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Down to the wire

Emoni Narawa
Friday, May 09, 2014

EXECUTING the basic skills perfectly was vital for the Fiji Pearls netball team in winning a breath-taking match against Northern Ireland in Suva last night.

Trailing by 10 points, the Matila Waqanidrola-captained Fiji side fought back in extra time to win the Digicel Tri-Series Netball competition 60-59 at the Vodafone Arena.

It was the impact of Alesi Waqa who combined well with the series' best player Vaiti Waqatabu at midcourt that propelled Fiji's comeback in the second half as they trailed 21-31 at halftime.

Both teams were locked 51-all at fulltime. A crucial turnover by skipper Waqanidrola in the second spell of extra time saw Fiji held on to a single point lead until the final whistle.

Waqanidrola said they pressured themselves from the beginning.

"I think we put ourselves in a lot of pressure right from the start," she said.

"We knew we could have beaten them right from the start but then we put ourselves in so much pressure. Coach (Julie Hoornweg) has taught us everything but it was up to us as to how we execute the basics perfectly inside the court in the second half."

Northern Ireland coach Kate Carpenter said they played well but found themselves in the wrong end at the end of the match.

"We had a better first half and Fiji had the better second half by one," she said.

"It was an exciting match and we know we're in the wrong end at the end of the game, it was disappointing for us but a huge learning experience and we'll be back to redeem ourselves tomorrow (today)."

Waqanidrola said it was a great feeling to win at home.