Too little too late for Gems

They lost all their group matches against Australia, Fiji and Tonga to get eliminated from the running for honours.

Zimbabwe . . . . . . . . . 75

Barbados . . . . . . . . . 48

Quarters 15-14 / 30-28 / 52-35 / 75-48

The Gems left it a little too late to be part of this tournament, only showing up after they had already been relegated to the zone of irrelevance at the Netball World Cup 2023 tournament.

Yesterday, they recorded their third straight victory, hammering Barbados 75-48 and will return home only dreaming of what it could have been, had they hit their heights from the start.

They lost all their group matches against Australia, Fiji and Tonga to get eliminated from the running for honours.

In the lower group, whose only significance was to determine the lower echelons of the rankings, the Zimbabwe national team were clinical with wins over Singapore, Sri Lanka and Barbados.

That they lost to Barbados in their earlier meeting and with the manner they exerted revenge yesterday is clear testimony that the Gems were not themselves in the first four matches they played at this showpiece in Cape Town, South Africa.

After a run of four straight defeats, changes were made, with Nicole Muzanenhamo shifting from centre position to her preferred goal attack position and her combination with Nalani Makunde was a revelation in the goal shooting circle.

Claris Kwaramba filled in for Muzanenhamo, while Progress Moyo was on wing attack, with the duo of Elizabeth Mushore and team captain Felistus Kwangwa in defence side.

Once these combinations were established, the team started to fly and they will be kicking themselves over a missed opportunity all the way back home.

It was a rather disappointing show for the Gems, who targeted a top-four finish, but it could have been worse.

Yesterday, the Gems flew out of the blocks dominating from the first whistle, with Makunde scoring 11 goals, while Muzanenhamo contributed four, ending the first quarter leading 15-14.

Barbados kept the Gems on their toes moving into the second quarter.

However, as the contest progressed Zimbabwe maintained the slim advantage with scores on 30-28 at the half time break.

In the third quarter, the Gems, however, pulled away, capitalising on turnovers coming their way to establish a 17 goal gap.

The fourth quarter sealed the Gems victory as they closed down the show with a 27 goal margin.

Kwangwa expressed her delight for sealing 13th spot.

“It was a tough encounter considering that we lost against Barbados in our first round and we had to re-watch our game and see where we went wrong and today (yesterday) we have managed to play the game with less errors-a job well done by the girls,” she said.

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