The Campions beat France 58-25 to make it three wins out of three
Game eleven of the Open Challenge saw Gibraltar come face to face with France.
After two sixty-plus point matches Gibraltar was looking to stamp their mark early on in their match against France going ahead 3-8 with six minutes of the first quarter gone.
Although not the runaway lead that Gibraltar had seen against Switzerland and Israel, the Campions pressed high and maintained their fast passing game. France, however, were much tighter in their defensive play than Gibraltar’s earlier opponents and did well to slow down Gibraltar’s quick movements across court to get their own footing on the game.
Starting to settle down in the latter part of the first quarter France reduced the deficit to four points at 5-9. Megan Ruiz, however, dealt an immediate confidence blow by scoring the tenth for Gibraltar. This just two minutes before the end of the first quarter.
France placed the pressure around the circle edge making it difficult for Gibraltar to find their way through. Not difficult enough though to prevent Gibraltar adding a further two points before the end of the first quarter.
Gibraltar had shown some initial nerves as they faced what was an unknown quantity for them having never faced France before.
However, settling into the match Gibraltar for the third time in the tournament lead in the first quarter and looked the strongest on the court.
Gibraltar’s experience on the international stage showed against newbies to Europe Netball ranks France. This at times marking the difference on court.
France maintained themselves in contention in the early part of the second half although still going further behind by 14-7 with still twelve minutes to play.
A very calm Megan Ruiz brought the nerves down as Gibraltar continued to increase their lead to 16-8 with ten minutes to half time. Pozo was to be replaced by Truman-Davies adding some inches to the offensive.
Gibraltar’s defence also doubling up on France’s shooters as they put pressure on the French limiting their opportunities.
Gibraltar slowly started to runaway with the lead Ruiz on top form as Gibraltar went 22-9 ahead with five minutes to halftime. France starting to the pressure as Gibraltar turned defence to attack to nudge further ahead 24-9.
Macquisten grabbing the rebounds well with herself and Gillingwater producing some important intercepts. France were forced to wait until the final three minutes of the second quarter before they added their tenth to the scoreboard. Gibraltar already though at 26-10.
From short quick passes to sweeping across the width of court long passes Gibraltar mixed and matched with confidence to set themselves to repeat their 30 point halftime target.
Gibraltar finishing the second quarter leading 29-11, just a point below that thirty point target. France, although falling behind providing a tougher opposition than Gibraltar had faced in their previous two matches. The French though lacking the international experience Gibraltar had in these tournaments and getting punished for it.
Joelle Moreno exchanged places with Janice Moreno as Gibraltar rested its players continuing to use a rotational system used in earlier matches to good effect.
The third quarter saw Gibraltar maintain their momentum going ahead 13-32 with three minutes gone.
Some excellent defending by Macquisten providing Gibraltar with a chance to limit France’s scoring opportunities and seeing defence turn to attack as Gibraltar went 13-36 ahead with nine minutes of the third quarter to go.
Gibraltar momentarily seemed to lose their focus with France getting a turnover and converting and Gibraltar failing at the centre pass and conceding before France had another turnover. France cutting the deficit to 16-36 before Gibraltar added to their tally.
Regaining their composure the match went to 17-38 but with a tighter game being played on court.
As Gibraltar hit the forty point mark Joelle Davis and Emma Torres got more minutes on court. This providing Gibraltar with an opportunity to rest players after what had been a gruelling second day of play, with three more days of intense play left. Whilst having little impact on Gibraltar’s lead. The Campions finishing with a 19-43 lead at the end of the third quarter.
Further changes in the fourth quarter saw Gibraltar’s strength across their squad come to the forefront as Courtney Ferrer came on. Ferrer another strong sharp shooter which France had to content with.
Amy Pozo and Courtney Ferrer taking Gibraltar to a 49-20 lead with ten minutes of the final quarter still to play.
Once again Gibraltar looking towards the sixty point scoreline although France were intent on making their own mark. Their chances dealt a blow after one of their players was sanctioned and saw them play temporarily with just six on the court.
With five minutes left Gibraltar led 53-22 but France were doing their best to stall Gibraltar’s progress. However, quick changes on court saw Gibraltar start flying away in the final two minutes some great work as a unit taking them to a 57-24 lead for the final minute.
The Campions once again stamped their mark with another close to sixty point match. France scoring the final point and denying Gibraltar reaching the sixty mark but seeing the Campions win by 58-25. In three matches the Campions scoring close to 180 points with three wins out of three.