2010 Pacific Netball Series

L to R: Mona-Lisa Leka (C), Rhoda Kerea, Winnie Mavara, Rayleen Andrew, Lua Rikis (VC), Tiata Baldwin, Maleta Roberts, Raka Nope, Marie Ottio, Yvonne Magutau, Alurigo Opina, Richanda Kassman, Coach: Pole Kassman; Asst Coach: Mike Petrides; Manageress: Salote Doko

The Pepes competed in June 2010 in Raratonga, Cook Is in the 2nd Pacific Netball Series between hosts Cook Is, Samoa and Fiji. The tournament was IFNA sanctioned and was also to be used for the Oceania Regional Qualifiers for the 2011 World Championhips to be held in Singapore in July 2011.  Qualification for the 2011 IFNA World Championships are the host (Singapore), the top 5 placed nations from the 2007 world championships, and then two nations from each of the 5 international netball regions.

In the first match against the Cooks (WR #7) the Pepes were 15-14 up at Qtr time, but after a disastrous 2nd Qtr found themselves down by 10 at half time, 35-25.  After several player changes at half time, the Pepes were at one point in the 3rd Qtr up by 2 (having pulled back 12 goals), but finished the Qtr still down by a margin of 2, 44-42.  Unfortunately the Pepes again dropped their intensity in the last Qtr and finished the game still down 2 for a final score to the Cook Is of 59-57. 

Against the Samoans (WR#8) the Pepes found themselves down by 7 at Q1, 15-8 and were forced to make several changes, including the replacment of Tiata Baldwin due to injury.  With the inclusion of Marie Ottio at GS the Pepes fought their way back into the game to be down by only 2 at half time, 25-23. During the 3rd Qtr the Pepes at one point were up by 5 but finished the Qtr even with Samoa at 39 all.  Disappointingly the frequent circle offsides by the Samoan WD went unpunished by the umpires and had the desired effect of delaying the Pepes quick passing into the goalers.  In the end, the Pepes lost out to the Samoans by 3 goals but had fought valiantly throughout 2nd and 3rd Qtrs to at least get themselves back into the contest.

In the Pepes final Series match against Fiji, the Pepes found themselves down 14-7 at the first qtr, but the injection of 190cm shooter Tiata Baldwin into the game saw the Pepes muscle up and fight back to be only down by 4 at half time (24-20), although throughout the 2nd Qtr, the Pepes were level with Fiji on several occasions.  In the 3rd qtr the Pepes remained down 4 (34-30), although had even managed to lead by 1 at one point.  In the final qtr and with less than 3 mins remaining, the Pepes had a chance to again lock up the scores, but the shot was missed by the Pepes and the Fijians rebounded to goal and then use the next centre pass to take their lead back out to 3.  In the end the Fijians grabbed a couple of late goals and the margin of 5 (47-42) did not truely reflect the closeness of the contest.

The Fijians won the 2010 Pacific Series having also beaten the Cooks by 14 (56-42), and the Samoans by 5 (50-45).  In the other match, the Cook Is lost to Samoa by a margin of 10 (56 -46).  PNG having finished winless was a little cruel, particularly given the closeness of the Pepes' performances.  Following the tournament the IFNA annual rankings update in July 2010, saw Fiji soar to a World Ranking of #5, the Samoans drop to equal 8th and the Cook Is dropped to 10th.  PNG dropped to a ranking of equal 12th with Nthn Ireland (equal points) although Nth Ireland have played 9 more games than PNG in the current ranking period.    


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