The She Cranes have completed their journey in the Netball World Cup 2015 in 8th place after a hard-fought encounter against Wales.
By Joseph Kizza
The She Cranes have completed their journey in the Netball World Cup 2015 in 8th place after a hard-fought encounter against Wales on Sunday.
The Ugandan side, playing alongside 15 other teams, put up a spirited battle but in the end were subdued 64-41 by the Welsh side on the last day of the 10-day tournament eventually won by hosts Australia.
Australia, ranked number one, retained their title after beating archrivals New Zealand by a margin of three goals (58-55) in an enthralling final on Sunday at the Allphones Arena.
Earlier, England won bronze (third place) after overcoming Jamaica (fourth place) 66-44.
South Africa claimed the fifth spot after edging fellow African side Malawi 48-46, who finished in sixth place as a result.
Overall, Uganda's lanky captain Peace Proscovia was the sixth best shooter of this tournament with 243 goals. Malawi's Mwayi Kumwenda was unmatched, topping the list with 321 goals while South Africa's Lenize Potgieter ranked second with 298 goals.
After beating New Zealand on Sunday, Australia has now won the Netball World Cup 11 times
In their final game against Wales, the She Cranes skipper had wonderful execution under the posts, managing to dip 31 goals from 34 attempts.
In the opening quarter, it was two-way traffic, as had been in their earlier duel in the preliminary round that had Wales inflict the first of a series of looming defeats for the Ugandan team.
In the latest contest, the first quarter was all Chelsea Lewis (10/10) versus Peace Proscovia (9/9). However, the Welsh side took it with a four-goal advantage.
The second quarter however saw Uganda's opponents let rip: Lewis buried 10 of her 11 attempts while her teammate Georgia Rowe scored eight goals. Over to the opposite end of the court, and it was Proscovia still taking the goal-scoring burden on her shoulders -- she scored eight from nine attempts -- while goal attack Racheal Nanyonga endured a subdued diplay under the posts, managing to bury one from as many tries.
Rampant Wales went for half-time break leading 33-20.
In an exhilarating battle for seventh and eighth spot, the She Cranes returned after restart a much renewed side, set on coming back into the game.
And they did, thanks to captain Proscovia's will, strength and determination. The formidable goal shooter did not back down and marshalled her side to a 15-11 third-quarter win over Wales to reduce the deficit.
But everything spiralled out of control for the world number 14 side in the final quarter, crumbling to a massive 20-6 defeat in the last 15 minutes. By this time, there appeared no means of a possible comeback from the tiring She Cranes who eventually settled for the 8th spot.
The She Cranes, having last taken part in the World Cup 36 years ago before the latest edition, will return home with their heads high after competing against the world’s best. Back in 1979 in Trinidad & Tobago, Uganda finished 13th, and moving five places up after a nearly four-decade-long absence is a huge achievement for the current team.
They made their intentions abundantly clear from the off by thrashing fellow African side Zambia in Pool D of the preliminary stage. A second successive victory over seventh-placed Fiji presented the She Cranes with a wonderful opportunity to win the group, but defeat to Wales in their final round one game opened a can of worms.
That defeat would be the first of many to come, as Uganda went on to lose three of their next games in a tough qualification round Pool E that had New Zealand, Jamaica and Malawi.
Another 50-40 defeat by South Africa in the playoffs, followed by Sunday's placing game duel with Wales, wrapped up the script for the She Cranes who have won the hearts of many at home, in Sydney and beyond, and will return to Kampala deserving full acclaim.
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