UAE Falcons get European Open Challenge netball title defence up and running with two wins

National team see off Malta and Israel and next meet Republic of Ireland in a top-of-the-table clash in Group B

UAE Falcons captain Carly Lewis in action in their 70-34 win over Malta in the European Open Challenge in Isle of Man on Thursday, May 12, 2020. Photo: Vannin Photos
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The UAE Falcons made a bright start to their defence of the European Open Challenge title with comfortable victories over Malta and Israel.

A 70-34 win over the Maltese was followed by an even more impressive victory over Israel 85-24 in the late game to see the Falcons top Group B on the opening day at the National Sports Centre in Isle of Man.

“The technical staff were very pleased with the game one performance and managing to get all 12 players to take the court, including four new internationally capped players of which two had made U17 debuts earlier this year,” Susanne Skelding, manager of UAE Netball, told The National.

“The team had set themselves a tough challenge of getting 90 per cent of centre passes to goal, which they achieved in the first half of the game with a centre pass to goal average of 91 per cent.

“In the first quarter, the team turned over 12 balls and managed to capitalise and score from every one of them.”

The Falcons produced another full performance against Israel to round off the first day’s play on a high.

“Three out of the four quarters of play saw 100 per cent centre pass to goal, and 92 per cent of our turnover were taken to goal,” Skelding added.

“The coaching staff was were really pleased that the team, despite a shaky start, were able to pull out a variety of combinations to take 85 goals in the game. This sets the team up well for the remainder of the weekend.”

The Falcons meet Republic of Ireland in a top-of-the-table clash on Friday. They Irish beat Israel 85-15 and Malta 58-21.

Updated: May 13, 2022, 7:33 AM