Netball - Young shooters take Gibraltar to 15-50 victory against Malta
Malta 15-50 Gibraltar
It was a mixed-bag-start for Gibraltar. Considered the favourites but facing a very early morning start after a confidence bashing defeat less than 12 hours before, Gibraltar started with uncharacteristic errors. Early misses under the net saw Gibraltar unable to break away immediately against Malta.
The visitors levelled at 1-1 and then 2-2 with Malta taking the lead at 3-2.
Nerves and a quick turnaround after a defeat against UAE looked to have knocked some of the initial fight heading into the tournament away from Gibraltar as they now trailed 4-2 with five minutes gone.
It was a wake up call. Gibraltar pulled it back and levelled at 4-4. Soon after lifting their game and taking the lead. With the shooters finding their focus they soon went 4-8 ahead with five minutes of the first quarter left. Gibraltar brushing away the early morning sleep and the hangover from the previous day’s defeat.
The host started to show their dominance as they stretched their lead to 5-10 with two minutes left of the quarter. Flowing passes and quick movement sometimes seeing the ball go from one end of the court to the next without challenge.
Gibraltar finished the first quarter 11-6 ahead.
The second quarter saw changes from the start with Truman-Davies coming on.
Already Gibraltar had a changed formation with Janice Moreno, McQuisten and Chloe Hernandez among the starting seven as Gibraltar rotated its squad. Facing a second double header with Isle of Man next Gibraltar could ill afford tired legs or injuries among its key players.
The players on the court did not disappoint and showed there was very little margin of difference between key top players and the rest of the squad.
Truman-Davies and Pozo added to the points tally as Gibraltar started to run away with the game. Some great defensive pressure forced Malta to wait for six minutes before they scored by which time the score was at 7-18 against them.
The confidence inside the circle seeing applause from the crowd as Truman - Davies sunk in a difficult 19th goal.
Although Gibraltar were mainly dominating Malta produced some of their magic moments with some praiseworthy flying intercepts and fast transitions from one end to the next, although a strong Gibraltar defence reduced their effectiveness in the circle.
With a comfortable points gap created Gibraltar played without pressure going into halftime with a 9-23 lead.
Claire Nunez was to come on as Joelle Moreno was rested. Hartman also coming on for Gillingwater. Gibraltar now with a relatively young team on court.
There was no loss of momentum even though only Pozo remained on the court from what was the original first seven used in the tournament. Janice Moreno and Claire Nunez the most experienced on the court. Gibraltar soon were 9-28 ahead within the first five minutes of the third quarter and winning rebounds in defence to Malta’s frustration.
Fresh legs on court and with their confidence growing Gibraltar produced a flowing quick short passing game which saw them adding to their tally. It took Malta seven minutes to find a goal although already 10-31 behind.
Stretching to intercept crosses, defending tightly Gibraltar’s youngsters guided by the experience of both Janice Moreno and Claire Nunez, both of whom had played part in their progression as youth coaches, were now showing their talents bidding for positions in the squad.
Efficient under the basket Pozo and Truman-Davies will have rang warning bells to other shooters as they delivered with their sharpshooting finishing the third quarter 11-39.
Gibraltar needed to keep pushing the scoreline knowing that if results went their way during the rest of the tournament it could all come down to the goal difference .
Pozo was rested in the final quarter with Caitlin Robba brought on as Sarah Payas showed her trust on her squad players.
Malta increased their pressure at the back as they looked to finish on a more positive note, slowing Gibraltar down at the start of the final quarter and adding some confidence boosting points to their tally, although not enough to cause much of a dent as the score went to 14-41 with five minutes gone into the quarter.
It was not long before Truman-Davies and Robba added to the tally as they took Gibraltar to 14-45 with seven minutes left on the clock. Robba with a composed goal and Truman-Davies with a distant shot to add to her confidence both receiving applause from the early morning crowd.
A baseline drive combination between Nunez and Robba had the crowd once again cheering as Robba sunk the 48 and immediately added another for the 49. Truman-Davies adding the 50th goal with a minute and a half to go as Gibraltar cruised away with the victory.
Gibraltar finished with a 15-50 victory. This opening the way on a day of crucial double headers for them with the Isle of Man next this same evening.