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Tough going

Saturday 9 October 2010 | Published in Regional

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The Cook Islands national netball squad suffered another loss in India against the tall timber of the England side.

The team went into the match after a day’s rest but were caught napping on more than one occasion by England who went on to win 81-33.

But it was by far the local girl’s best performance at the Delhi Commonwealth Games.

The Cooks were hammered hard in the first quarter by England who stole Cook Islands pass-offs and potted every goal to lead 26 goals to the Cook Islands 4.

The Cooks then picked up their game in the second quarter as the English train motored on to extend their lead 42-23 at the half time break.

The English were quicker, slicker and looked more determined then the Cook Islands team but the Cooks never gave up and kept playing with heart.

The fourth and final quarter of the game was the team’s best as replacement keepers Eleanor Crombie and injured Luciana Matenga hustled the English shooters taking excellent intercepts and generally disrupting the English rhythm in the shooting circle.

Crombie had been suffering minor stomach complaints before the game and Luciana Matenga played with a nasty blister under her foot sustained during the team’s first game against New Zealand.

Not that the tough Cookie showed any sign of pains as she played her best game so far in the tournament.

Also having a fantastic game was goal shooter Patricia Te Huna who broke away from her tough defenders and potted goals confidently.

Curly George struggled at goal attack in the first quarter but picked up her game with some wonderful ‘movement’ in the circle as goal shooter.

Captain Ritua Aliivaa had a mixed game although she kept smiling right throughout the game along with centre court players Celeste Brunton and sparks Melissa Pittman.

The team once again proved that they’ve got what it takes to win games but the combinations are still to be fine-tuned.

And it must be fine-tuned today as the Cook Islands prepare to face Pacific sisters Papua New Guinea in a must win match.

The Cook Islands must win their next two games against PNG and South Africa for any chances of maintaining their top 10 ranking or at the very least lessening the blow if they are to drop in the ranking game.

The girls have a lot of work to do in rebuilding their confidence and trust in one another if they are to beat PNG.