The Courier-Mail

Diamonds cruise into finals with dominant display

- REBECCA WILLIAMS

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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