The Courier-Mail

Di­a­monds cruise into fi­nals with dom­i­nant dis­play


AUS­TRALIA scored a com­mand­ing 35-goal win over South Africa last night to con­tinue their charge to­wards the Net­ball World Cup semi-fi­nals.

Af­ter re­bound­ing from their shock loss to New Zealand on Sun­day with a strong 10-goal win over Eng­land on Tues­day night, the Di­a­monds were a class above world No.6 South Africa, win­ning 66-31 at All­phones Arena in Syd­ney.

The vic­tory se­cured a toptwo fin­ish for the Di­a­monds in their qual­i­fy­ing pool, book­ing their spot in Satur­day’s semi­fi­nals.

The Di­a­monds now have a rest day be­fore their fi­nal qual­i­fy­ing game to­mor­row night against Wales ahead of a likely semi-fi­nal match-up against Ja­maica.

Aus­tralia rested sev­eral of their front­line stars against the Norma Plum­mer-coached Proteas, with Julie Cor­letto, Caitlin Bas­sett, Kim Green and Nat Med­hurst from the bench.

In their place, goal shooter Caitlin Th­waites, goal at­tack Erin Bell and de­fend­ers Sharni Lay­ton and Re­becca Bul­ley all played out a full match.

Th­waites (33 goals from 38 at­tempts) and Bell (33 from 35) were dom­i­nant in at­tack, with Bell de­liv­er­ing the best in­ter­na­tional shoot­ing per­for­mance of her ca­reer so far.

Lay­ton got her hands on ev­ery­thing in de­fence, fin­ish­ing the match with seven in­ter-

all watch­ing cepts and five de­flec­tions.

The Di­a­monds made a dom­i­nant start, scor­ing the first 11 goals of the match be­fore Lenize Pot­gi­eter got the Proteas on the score­board seven min­utes in.

Com­ing off a ca­reer-best sea­son in the trans-Tas­man com­pe­ti­tion, Th­waites pro­vided a con­fi­dent tar­get un­der the post, while Lay­ton en­joyed her time in her favoured po­si­tion at goal keeper.

The Di­a­monds led 23-5 at the first change and in­creased the ad­van­tage to 38-12 at half­time.

NEW Zealand held off a feisty Malawi last night to con­tinue their un­beaten run at the World Cup.

Malawi had edged to within two goals in the fi­nal quar­ter be­fore the Sil­ver Ferns stead­ied for a 57-49 vic­tory.

The Ferns were tested by Malawi goal shooter Mwai Kumwenda, who landed 38 goals from 42 at­tempts, while Bai­ley Mes top scored for the Ki­wis with 34 from 39.

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