Gibraltar netball will face Isle of Man for third and fourth place after defeat against UAE
Gibraltar faced defeat at the hands of the United Arab Emirates who were defending their title in the Netball Europe Open Challenge.
Although putting up a strong fight even when twenty-two points behind Gibraltar were unable to overturn the scoreline.
Gibraltar for the first time in the competition started on the backfoot with the UAE scoring first and taking a 1-3 lead. They were not to let go of their lead throughout the match.
Gibraltar pulled a point back and worked around the pressure from the UAE but found themselves going behind 2-7 early on. The UAE setting the tone for the match from early on.
The UAE wearing black armbands as a mark of respect for the death of the country’s
president provided a strong opposition from the start.
Gibraltar clawed some of the points back and went to a 4-7 before the UAE added their eighth.
With half of the first period gone Gibraltar were still struggling to settle down into their own game with the UAE opening the gap to 5-10.
Gibraltar started to find some depth in their game working patiently although the UAE maintained their lead and took advantage of mistakes. With a minute left of the first quarter the score at 8-13.
The UAE taking the first quarter 8-15.
A nervy start for Gibraltar against a physically strong and experienced side played in favour of the UAE in the first quarter.
Keeping her trust on the players on the court Gibraltar came out with then same line up. A tight contest was seen with the UAE edging slowly ahead as they went into a 10-20 lead. Gibraltar forced to play around and back to find a way to their shooters as the UAE closed down the gaps well.
Quick transitions by the UAE was providing them with a chance to increase their lead to 12-24. Although Gibraltar’s defence were intercepting passes, the rebounds were being won by the UAE and keeping their momentum going.
With seven minutes for half time Gibraltar trailed by 14-25. Their attackers being crowded out with the UAE ensuring Gibraltar could not get into their quick passing momentum which had been so effective in the tournament up until then.
Gibraltar introduced Truman-Davies who immediately provided some important passes as Gibraltar maintained its attempt to keep the UAE within touching distance. However, a confident display by the UAE was dominating the tone of play as they went 17-31 ahead at the end of the second quarter. Gibraltar facing a very steep climb if they wanted to overturn the scoreline.
Sarah Payas opted for changes at the back bringing the experience of Ocana and Gillingwater together at the back. Both having partnered in this position against the UAE in the past. Chloe Hernandez coming in.
Fast in their release of the ball and keeping their momentum the UAE continued to dominate as they stretched their lead to 19-40 with five minutes into the third quarter.
Gibraltar who had dominated their group found themselves facing a side considered to be at ‘the next level’ akin to Championship sides.
Gibraltar were however still to produce moments of magic with quick handling and some impressive shooting. Youngster Truman-Davies producing some confident goals as they cut the deficit and went to 23-41.
Captain Joelle Moreno and then Chloe Hernandez were to produce some impressive intercepts jumping into the line to halt the UAE even though this was not to dent the latter’s lead.
Janice Moreno was to come in for sister Joelle Moreno after some exhausting work by Gibraltar’s captain. Janice walking straight into the thick of it as she was ping ponged to a halt earning the UAE a caution but not doing much more to stop the UAE’s momentum. The UAE continued to capitalise on their turnovers and took their lead to 26-48 at the end of the third quarter.
Gibraltar watching how their hopes of reaching the finals were quickly fading away but unwilling to give in. The UAE presenting themselves as one of the toughest oppositions they had faced.
It was an unrelenting pace at the early part of the fourth quarter in which the UAE were made to work as Gibraltar pressed forward.
With five minutes of the fourth quarter played Gibraltar had taken the score to 32-49. Reducing the UAE to the one point and cutting the deficit.
As the UAE did eventually find their way back to their scoring prowess Gibraltar, although knowing they had little chance to overturn the score maintained their pace until the final whistle.
The UAE walking away with a 38-58 victory.
Gibraltar will now face hosts Isle of Man once again. This time playing for third and fourth place. The match on Sunday, notably, will also have an impact on rankings as Gibraltar bids to rise up the world rankings.