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Welsh Feathers Eye Series Win After First Ever Home Victory Over Uganda


By Graham Thomas

Wales coach Emily Handyside believes her team’s first ever home victory over Uganda indicates the progress being made by Welsh Feathers.

In a stirring performance at Cardiff’s House of Sport, Wales completed only their third victory over the higher world-ranked Ugandans and their first on their own patch.

The 57-45 triumph also avenged the 73-56 defeat to the She Cranes at last year’s World Cup in South Africa.

Wales now have the possibility of a rare series win or even a clean sweep in the three-match series with a Friday night and Saturday clash to follow.

Handyside was pleased with her team’s display as they took a 27-23 half-time lead and then kept the Ugandans at distance every time they threatened to narrow down the margin.

“I felt we were lacking a bit of energy in the first-half, but we really got there in the second,” she said.

“We are pleased with the outcome and there are goals we set ourselves which we achieved. But there are also some goals we set that we know we can get a lot closer to.

“There was a lot going on with new caps and new combinations, and adapting to some new rules. When you take those things into consideration, we have to be pleased.”

One of those new caps was Leah Middleton, the goal keeper who kept a tight rein on the big Ugandan shooters in an impressive display.

Middleton was born in England and raised in Australia, but qualifies for Wales through a Welsh grandfather from Bridgend.

The former Surrey Storm player will be playing for the Cardiff Dragons in the upcoming Netball Super League.

“Leah’s debut was outstanding,” added Handyside. “We are very fortunate that there are talented athletes like her who are eligible and keen to join us and she’s fitted in really well.

“Nia Jones as captain was also really impressive – the leadership, the pressure she puts on, the way she holds the team together and saw us through the sticky patches.

“There’s a lot to be pleased with and a lot to build on.”

Feathers opened up a nine-goal advantage in their third quarter, which Uganda – who finished fifth at the World Cup – whittled back to four, before Wales were able to re-assert their control.

It meant a first victory over Uganda for nine years, since the 2015 Netball World Cup in Australia.

Wales – who are currently ranked ninth in the world – lost two home games to seventh-placed Uganda as recently as October 2022.

Skipper Jones said: “We didn’t really know where we stood with a new cycle after the World Cup, a new coaching team and a host of new player, so we have to be pleased beating a team we lost to by 18 points only a few months ago.

“I am so chuffed and proud that we managed to get over the line against them.

“This win should change our perspective on the whole series. We have a processed focus, with certain measurable goals, but we have now proven to ourselves that this result is well within our sights.

“We are absolutely now eyeing up a series win here.”


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