Good experience for Manx Rams in World Cup qualifiers
Isle of Man Netball impressed at its first World Cup Qualifiers in Glasgow recently.
The objective for the Manx Rams was not about aiming to qualify but to gain experience and knowledge to be able to qualify at a future date.
This was always going to be a tough competition with the island’s region including some big nations who have well-established set-ups. This will not deter the side from aiming to qualify at a later stage though.
The Rams’ first two games were always going to be the toughest of the event, starting with going up against Wales in the opener.
Having played them a number of times before, the players knew this was going to be a difficult battle but one which they could learn from, setting them in good stead for the week ahead.
Wales is always a great game: it’s tough, fierce and always fast, therefore the team tends to take away a lot from these types of matches.
The next game was Scotland which didn’t go according to plan in the first quarter but the team picked it up and were competitive in the next three quarters.
This was Isle of Man Netball’s first outing against Scotland who came at the Rams with fire but the Manx players were happy with their performance once they settled into the game.
Gibraltar was next, a match the Rams knew that they could win but also one they had lost in the past so it was all down to them playing their own game and letting the scoreline take care of itself.
As such, the Rams were happy with how it ticked over and they took the game comfortably with a 10-goal lead over the Gibraltarians.
Next was the Republic of Ireland. Having lost to them twice - most recently in the Europe Netball event in May - beaten them in the gold medal Europe Netball event in 2019 and drawn with them back in the January Quad series, this was the game the Manx players were looking to win.
They started this game well, taking an early lead and retaining the advantage throughout the game.
Republic of Ireland piled on the pressure in the last quarter but the Manx Rams kept their cool and came out of the game with a one-goal lead to clinch an important win for Isle of Man Netball.
The Rams then went up against Northern Ireland who didn’t manage to qualify for the World Cup event, missing out to Scotland and Wales.
The Manx players knew they would have something to prove in this final game and subsequently came out firing.
The Rams battled well and pushed their opponents hard but ultimately went down to a 61-32 defeat.
These results left the Manx Rams in a respectable fourth place overall out of the six teams in the European section of World Cup qualifying.
Wales remained unbeaten to finish top of the table and will be joined at next year’s World Cup in Cape Town by Scotland who finished second.
Overall, Isle of Man Netball was extremely happy with the event and have taken so much away from the competition.
Manx Rams is looking forward to attending again in the future and will work hard to make sure they are even tougher to beat at the next one.
The association wishes all the countries who have qualified for the World Cup the best of luck in South Africa in 2023.
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