Former world champions Trinidad and Tobago clinched their ticket to the 2023 Netball World Cup after ousting Barbados 50-40 in their top-of-the-table clash in the Americas Netball Qualifier at the inside the National Indoor Sports Center Thursday night.
The victory left Trinidad and Tobago with a maximum of 14 points from its seven wins with only Saturday’s game of academic interest with Jamaica remaining.
Barbados dropped their first points of the campaign as they are next with 10 points from six games and two to play, including Friday’s game against Jamaica, which will also be of academic interest only. They are expected to seal the second and final qualifying spot when they face Antigua and Barbuda on Saturday.
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Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls, who use these games for global netball points ranking purposes only, have already qualified for the Netball World Cup in Cape Town, South Africa, scheduled for next summer. The Jamaicans have won all six of their matches, although they have played with a number of under-23 players and fringe senior players.
Trinidad and Tobago had quarterly leads of 12-7, 22-21 and 35-30 and head coach Kemba Duncan believes his players stuck to the game plan for most of the game.
“The strategy that we took, I think the girls were able to maintain for most of the game. There were areas that they probably would have failed in, we would have actually discussed that and we’ll go back and work on that to preparing for the next game,” she said.
And she was happy with the team’s overall performance throughout.
“They would have been very disciplined and would have shown a certain level of control and would have been able to give the support they needed on the pitch and execute what we worked on, so I would rate it as good. We still have work to do, but so far so good.
Meanwhile, Barbados coach Margaret Cutting is of the opinion that her shooters failed to convert their chances when it really mattered.
“I think the accuracy of our shooters during the tournament was good so far, but in this game the shooters didn’t convert some crucial shots,” she lamented.
However, she was pleased with her team’s level of play and the improvement made since the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England more than two months ago.
“My team played well and I’m really happy with their performance, looking at the score, 40-50, and looking at the Commonwealth Games score, it shows you that Barbados have made a very good improvement.”
She added: “We were looking to win the game or have a good contest and fight because we had two tough games yesterday (Wednesday) and we knocked these teams out, and coming here to play this game we knew it was a take first or second place, we did our best and I’m satisfied.
In other games Thursday, Jamaica thrashed Saint Lucia 85-30, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines beat Antigua and Barbuda 66-30 and the United States beat the Cayman Islands 44-35.