This was the first match on the final day of the Oceania Netball World Cup Qualifiers. Samoa knew that they had to win this match in order to give themselves a chance at finishing 2nd in the event, whilst Papua New Guinea was looking for their first win.
From the first whistle Samoa had a high intensity to their play and they went into the first break leading 23 – 10.
Samoa looked determined to end their tournament on a high and give themselves every chance at finishing 2nd as they took a 21-goal lead into the half-time break.
The second half continued in a similar fashion to the first, with Samoa finding their shooting duo with ease, and the match eventually finishing 85 – 32.
Samoa finished the tournament in 3rd place, due to Fiji’s victory later in the day and Papua New Guinea in 5th.
The final match of the Oceania Netball World Cup Qualifiers was Cook Islands vs Fiji.
Stakes were high in this match as Fiji knew a win would clinch 2nd place, meaning that they would join Tonga in being invited by World Netball to participate in the Netball World Cup 2023 in Cape Town South Africa.
Both teams started the match tentatively with it taking 90 seconds for the first goal to be scored, however, they then began to settle and find the net. Whilst Fiji threatened to break away, Cook Islands seemed determined to keep the pressure on, with the first quarter ending 9 – 12 to Fiji.
Cook Islands started the second quarter brightly and led by 3 goals at the halfway point in this quarter, however, Fiji remained calm and fought their way back into the quarter, leading by just one goal at half-time.
It was the third quarter when Fiji began to break away, with the crowd behind them, the defensive pressure applied was constant, and in the attacking end the ball was being worked to the post with ease. Fiji secured an 11-goal lead going into the final quarter.
Fiji continued to dominate the second half, with the match ending 51 – 34. This meant that Fiji finished in 2nd spot, with Cook Islands finishing in 4th.
World Netball will now invite Fiji to participate at the Netball World Cup 2023 in Cape Town South Africa, congratulations Fiji!
On the penultimate day of competition, Tonga played their 4th and final game and their 43-70 victory means that they will finish the Oceania Netball World Cup Qualifiers unbeaten and top of the table.
Tonga had a slightly slower start than usual, leading 16-11 at the first break in comparison to the previous two days where they led by 24 and 12 at the first quarter breaks.
However, the crowd were never in doubt that Tonga would come out on top, and the team showed that in the second quarter when they went on a goal scoring run, to ensure they led by 12 at half-time.
Tonga then went on to win the match by 27, thanks to a strong second half display.
World Netball will now invite Tonga to participate at the Netball World Cup 2023 in Cape Town South Africa, meaning there is space for only one more team to be invited from the Oceania Region Netball World Cup Qualifiers.
The final match of day 4 was Fiji vs Samoa, and both teams went into the match having only lost once, to Tonga, who have now finished all their matches unbeaten.
This meant it was all still to play for with one team still yet to qualify to be invited by World Netball to compete at the Netball World Cup 2023 (NWC2023) in Cape Town, South Africa.
It was evident from the first whistle that it was going to be an extremely closely contested match, with each team fighting to keep their NWC2023 dreams alive.
The teams battled in the first half, but it was Fiji that came out on top with a 26-21 lead at half-time.
In the all-important third quarter though it looked as if things could change, as with just over a minute to go the score sat at 31-31, but Fiji managed to score two quick-fire goals in the dying seconds to hold onto their lead going into the last quarter of the match and the day.
It was all still to play for in the final 15 minutes, with the score back level at 40-40 with just over 3 minutes to go leaving the fans in the stadium in Fiji gripped on the action.
It was the Oceania Netball World Cup Qualifier hosts, Fiji, that managed to take the victory over the line with the help of their fans in loud voice in the crowd, winning 45-43.
Samoa came back fresh and ready to go after their rest day on day two, and started strong against the Cook Islands, doubling their opposition’s goal scoring tally to lead 7-14 at the first break.
Cook Islands put on a more clinical display in the second quarter, taking their chances and closing the gap to four goals with five minutes to go until half-time, however in the final minutes Samoa managed to claw back their 7 goal lead that they started the quarter with, leaving the score 18-25.
Samoa’s marginal lead and Cook Islands stronger second quarter, left it all still to play for in the second half of this match and it was the all-important third quarter that proved the difference.
Samoa come out firing in the penultimate quarter, putting their poorer second quarter to bed, and extending their lead to 26-42 which they then continued to build on in the final 15 until they won 35-54.
Both Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Tonga are yet to have their rest days in this competition, having both played in the two previous days of the competition and now meeting each other on day 3.
However, both teams were in very different positions going into day 3 with PNG coming into the match off two straight defeats and Tonga off two victories.
This was clear from the first whistle, with Tonga firing out the blocks scoring a flurry of goals to lead 6-30, and the second quarter was no different as they scored another 23 goals taking the score line to 12-53 in their favour by half-time.
Tonga showed no sign of slowing in the second half either, continuing to move the ball with ease down the court and showing just why they are the only unbeaten team in the tournament.
Tonga won the match 28-89.
Cook Islands got their Netball World Cup Qualifiers campaign underway on day two, with their match against Papua New Guinea (PNG).
PNG were looking to make a comeback, after they fell to the hands of the hosts Fiji on the opening day, and in the first quarter on this day two match it looked as though it could be possible for PNG as they led for the majority of the first 15 minutes.
However, with five minutes to go until the first quarter break Cook Islands turned the score around and took a marginal two goal lead, 18-16, into the interval.
From the second quarter Cook Islands seemed to settle into the match, putting to bed their first match nerves, and giving themselves a more comfortable 33-25 lead at half-time, a lead which they ran away with in the second half leading by 10 at the final break before winning 66-48.
Tonga started day two just how they finished day one; dominating the play on court and being clinical in the circle.
In the opening quarter they blitzed the hosts, Fiji, scoring 15 goals compared to Fiji’s three, and in the second quarter the excited Tongan fans in the audience were treated to more of the same with their side going into the half-time break leading 8-34.
The Tongan Tala’s first half masterclass made it too hard for Fiji to make any sort of second-half comeback, despite the hosts having a much better second-half.
The match finished 29 – 59 to Tonga.
The Oceania Netball World Cup Qualifiers begun today with hosts Fiji taking on Papua New Guinea in the opening match.
Fiji started the match strong from the off, leading by eight at the first break after they scored a flurry of goals in the closing minutes of the first 15.
From then on the hosts got stronger, and extended their lead at each quarter break so that they were leading by 26 by half-time, and 29 going in the final break, before winning 74-32 in front of their home crowd in Fiji.
The second match of the day was a much closer encounter with Tonga and Samoa both leading at different times throughout the match.
It was Samoa that started the strongest of the two teams, leading by three at the first break but a strong second quarter from Tonga saw them make comeback to lead 27-32 at half-time.
Once Tonga had found their feet in the second quarter, they just continued to go from strength to strength as a team before they won the game 52-69.