The netball national players were away on their travels in January, with the Campions squaring up against old foes, The Isle of Man, as well as two giants of the game in the form of Republic of Ireland and Wales. Gibraltar first faced Isle of Man and were looking for revenge after the Manx squad pipped them to a 47-41 win at the Open Challenge hosted here on the Rock last October. To easily bet on any sports team, sites like বাবু88 can be relied on.
Unfortunately a nervy start to the game saw Gibraltar fall behind an IOM team that looked slicker from the off. A 17-31 half time score saw IOM side looking comfortable and although the Campions found their rhythm in the two second quarters, it wouldn’t be enough to make up the 13 point deficit. The sides practically went goal for goal throughout the second half, with the final score Gibraltar 42-55 IOM.
The rivalry between these two sides never disappoints, but Gibraltar will feel they need to win the next encounter to put this run of losses to an end!
Next up was the Irish side – less familiar opposition for the Gibraltar side, although they hadn’t fared too badly when Ireland visited in 2018 for the European Open Challenge. The visitors had beaten the Campions 34-39 in that game, so Gibraltar hoped they would at least make things difficult for the opposition.
The game took a similar trajectory to Gibraltar’s opener – a slightly shaky start saw Ireland run away with a healthy half time lead of 28-15. Gibraltar then clawed back some of the difference to end Q3 at 38-27, but the Irish side shored up their defence and pulled away to a 54-33 victory.
Gibraltar would then end the series with the toughest game by far: Wales are regularly ranked top ten in the world (currently 9th) and it was the first encounter between these sides at senior level, meaning Gibraltar had no previous reference to Wales.
It was a rollercoaster from the start; Gibraltar nicked just the 6 points to Wales’ 20 in the first quarter, and the hosts were in full control throughout the 60 minutes. 82 – 27 the final score to Wales, who lifted the Wendy White Trophy with three emphatic wins that put them en route to qualifying for the Commonwealth Games later this year and the World Cup in 2023
No wins but more valuable experience for our netball side, with veteran Joelle Moreno celebrating a landmark 50th cap during this trip. On the other side of the scale, seven players earned their first cap in Wales and will be hoping to cement their positions in the squad in coming years.
A special mention also to Nadine Pardo Zammit who was selected to officiate at the series and continues adding to her growing experience at high level tournaments.
In football, Gibraltar’s women will be playing two friendlies this month, after opening their UEFA accounts against Liechtenstein in November. The first takes place on February 16th and will see the side travel up to play Andorra in their Estadi Nacional. The side then returns to the Rock and will have a few days preparation before facing The Faroe Islands at the Victoria Stadium.
UEFA football is a new adventure for Gibraltar’s women and they will want to find their level in the coming months and years after starting off in the best possible way with a win against Liechtenstein in their first official friendly. Andorra (ranked 170th) and Faroe Islands (ranked 99th) will serve up a sterner test this month, and we wish the side all the best as they prepare to represent Gibraltar on the international stage!