Netball World Cup 2019: Holders Australia hammer Northern Ireland in opener
|2019 Netball World Cup on the BBC|
|Venue: Liverpool Arena Dates: 12-21 July|
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Australia started their defence of the Netball World Cup with an 88-24 rout of Northern Ireland at Liverpool Arena.
The champions and number one ranked team raced into a 24-7 lead at the end of the first quarter to set the pattern of a one-sided game.
Towering captain Caitlin Bassett was dominant in attack while the Diamonds defence also impressed.
NI lost captain Caroline O'Hanlon to injury while their shooting accuracy was well below that of Australia.
"There was an onslaught of relentless pressure from start to finish from Australia, and we were in survival mode from the very first second," Northern Ireland coach Dan Ryan told BBC Sport.
"It was a great experience for the girls to get that exposure about what it's like to pay against the Diamonds.
"They're professional athletes, our guys are amateurs so they were certainly overwhelmed at times but my expectation is that they learnt a lot and they'll take one or two things out of it to use in the rest of the tournament."
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Ryan confirmed that centre O'Hanlon is OK but she will be assessed after her collision with Jamie-Lee Price.
Australia mid-courter Kelsey Browne was delighted after making her World Cup debut in Friday's opener.
"It's super exciting here, the atmosphere is amazing. Well done Liverpool! It's great to get out there and get the win," she said.
"There were a few nerves and I'm excited to be at major tournament. We're excited to have it under way.
"We wanted to go out and run through our structures. I think the best thing is we've got 12 players and hundreds of combinations.
"We've got massive depth so who knows what is to come in the next few days."
Bassett bosses it
The Diamonds had won all five of the previous World Cup meetings between the two sides and from the off, their 100% record never looked in any danger.
Bassett converted all 18 of her opportunities in the first quarter to give the Diamonds a commanding advantage over their eighth-ranked opponents.
At the halfway mark there was a 30-goal gap between the sides, with the score standing at 45-15 to the holders.
Northern Ireland notched three times in the third quarter, but fell further behind as Australia increased their lead to 67-19.
Australia already had the two points wrapped up prior to the fourth and final period, but still had time to convert another 21 times as they eased towards the final whistle.
Northern Ireland will look to get their first points of the tournament in Saturday's fixture against Sri Lanka.
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