World netball giants Australia and New Zealand in final

13th World Netball Championships
By M. Shamil Amit Reporting from Singapore

It will be another clash between the world netball giants Australia and New Zealand when they meet in the final of the 13th World Netball Championships to be played at the Singapore Indoor Stadium today at 4.45 p.m. (Singapore time).

Lankan game in progress against Botswana

The two teams booked their berth to the final with convincing wins win over England and Jamaica in the semi finals which were played at the Singapore Indoor Stadium yesterday evening. Australia who are the defending champions will be meeting New Zealand for the fourth successive year and also this will be the ninth time that the two teams will be clashing in the World Championships final since it began in 1963.

Australia has won the finals six times while the New Zealanders being able to record only two wins in the eight finals that the two teams have played. Apart from that Australia and New Zealand have virtually dominated the previous 12 editions with Australia having entered the final 11 times and New Zealand on ten occasions.

None of the other countries have been able to win the World netball title since it began in 1963 with Australia winning it nine times and New Zealand winning the remaining three. The closest any team came were England, Trinidad and Tobago and South Africa.

Meanwhile the Sri Lankan lasses participating in the World championships after a lapse of eight years performed more than what was expected from them. The girls were able to lift Sri Lanka who came into the championship ranked 18th in the world four places up to the 14th position.

This is a credible performance due to the fact and according to coach Hyacinth Wijesinghe that the girls had the opportunity of training for just four months. The Lankans were grouped along with tough teams such as Australia who are the favourites, Samoa and Northern Ireland ranked 10 and 12.
The Lankan lasses underwent three successive defeats in the round robin stage but again they were pitted against a tough team Barbados before recording a win against host Singapore.

Sri Lanka in the clash for the 13th and 14th position against Botswana failed to maintain the dominance they had in the first two quarters which they won before going down by just five points.
Sri Lanka lead (14-12 and 16-11) to take an early lead of seven points (30-23) but wilted under tremendous pressure put in by Botswana who took the third and fourth quarters (17-11 and 19-13) giving Botswana a close victory 59-54.

Play Off- (9-10 position) Wales beat Fiji 62-47. (11-12) Barbados beat Samoa 68-45. (13-14) Botswana beat Sri Lanka 59-54. (15-16) Singapore beat Malaysia 47-36.
Semi Finals:
New Zealand beat England 49-34. Australia beat Jamaica 82-46.
Today’s Schedule:
10.00 a.m. – Play off for7 and 8 positions. 12.15 p.m. - Play off for 5 and 6 positions. 2.30 p.m. – Play off for 3 and 4 positions. 4.45 p.m. – Final.

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