Belfast Telegraph

Lisa's on fire as Northern Ireland triumph to set up dramatic Games finale

Northern Ireland 73-46 Fiji

By Richard Bullick

Lethal Lisa Bowman went goal crazy yesterday as Northern Ireland's netballers saw off Fiji in emphatic fashion in their final group game.

The star shooter from Magherafelt netted an astonishing 59 times in the hour as Elaine Rice's side won 73-46 to finish fourth behind Australia, Jamaica and South Africa in Pool A.

Bowman's magnificent tally is the best by any player for any team across the 30 matches which have taken place in the first phase of this tournament.

The Larkfield forward converted 91 per cent of her 65 shots.

After beating Barbados on Tuesday, this impressive victory over Fiji guaranteed Northern Ireland a top eight placing at Gold Coast 2018 in line with their world ranking.

Going into this morning's seventh place play-off against formidable Malawi, the girls in green were already assured of finishing higher than either Scotland or Wales. However winning to emulate their superb seventh place achieved at Glasgow 2014 was going to be a tough task against a side which famously upset New Zealand a few days ago.

Northern Ireland had defeated Fiji last October but were wary of their proud tradition which includes being seventh in the world rankings until last year.

It was only 14-13 after the opening period as Northern Ireland let a five-goal lead slip but the gap was widened to eight by half-time.

Northern Ireland's dominance continued as they outscored Fiji 22-9 in the third quarter, giving Rice the luxury of withdrawing dynamic captain Caroline O'Hanlon before the last break.

The entire bench was given their chance to contribute.

Even with five of the starting team now watching from the sidelines, Northern Ireland still edged the last quarter 19-13.

"We really stuck to our gameplan and I was pleased standards didn't drop in spite of making multiple changes and being home and dry on the scoreboard," reflected Rice.

Belfast Telegraph

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