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Silver Ferns open world champs with big win

 Silver Ferns open world champs campaign with big win

Power, pace and finishing were all on show as the Silver Ferns cruised to an 85-26 win over Malawi in the opening match of the New World Netball World Championships at The Trusts Stadium, in Auckland tonight.

Months of preparation were put to the test as the Silver Ferns took the first steps towards securing back-to-back world titles for the first time at the week-long tournament.

The Silver Ferns were quick to show their superiority in all departments as they rattled in the first six goals of the match.

On the back of their superior height and physical presence, the Silver Ferns marched on for convincing quarter leads of 23-5, 45-10 and 63-19.

The tall figure of goalshoot Irene van Dyk, who towered over her defensive opposites Esther Nkhoma and Caroline Mtukule, proved a readily available target for the Silver Ferns.

Appearing in her fourth world championship, the world’s most capped netballer was a pivotal figure in the match with her strong positional game and accuracy resulting in the perfect game of 42 shots from 42 attempts for the three quarters she played.

The unorthodox Malawians struggled for options, occasionally threading the ball through court for a warmly-received goal here and there but mostly it was a battle of epic proportions.

Strong defence by the Silver Ferns caused all sorts of problems for Malawai with Sheryl Scanlan and Casey Williams particularly effective.

With her participation in doubt until this week, centre Laura Langman made a strong return to match play when named in the Silver Ferns starting seven for the tournament opener tonight.

The livewire midcourter showed no signs of discomfort from the foot injury that has confined her to rehabilitation mode for the past month, warming to her task the further the match progressed.

``The foot’s great and I’m feeling really good so I’m hoping to push on for the rest of the week,’’ Langman said.

``I just need to work on my finesse and finishing off with my feeding but it was good to get a whole game under my belt.’’

Coach Ruth Aitken had the luxury of playing 11 of her 12-strong team tonight.


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