Uganda national netball team, She Cranes posted a 56-73 win over Wales in their second preliminary stage 2 match at the Netball World Cup in Cape Town, South Africa. The victory was Uganda’s first ever triumph over Wales at the World Cup
She Cranes could earn themselves a strong finish if they do well in their next outing. She Cranes will need to defeat South Africa on Thursday to seal the third place, that will book them a ticket with with the fourth placed team in Group E, which they must win to play for positions five and six.
For Wales, their sole win of the tournament so far came against Sri Lanka, while Uganda have won three matches, including a first World Cup win over Wales.
With only one world ranking place separating the two nations, it was Uganda who showed why they are 8th in the world, by taking a 36-27 lead at half time.
The She-Cranes, cheered on by vocal supporters in South Africa, were far more dominant in the final third with goal shooter Mary Cholhok showing excellent accuracy in the scoring circle.
Uganda, who are looking to improve upon their 7th place World Cup finish in Liverpool four years ago, continued their dominance going in to the final-quarter.
Leading by 17, the African side could afford to replace Cholhok for the final 15 minutes, which saw a much more competitive Welsh performance, helped by the introduction of replacement Shona O’Dwyer at wing attack.
Overall, the Uganda attack was excellent in driving the ball down the court to the circle where goal shooter Mary Cholhok was waiting. She’s been a stalwart for her team, and her play has greatly improved since participating in the Super League in the UK. She commanded the circle with nifty footwork and accurate shooting. Cholhok and goal-attack Irene Eyaru didn’t miss a single shot in the first 15 minutes.
Both teams came out with the same seven in the second quarter. Despite not entirely satisfied with his side’s defensive effort, Uganda coach Fred Mugerwa kept faith in Stella Nanfuka and Christine Nakitto as their work in the Wales circle kept them in the lead.
At times it got a bit physical with lots of bodies on the floor and time being stopped to sweep up the floor. Cholhok missed her first goal in the 19th minute of the match while Eyaru kept going with a flawless record. Cholhok continued to move around with ease, and the Welsh defenders had trouble keeping her out and from scoring.
Uganda made their first change just before halftime when Lilian Achola replaced Margret Baagala on centre. At 1.58 cm Achola is the shortest player at the World Cup. The She Cranes had a nine-goal (36-27) lead when the hooter sounded after the first two quarters.
Wales switched Ella Powell-Davies to goal defence and introduced Christina Shaw on goalkeeper in the third quarter in an effort to stem the flow of quality ball to Cholhok. It didn’t seem to bother the She Cranes star too much though as she continued with the business at hand – keeping her team in front.
At the other end of the court, Uganda defenders Nakitto and Falidah Kadondi, who replaced Nanfuka, didn’t give the Welsh shooters any breathing space. They restricted their movement and kept scoring opportunities to a minimum, grinding down their opponents.
Having done enough to help her team to a healthy lead, Cholhok remained on the Uganda bench at the start of the last 15 minutes with Viola Asingo replacing her under the post. Baagala also came back in the centre position.
Despite only two places separating them on the latest world rankings, Uganda (8) ultimately just had too much firepower for Wales (9).
Most Valuable Player: Shaffie Nalwanja (Uganda)
Goal Shooting Percentage: Uganda 94.8 per cent / Wales 90.3 per cent
Penalty Count (Contact and Obstruction): Uganda 47 / Wales 68
Quarter scores: 15-12 / 36-27 / 58-41 / 73-56