10 Jul 2017

Sport: Fiji netballers impress as illness bugs Cook Islands

12:51 pm on 10 July 2017

Fiji are a step closer to the knockout rounds after their second straight win at the Netball World Youth Cup in Botswana.

The Baby Pearls thrashed Trinidad and Tobago 55-28 in their tournament opener and backed it up with a comprehensive 48-35 victory over Wales on Monday at the UB Indoor Sports Arena.

Meanwhile the Cook Islands lost their second match against hosts Botswana as they continue to be hampered by a gastro bug that swept through the squad on their arrival in Gaborone.

The Baby Black Pearls had let a five goal advantage slip in a 43-41 defeat by Jamaica at the weekend and led briefly this morning before the home side ran out 51-41 winners in front of a vocal home crowd.

The Cook Islands were pipped 43-41 by Jamaica.

The Cook Islands squad pushed Jamaica close despite suffering from a gastro bug. Photo: Facebook / Netball Cook Islands

Head coach John Glassie said nine of their 12 players have been hit with the bug, which has been lingering for more than a week.

He said the team have moved accommodation in recent days, which has helped, and are monitoring closely what food the players are eating.

"It's still a bit there, a few of the players are still suffering from it but we've been trying to deal with it," he said.

"We ran out of medication after like four days so we've been going to the event doctors getting more medication every couple of days.

"So the girls are getting better but obviously not being able to hold your food down and that sort of thing does play a part in preparation so that's why these physical games are taking such a toll out of the players."

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Photo: Netball World Youth Cup

While his team was far from 100 percent, John Glassie acknowledged the role played by the raucous home fans, who helped inspire their team to victory.

"With Botswana the major factor there would have been crowd and after seeing briefly the live footage it's hard to comprehend how loud the crowd actually is.

"Just being able to talk to the players and that sort of thing - we're trying to yell out during the breaks - and even talking to my assistant coach next to me we had to yell at each other because it was deafening."

"They had a great support from their home-based crowd and it really did make a difference. The girls said it was very hard to concentrate it was so loud, it was deafening at some stages."

"Botswana, they're actually used to that sort of cheering and that loud vocal support whereas our crowd wouldn't have played in anything quite as hostile or even half as loud as that - something we tried to plan for but it's very hard to adjust to that sort of thing."

Meanwhile Samoa were thrashed 85-33 by defending champions New Zealand in their first match and Australia produced the most lopsided result to date, thumping Singapore 119-12.