Mothokwa Motsumi, who moved well, fed intelligently and managed 11 from 13 attempts.

- NZPA

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