It’s fair to say the World Netball Cup in Sydney lived up to all expectations in everyway.
Aside from the action on the court, it was a great sporting spectacle, with world record crowds, a superb venue and so much action to enjoy in and around the event.
From the very first day there was a strong and vocal Kiwi contingent in the crowd, which by the end of the week almost equalled the Aussies in numbers but outdid them in voice and spirit. Outrageous costumes, lots of singing and dancing led to a great atmosphere in the crowd.
The defeat of Australia by the Silver Ferns on the Sunday brought the World Cup to life. Until that point in time, no-one really knew what to expect from the Silver Ferns, but that win woke everyone up to the fact the old rivalry was still alive. The Ferns were methodical and some touches of brilliance assured us all we were in for a good week.
The form of the Silver Ferns continued to grow throughout the week and, although the final game was disappointing for them, there is some comfort in the fact they won each of the final three quarters. They merely paid dearly for a poor ten minutes to start.
From a Kia Magic point of view, our girls represented their country well. Casey returned to international netball in devastating form and showed great leadership throughout the week, on and off the court. Her will to win is inspiring to us all and she is uncompromising in her desire to achieve success. Leana chalked up her 100th international match and it was impossible to believe she was competing in her 5th World Cup as we watched how agile and quick she was around the court. Grace controlled the attack end and put some magnificent ball into her shooters, her work rate throughout the week never fading. And finally Malia showed that she is undoubtedly a champion of the future, taking her place on the court with composure and displaying a flair that we will enjoy for many years to come.
Jo Harten was once again the target at the end of the court for the English Roses. The English were a bit disappointing at the beginning of the week, but Jo made the best of the opportunities that came her way, but they really hit form in the bronze medal play-off and denied Jamaica any chance of a medal.
The future of the Silver Ferns is exciting and I can’t wait to see them take on the Diamonds in the upcoming Constellation Cup. Get to a match where you can, it will be a very entertaining series.
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