A wayward person who likes to “knock about”
The Aniecia Baptiste and Janeisha Cassimy-led T&T Under-21 team was hoping to close the Netball Youth World Cup in Botswana on a positive note, but slipped to a 44-43 defeat to Wales to place 14th in the 20-team competition.
The teams met at the University of Botswana Indoor Facility in Gabarone in the 13th place play-off match and it was the Welsh team going away with the one-goal win after T&T gave up a three-goal lead with under two minutes to go in the match.
Opening shooters Afiya Vincent, the goal-shooter, and goal-attack Tahirah Hollingsworth gave T&T a solid start and had their team tied at ten at the end of the first quarter with Baptiste, the goal-defence, and goal-keeper Jerisia McEachrane working down on the other end.
Coach Rhonda John-Davis replaced Hollingsworth with Tiana Dillon in the goal-attack position and the national team had a better start to the second quarter with the junior “Calypso Girls” getting a three-goal (13-10) lead three minutes into the period.
For much of the quarter, the local team held a five-goal advantage. However, Dillon seemed to pick an injury and hobbled off the court with 2.57 minutes to go in the period with the scores 21-17 in favour of T&T. Hollingsworth replaced her and she maintained the attack to help T&T go in at the half still up by five (25-20).
To start the second half, John-Davis stuck with the Vincent and Hollingsworth shooting combination and the T&T did well in forcing turnovers and capitalising on them but Wales stayed within range.
Play shifted in favour of the Welsh netballers and they managed to close the gap to tie the scores, 27-27, before forging ahead to take a 35-30 lead at the end of the third stanza.
In the final quarter, T&T did not go away and fought back on both ends. Down on the defensive end Baptiste and Cassimy had a number of stops which Vincent and Hollingsworth turned in to goals, helping the local side pull the scores back with one (38-37) with nine minutes to go in the session, before tying the scores again at 38.
With 1.24 minutes to go, T&T went up by three (43-40) but Wales did not stop attacking. A turnover by T&T saw Wales narrow its deficit to two then to one, connecting with its ball possession. Again T&T turned over the ball with shooter Vincent losing hold of the ball which Wales used to tie the scores at 43 in the closing seconds.
Wales went on to score, hitting a penalty to gain a 44-43 lead. However, T&T had a chance to tie the scores but a foot fault by wing attack Dillon saw another turnover as time expired with Wales earning the 13th position.
The final between Australia and New Zealand is carded today, following the bronze medal match between Fiji and England, the fifth place between South Africa and Jamaica and seventh place Uganda and Scotland.
Ninth place: Zimbabwe 56 vs Botswana 41
11th place: Samoa 64 vs Cook Islands 37
13th place: Wales 44 vs T&T 43
15th place: Barbados 54 vs Northern Ireland 42
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