New Zealand give T&T under-21s reality check
Trinidad and Tobago’s unbeaten streak at the World Youth (Under-21) Netball Championships at Emirates Arena in Glasgow, Scotland, ended yesterday with a crushing 16-77 defeat at the hands of 2009 runners-up New Zealand in their Group B fixture.
In fact, the young “Calypso Girls” were forced to shore up the defence to make sure the New Zealanders did not romp into triple figures, and had to sacrifice offence to do so.
After New Zealand sped out to a 24-6 first quarter lead, T&T coach Grace Parkinson-Griffith made the tactical change of pulling lanky goal shoot Samatha Wallace, T&T’s top offensive force, into defence to quell their fast-scoring opponents.
The move proved effective, not in bringing T&T back into the match, but in saving face in terms of the final total. The second quarter saw New Zealand score just 13 points in 15 minutes. Still, they cruised to a big 61-goal defeat.
T&T, however, are already into the quarter-finals, having disposed of Bermuda (47-31) and Malta (69-32) on the weekend, before cruising by Northern Ireland (56-36) on Monday.
Parkinson-Griffith explained her team’s survival tactic.
“We were prepared to take our shooter out of attack, and put her into defence to limit their goals,” she said after the match.
T&T goal attack Kalifa McCollin was proud of her team’s effort despite the thumping at the hands of the World No. 2 team.
“I feel very ecstatic right now,” said McCollin, T&T’s player of the match. “I thought that the team did well. We kept them under 100, it was a very physical game and I think I did my best.
“I believe the New Zealanders are our hardest opponents (to date), but as I said we went out there and we gave it our best shot,” added the aspiring sport psychologist.
The result means T&T are due to face the winners of yesterday’s late contest between Wales and Jamaica, both of whom have qualified from Group C. Either opponent will prove a tough prospect for the national Under-21s. The loser of that contest will take on New Zealand.
The other four teams in the quarter-finals are Group A teams Australia and South Africa, Group D qualifiers England and Barbados.
The other teams in the 16-nation tournament will play for ninth through 16th positions.