Campions beat Israel with another Sixty-plus points tally in Europe Netball Open Challenge day two
On the second day of competition in the Europe Netball Open Challenge Gibraltar face two crucial matches. The first was against Israel, followed, later this Thursday evening, by debutants in the competition France.
Israel had fallen to France 38-49 the previous day in what was a hard fought contest in which any of the two sides could have taken the win. This an indicator for the Campions of the task they had ahead on day two.
Gibraltar, with their 60-16 victory against Switzerland the previous day came into the morning session as the group two favorites and buoyed by their confident start to the tournament.
Played in Cardiff, Gibraltar were looking to secure top spot in their group table in order to get a chance to move ahead into the weekend play-off stage where winning the tournament would secure promotion into the top tier of Europe Netball competition.
Playing in their all black kit the Campions looked the part for their early Thursday morning match against Israel. Coming out at full speed with a string of quick passes Gibraltar notched the first point but Israel responded with an immediate point. Megan Ruiz, however, ensured Gibraltar kept the early lead with a point within seconds, Gibraltar increasing their lead within the first minutes to 6-1 as they stamped their authority on the game with just three minutes played.
Gibraltar’s sharp shooters Megan Ruiz and Amy Pozo were in top form as Gibraltar stretched their lead to 10-1 with still ten minutes of the first quarter to play. Israel had to wait to score their second as Gibraltar went on to score their eleventh point. Israel adding their third in their next opportunity before Gibraltar added their twelfth point with still eight minutes to go of the first quarter.
Israel, who had struggled to find any response started to find the net scoring a fourth with their crisscrossing runs as Gibraltar seemed to relax for a short period. Israel cut the deficit to 12-5 before Gibraltar started to see their quick passing game return to full flow.
The spirited response from Israel provided for a tight contest during the latter part of the first quarter, Gibraltar’s point scoring reduced somewhat, although still adding to their points tally.
Confident in their passing and keeping to their now well known quick passing game Gibraltar finished the first quarter with a 17-6 lead as they slowly eroded Israel’s hopes of making a comeback.
With some changes to their players on court with Courtney Ferrer coming on for Megan Ruiz Gibraltar started the second quarter adding to their tally as they went 22-6 ahead before Israel responded. Gibraltar responded in-kind immediately taking the score to 25-7 within the next two minutes of play as they reinforced their command of the game.
Even with the points gap now securing Gibraltar was heading towards their second victory the Campions did not ease their pace producing some high pressure tactics from their front lines to intercept within Israel’s final quarter of the court on occasions. The Campions giving no respite to Israel’s defence as the latter clung on trying to stall the point scoring rate of the Campions.
Israel succeeded in their attempt for a while keeping Gibraltar at 25-8 until the final five minutes. Gibraltar’s opponents having some respite towards the latter part of the second quarter producing a series of strings off passes, before Gibraltar resumed their point scoring and retook possession of the game.
The Campions looked to try and repeat the previous day’s score taking their lead to a 30-11 by half time.
The second half saw more changes on court, Joelle Davis, Emma Torres and Mae Truman-Davies coming on. This making little change to Gibraltar’s rhythm as they continued with their high speed gameplay adding more points to their tally. Gibraltar 37-13 ahead after just five minutes of the second quarter played.
The changes in Gibraltar’s team on court highlighted the steep progress in discipline and tactical gameplay which Gibraltar’s technical team have instilled across the whole squad. The players integrating seamlessly into Gibraltar’s gameplan as they steamed ahead to a 42-15 lead with five minutes left of the third quarter.
During the third quarter Janice Moreno was the sole senior “veteran” player gracing the court the rest of the team gaining important international caps to their name. Most of which had come up through the youth and under 21 ranks in recent years and now knocking on the door for regular senior positions in the squad.
Israel was to ensure they would go one better than Switzerland had done against Gibraltar the previous day securing their seventeenth point one minute before the end of the third quarter. The Campions, where, however, to finish with a 46-17 lead at the end of the third quarter and in line to repeat their previous day’s victory.
If Israel had hoped to have some additional breathing space in the final quarter hoping Gibraltar would ease their pace knowing they would be playing France that same evening, they were to find this was not to be the case.
Starting off by scoring first Gibraltar ensured their fast paced game momentum was maintained into the final quarter. Israel, however, did well to find their own pathway to increasing their score to 22 points with ten minutes left to play. The Campions scoring their half century of points tally just moments later. The return to court of Joelle Moreno for her sister Janice Moreno ensuring that the leadership on court pushing the Campions to maintain their momentum was in place as the Campions looked to aim for their 60 point tally again.
They were to reach their target within the final two minutes making it 60-23 with a minute and a half left on the clock.
Gibraltar and Israel adding further points to the scoreboard in the final minute as Gibraltar secured a second victory. Gibraltar winning with a final score of 61-24. Gibraltar next playing France on the same Thursday evening.
Gibraltar with just two matches played having scored 121 points.