Netball – An amazing final minutes saw Gibraltar cut a five point deficit to equalise in the final seconds of the match. Gibraltar taking the match to extra time and eventually defeating Thailand to take third place in the Hong Kong Four nations.
Gibraltar started with both Moreno sisters back in action with Amy Pozo and Courtney Ferrer back together again.
The first time Gibraltar was playing in the Hong Kong Four Nations and they were playing for third place against Thailand who they had beaten the previous day.
Thailand started well notching the first point but Gibraltar kept at it within the first minutes Gibraltar went ahead to 4-3, then 5-4.
Gib shooters were playing once again to get closer to the net and started to go ahead to 8-5.
Rovengo had a hard task with Thailand shooter significantly taller under the post.
A fast shot passing game with some intensity was seen in the first quarter Gibraltar fighting for every ball.
Minor errors due to nerves saw Thailand come back closing in to 9-7.
Some good finishing from both saw score go to 12-8. Gibraltar tightened in defense. There was a lot of contact taking place but this did not slow down Gibraltar as they headed for 13-8 lead. By the end of the first quarter Gibraltar led by 14-9.
For Gibraltarians watching live this was an early start with the match played at 1pm in Hong Kong making it just 6am in Gibraltar. The support online was quite surprising with some 100 people between two platforms alone watching.
There were no changes as Gibraltar stepped back into court for the second quarter. The tumbles to the ground continued from early on as the tightly fought match brought about accidental contacts. Gibraltar kept their confidence across defense and attack moving the ball well, short and fast through the center.
They were soon 16-10 ahead within the first three minutes.
Thailand clawed the points back after an unforced passing error and a couple intercepts as the score went to 17-15.
The body hits continued with more tumbles and pushes which had the Gibraltar bench somewhat rattled.
Thailand had stepped up their game and came within a point. Stealing under the basket they went on to equalise.
Good defending halted Thailand at first but again an unforced error saw Thailand go ahead for the first time at 17-18. Gibraltar final scored and equalized at 18-18. Gib stepped it up and came back in to take back the lead at 19-18.
The lead changed hands again Gibraltar kept at it equalizing at 21-21. There was some good defensive pressure but Thailand closed ranks and cutting Gibs attack they went to 21-24 ahead. This was the first time Gibraltar had lost the lead by more than the one point.
Gibraltar went into half time behind at 22-24 Thailand turning the score around.
The second quarter had seen the nerves emerge as Gibraltar for the first time really competed to have a direct impact on their ranking. Three tough matches away far from home with players returning from injury and illness was also playing its part.
With no changes Gibraltar started the second half. Rovengo was forced to intercept after Gibraltar lost the ball twice going forward.
Thailand went further ahead to 22-27. The height of Thailands Shooter playing a big part as the game started to go against them. Gibraltar took four minutes to score as they went behind by 23-28.
Fighting back still but some good intercept by Thailand kept them ahead. Thailand increased the pressure on every ball the match moved a point each as it went to 26-31.
Some mishandling an unforced errors played against Gibraltar as they tried to come back into the game in what was a tough match. Thailand had stepped up to the match following their defeat to Gibraltar the previous day.
Pressure from Gibraltar brought the deficit down to 29-32.
Gibraltar had been able to narrow the gap at the last minutes of the quarter to 31-34.
Gibraltar faced a final quarter where players were already feeling the effects of tired legs but need to find that final push to over turn the three points.
Gibraltar made no changes. Pozo cut the points deficit with two to go 33-34, making it anyone’s game.
Pozo kept her accuracy keeping at that one point. A miss upfront gave Thailand the advantage to go in front. At 34-37 Rovengo won the battle and intercepted to bring it back to go 35-37.
Gibraltar were however unfortunate as they lost possession at a time it was crucial for them to keep it.
Thailand putting on the pressure went ahead to 35-40.
With eight minutes to go Gibraltar were five behind at 37-42.
Short passing and keeping possession they cut it down to 39-42.
A more clinical approach kept them at three. Gibraltar tried to press harder to regain possession when Thailand had it to stay in with a chance.
A long bomb put it at 41-44 with four minutes to go.
Height advantage for Thailand’s shooter was playing to their benefit even though Rovengo and Ocana were having an extraordinary game.
Gibraltar found it difficult some heavy contact also taking place on the player showing Thailand’s physical approach to stop Gibraltar.
Gibraltar were playing against the clock at 46-48 with less than a minute.
With 30 seconds they were 47-48 with ten seconds Ferrer brought it to 48-48 in an amazing finish.
Gibraltar forced extra time with two seven minute halves played in what was an amazing finish by Gibraltar.
Gibraltar started getting a turn around scoring first. Back to short and patience in passes they went to 50-48.
An unforced error gave Thailand a chance to equalise at 50-50 and then saw Thailand go ahead to 50-51.
Gibraltar pressed high when Thailand was in possession try to cut the pass to the tall shooter. Succeeding in their effort Gibraltar went ahead to 53-52. The match was now so close any mistake could be detrimental for any side. Gibraltar was to see fortune come to their side for first time as they went to 56-53 in the final seconds of the over time.
Gibraltar started well going to four points ahead at 57-53. An amazing turn around for Gibraltar who had looked at losing the match in that fourth quarter start no had them ahead in the second half of the overtime.
Thailand were out to play it to the end and came to within a point. Pozo putting back to two ahead at 58-56.
With three minutes to go Gibraltar went to 60-58. A step call gave Thailand the equalizer at 60-60, but Gibraltar kept possession as they went one ahead. With 30 seconds Gibraltar were at 62-60.
Gibraltar kept their composure and made s tremendous turn around to win 62-60 in an amazing 3rd place play off.
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