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Last leaps for Finals chances

23 Mar 06 00:12

New Zealand's Vilimaina Davu (black) leaps to intercept.

New Zealand's Vilimaina Davu (black) leaps to intercept.

Day 8 of the Netball competition will see all 12 nations back on the court for their final preliminary round matches.

In the opening match of the day, the Welsh shooting combination of Rebecca James and Rhiannon Ace proved far too mobile and swift for the Barbados defence, winning 55-34.

In the second match, Fiji confidently defeated St Vincent & Grenadines 58-44.

Australia takes to the court against Singapore in the third match of the day. It should be an easy win for Australia and a good opportunity to rotate the squad and rest some weary legs in preparation for the medal rounds.

New Zealand will encounter crowd favourites Malawi. Malawi, which has already delivered some major upsets at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games, may fall short in its pursuit to topple the world champions, but the match-up between New Zealand’s Vilimaina Davu and Malawi’s towering shooter Linda Magombo will be an absorbing battle.

England plays South Africa in the match of the round. The South Africans had to rely on all their experience to overcome a tenacious Fiji, while England has struggled to hit top form.

This match could swing either way, but if England can sustain a high-quality performance for the full 60 minutes, it should come out winners. The key will be the match-up between South African shooter Sindisiwe Gumede and the English defensive duo of Geva Mentor and Sonia Mkoloma.

Jamaica will face Samoa in the final match of the day. The Samoans have the potential to take it up to Jamaica, but the Caribbean side should have enough strength at both ends of the court.

The battle through the mid-court between Samoan captain Francis Solia and Jamaican Nadine Bryan will be the key to their respective teams' success.

As the top four teams move into the semi finals to take place on March 25, the remaining teams will compete in the Classification matches on March 24. 

For more results, visit the Netball Schedule and Results section of this Website.

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- Games News Service

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