Gibraltar beats Switzerland to grab first victory in Europe Netball U17
The 5pm encounter between Gibraltar and Switzerland under 17s squad in the Europe Netball Challenge was always going to be a te se encounter. The hosts Gibraltar needing the win to keep some respectability in the tournament. Whilst Switzerland in their last match knew they were fighting for the foot of the table.
After their defeat earlier in the day, their third the Swiss team tried a warm up routine which looked at relaxing themselves.
Gib had a more serious more focused look about them as this was crucial match for them for them. But Gibraltar had a secret weapon which brought some fun and a new atmosphere among the organisers which send some good vibes. The return of GNA President Moira Gomez to see the tournament after missing the first day due to personal issues brought some joy to the scenes. This clearly transmitted into the stands during the match.
For a time the stands looked as if they would not fill but soon, although slowly there were just a few rows to the far end empty as Gibraltar supporters arrived. Albeit late.
There was a somewhat tense feel for Gibraltar prior to the match starting.
Gibraltar Under 17s started well showing that they had placed their focus on turning their fortunes around in front of their home crowd. Four early points before Switzerland scored showing their intensity. This was followed by a 7-1 lead.
Gibraltar somehow lost that momentum momentarily and allowed Switzerland back into the match with the Swiss going to within one point at 9-8 before Gibraltar pulled one back again.
Gibraltar went into the rest period after the first quarter with a two point lead.
Europe Netball U17: first quarter Gibraltar U17 10-8 Switzerland U17
Gib started well again scoring first and turning over through intercepts. Although it was a struggle to find the points Gibraltar did manage to find that four point lead they once had once again.
Good reading in defence saw a pass cut to regain possession with five minutes gone Gibraltar was now at 8-13.
Nerves under basket could have made it 14 but Gibraltar had to wait for the Swiss to add their points to the scoreboard.
As they came into the last five minutes Gibraltar’s defence had held well and provided the space to crate opportunity for a 14-9 soon after came the fifteenth after prolonged wait two consecutive points.
The Switzerland, however, run out on their marks and brought it back down scoring twice to the roar of their supporters making it and Gibraltar 15-11 then 15-12 as Gibraltar lost possession.
Unable to get the ball into the basket Gibraltar failed to add to their score before Swiss came back to come to within two points.
A good intercept saved momentarily the Swiss from a certain point which would have brought them to within a point. The teams momentum which once again saw them lose their way towards the end of quarter coming into question as they arrived at halftime.
Europe Netball U17: half time - Gibraltar U17 15-13 Switzerland U17
The half time break saw some positive vibes brought to the Tercentenary Sports Hall.
Gibraltar’s crowd enjoyed themselves although it was not filling the stands this time.
The good vibes were transposed onto the court for Gibraltar as they went into a 17-13 lead and stopped Switzerland from responding.
At full stretch the intercepts came in taking the Swiss three minutes to get one point against Gibraltar’s two but they soon levelled the ratio as the score went to 17-15 and Switzerland sensed a chance to get something out of their tournament.
Five minutes In and they were within a point at 17-16 and Gibraltar hanging on before they added their next. However, it was not long before again Gibraltar faltered in their momentum and a,lowed them to come to within a point.
Gibraltar, pushed by a crowd behind them provided a great delivery to its shooter two step ahead at 20-17.
Five minutes of third quarter now gone Gibraltar took advantage of Swiss mistakes and scored the 22-18 to give them that four point gap again.
Gibraltar grew in confidence through the centre and distributing well set up to go for two more points through some neat passing to make it 24-18.
With three mins of the quarter left this was coming as a welcome breathe fluidity in movement providing space to pass into.
The Swiss were for reduce the deficit to four points before the end of the quarter.
Europe Netball U17: third quarter - Gibraltar U17 24-20 Switzerland U17
It was a tense start to the final quarter with Gibraltar holding back the Swiss but they themselves being held back.
After five minutes Gibraltar, had nevertheless punched through their aim at keeping the margins and were at 22-26 in the lead.
It was a nervous final ten minutes where Gibraltar had the initial advantage and a crowd behind them pushing them forward.
Switzerland, however, with their own vociferous support and with little to lose battles it has to t and tried to play around Gibraltar’s errors.
Gibraltar opened the gap to a five point lead as they were arriving to the midway mark of the final quarter.
Unforced errors on both sides played its part. At times favourably for Gibraltar who went to lead 24-29 with less than five minutes on the clock after a double touch on the ball after dropping it by the Swiss defence. This soon turning into a 24-30.
However, it was an unforced error in the pass that saw Gibraltar regain possession and climb to a 24-31 lead and looking at claiming the points on the night.
The crowd buzzing and singing in celebration even before the final buzzer as Gibraltar went to grab their first victory and one match still to play against the Isle of Man, who had watched part of the match from the stands before their encounter against the Republic of Ireland.
Europe Netball U17 - first win for Gibraltar as they beat Switzerland 31-25