Netball: Cooks, Samoa get final day off to a flyer

By Edward Gay

The Cook Islands have secured victory by one goal in what proved to be a thriller at the Netball World Champships this afternoon.

Their opponents Samoa were behind for most of the game but midway through the last quarter briefly took the lead.

A settled Cooks side kept their cool to retain the lead and held on to claim seventh place in the world rankings.

Cook Islands coach Ana Noovao said she is delighted with the success and made a special mention of her co-captain Angela Tangimetua, who lost a tooth early on but after being cleared by the doctor and getting a mouth guard, was able to come back on in the third quarter.

Cooks' goal attack Patti Te Huna took a nasty knock after going up for a ball under the hoop and colliding with the goal post.

Te Huna also played on and it was that kind of team approach that helped the Cooks maintain their lead through most of the game.

She said it was a team effort after "too many turnovers in our previous games" and the seventh placing is good but she would have preferred a fifth or sixth finish.

She said the sport has a bright future in the Cooks.

"We've got two seasoned World Cup players out of the 12, so for the other 10 it was their first international event," Noovao said.

Samoa coach Linda Vagana said her side was flat and made a lot of unforced errors.

"Credit to the teams we've played, they've managed to keep us from playing the game that we're used to. It's been a steep learning curve but at the same time, really disappointing because we haven't achieved what we came here to do," Vagana said.

She said she will stay on if Samoa invite her to and build on the game back home. Vagana said there was huge support from the government for the champs but support is performance based.

"I just hope that they'll continue to back up the sport," Vagana said.

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