Gibraltar started its Netball Europe Open Challenge matches with a resounding win that had an immediate personal praise from the Chief Minister and Governor who were in attendance at the match.
Playing the second match of Day one of the tournament, which is being hosted at the Tercentennary Sports Hall, Gibraltar came out convincing winners with a 64-23 scoreline. A magnificent performance swept Israel to one side after a nervy start. Gibraltar had scored first but saw themselves trailing 3-1 as some fumbled passes and missed opportunities allowed Israel the initial advantage. As Gibraltar settled down and with the defence keeping Israel at bay with some excellent defending the local ladies brought the game back to level score at 5-5. There was no looking back from then on as Gibraltar gathered pace and took the score to 17-8 in the first quarter. Israel seemed stuck in ideas on how to break through the Gibraltar defence as the local side headed to a 35-10 half time score.
Even with a decision to rest players and give some playing time to the rest of the squad Gibraltar continued to steam ahead a 50-16 third quarter finish highlighting Gibraltar’s superiority. Without slowing down in pace and with the team reshuffled so that even the youngest of players took to the court Gibraltar continued to a magnificent 64-23 scoreline.
The result brought a roar from the half filled stands which included the Governor and Chief Minister. Both of whom stepped down onto the court at the end of the match to congratulate the players in person as they exchanged high fives.
Gibraltar’s win came immediately after the first match of the tournament saw the Isle of Man beating the United Arab Emirates. The two sides, debutants as official Netball Europe members provided an exciting and fast paced encounter in which the Isle of Man came out victors.
The Isle of Man had gone behind at first but were soon in the lead as it seemed that forecasts of them being the favorites were going to be proven correct. The Isle of Man team, however, had other things on their mind and took the first quarter at 16-11.
Maintaining their momentum into the second quarter they went into the half time break at 30-21.
Although conceding a succession of points with no response from them for a while the Isle of Man kept their lead to the end of the third quarter with a 45-33 scoreline.
The United Arab Emirates were to reduce the scoreline to within touching distance during the last quarter of the match. However, the Isle of Man once again surged ahead and took the match to a 57-47 finish to give them the first victory of the tournament.