Netball preview – 2 August
02 August 2002
Medals up for grabs as England and Australia, and Jamaica and New Zealand clash in the netball semis.
Kiwi Irene Van Dyk - number one shooter in the world
England will attempt to dethrone Commonwealth champions Australia, while Jamaica endeavour to upset world number two New Zealand in Friday’s medal play-off deciders.
England, aiming to improve on their bronze from the 1998 Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games, last played Australia in March when the world’s number one from down under won 67-35 and 56-44. England last defeated Australia in June 1981.
The home side enters the game with renewed confidence after a comfortable qualification victory against South Africa on Wednesday, 31 July.
Defenders Sonia Mkoloma, Amanda Newton, Fiona Murtagh and centre Olivia Murphy have been among England’s most consistent players.
Australia have mounted a steady Games charge with goal attack Sharelle McMahon, defenders Peta Squire, Liz Ellis and midcourters Rebecca Sanders and Nicole Richardson among their best players.
New Zealand have been the outstanding team of the competition, setting two Commonwealth Games records for goals scored (101 and 116) in their first two matches.
Goal shooter Irene Van Dyk, widely regarded as the best player in the world, defender Sheryl Clarke and centre Julie Seymour have been outstanding.
Jamaica, a skilful team who play an aerial style, are viewed as the danger-side in the competition, capable of defeating any team on their day. They defeated a slightly depleted New Zealand in March and have been spectacular here when at their best.
Goal attack Simone Forbes, goal defender Oberon Pittison and goal shooter Elaine Davis have so far been the pick of the Jamaicans.
In Friday’s classification games South Africa and Wales vie for fifth, Fiji and South Africa for seventh and Barbados and Canada for ninth.
FRIDAY: (Classifications) 11:00 – Barbados vs Canada; 13:00 – Fiji vs Sri Lanka;
15:00 – South Africa vs Wales. (Semi-finals) 18:30 – Jamaica vs New Zealand; 20:30 – Australia vs England.
Info News Service/nt/jdc/sdb