Mary Carson was carried off with an ankle injury as Northern Ireland’s Under 21s got their World Youth Netball Championship campaign off to a winning start.
The emerging emeralds predictably beat minnows Malta 68-21 at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena, though the routine victory came at a cost in the form of Carson’s injury.
The Belfast Ladies prospect didn’t start on Thursday, with Newry dynamo Mary Adegbamiye getting the nod in the centre of the court, though it isn’t clear whether Jackie Portis considered this her strongest seven.
Although it is important to give the first choice line-up time together to gel, Portis could be keeping her powder dry ahead of Monday’s crunch clash with Trinidad and Tobago.
Northern Ireland must upset the Caribbean crew to emulate the achievements of their predecessors in making the top eight of this tournament so Portis may mix and match against New Zealand tomorrow night.
It will be a damage limitation and learning exercise against the group favourites, with what is effectively Northern Ireland’s biggest game comon Thursday the young greens took time to settle against a spirited Malta challenge before easing away to a 14-7 lead by the end of the first quarter and after that the gap grew inexorably.
Malta were busy in collecting the scraps but couldn’t effectively feed off them and Northern Ireland’s more experienced players picked them off in coasting to a convincing victory.