Trinidad and Tobago confirmed their place in the 2023 Netball World Cup in Cape Town with a 43-27 win over the United States in the Netball Americas World Cup qualifiers at the National Indoor Sports Center in Kingston on Wednesday.
The Trinidadians entered the game with five out of five wins, knowing that another victory would confirm their place in the World Cup next year.
They came out strong, opening a 10-point gap late in the first quarter to lead 18-8. That gap grew to 14 at halftime as they held the Americans to just five baskets in the second quarter to lead 27-13. Trinidad and Tobago doubled USA’s score as it was 38-19 at the end of the third quarter. The Americans won the fourth quarter 8-5 but the damage was already done.
Goal attack Joelisa Cooper’s 20 goals from 24 attempts and goalkeeper Afeisha Noel’s 15 goals from 16 attempts mean T&T will join Jamaica, who have already qualified on the basis of the rankings, for the World Cup next year, with another slot for the Americas yet to be confirmed.
“We did what we came to do,” said Trinidad and Tobago head coach Kemba Duncan.
Even with a World Cup spot sealed, Duncan says one of the team‘s goals is to finish the playoffs undefeated. Their remaining matches are against Barbados on Thursday and Jamaica on Saturday.
“We have to stay disciplined, execute our game plans and support each other on the pitch.”
T&T beat the Cayman Islands 60-21 earlier on Wednesday.
Elsewhere, goalkeeper Faye Agard’s 44 goals from 47 attempts helped Barbados edge past Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 57-36 for their fifth win in as many games. They also beat Grenada 60-38 earlier on Wednesday.
The Bajans trailed 10-12 after the first quarter before making a remarkable 15-point turnover in the next two to lead 43-26 going into the fourth, eventually winning 57-36.
“After the first quarter I realized what I wanted wasn’t happening so I brought wing attack Brianna Holder into the game because I wanted to add more speed,” replied Barbados head coach Margaret Cutting when asked how they were able to return him.
They are close to confirming their place in next year’s World Cup alongside Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago and will be looking to cement their place when they meet the Trinis on Thursday.
“We had two games today, so we’re going to go back to our hotel, have some ice baths, have dinner, then go back to the drawing board and plan tomorrow’s game,” she added.
Wednesday’s other matches saw Jamaica beat Grenada 74-48 and the Cayman Islands claim a 47-42 win over Antigua and Barbuda.
Thursday’s other matches will see Saint Lucia face Jamaica, Saint Vincent against Antigua and Barbuda and the United States against the Cayman Islands.