THE Cook Islands will go for gold in netball at the 2019 Pacific Games, after defeating Papua New Guinea in the semi-final match held at the MultiSport Complex in Faleata, Samoa last night.
It has been a successful tournament so far for the team, who will head into tonight’s gold medal final undefeated.
The Black Pearls beat Tokelau 67-20 in their opening match of the tournament, before taking on Norfolk Island in their second game. The Cook Islanders proved too classy for the Norfolk Islanders, beating them 91-16.
The first real test for the team came in the form of host nation Samoa on Tuesday night. However, the team came out firing, with some sharp shooting from Alanna Smith seeing the team gain a 17-13 lead by the end of the first quarter. The Pearls extended their lead to eight goals by the end of the second quarter, heading into the break with a 33-25 lead.
However, the Samoans fought back in the second half, with both teams scoring 24 goals in the third quarter.
The host nation managed to outscore the Cook Islanders in the fourth quarter, but it proved too little too late as the Pearls held strong to win the close affair 59-53.
Against Papua New Guinea, the Cook Islanders started the game off strong, gaining a quick 5-0 lead. They held strong over the first quarter, to lead 19-8 heading into the first break.
It was one way traffic in the second quarter, with the Cook Islands jumping out to 37-16 lead by halftime.
The pace of the Cook Islands was too much for the Papua New Guineans, who struggled to get the ball past the stern defence. By the end of the third, the Cook Islands led the match 44-22. The fourth quarter was much the same, the Cook Islands coming away 58-31 winners and booking themselves a spot in the grand finale.
The team will take on either Samoa or Tonga in the final. The match between the two teams was underway when this edition went to print last night.