Fast5 Netball World Series Results - Day One
Fast5 Netball World Series Results - Day
Match Report - Fast5 Ferns 38 Jamaican Sunshine Girls 38
It was the longest goal netball shooting legend Irene van Dyk had ever scored - and it turned out to be the turning point in the Fast Ferns' first victory at the Fast5 championship in Auckland tonight.
Irene's three-point surprise in the final second of the third quarter of their game against seven-a-side world champions Australia had the crowd - and the New Zealand team bench - on their feet. There was even more celebration as the Fast Ferns wrapped up the game 31-23, following on from their draw with Jamaica earlier in the evening.
So was van Dyk expecting to score from outside the circle? "No, but I'm loving it!" she enthused. The game, she says, is "fantastic, totally different, unpredictable."
And she promises the Ferns will come up with more surprises in the next two days: "Cartwheels and alley-oops", van Dyk laughed.
Fielding a young and eager side, the Fast5 Diamonds gave the Ferns a run for their money for the first half of the game, but couldn't hold back the New Zealanders in their final quarter power play.
The Ferns have been working on their defence from the centre pass off, and that paid dividends in first quarter.
Defender Anna Harrison was in strong blocking form, keeping the Australian attack to six goals in reply to the Ferns' 11 in the opening stanza.
But it took the Ferns until the last minute of the second quarter to score another goal, under intense pressure from Australian defenders April Letton and Chanel Gomes, while the Diamonds pegged back the deficit at the other end. In fact it was the only goal the Ferns scored in that quarter, but still they clung to a 12-10 lead.
Australia played their power play card in the third quarter, but still couldn't shake off the home side, who wriggled out to a 21-18 advantage thanks to van Dyk's shock three-point buzzer beater. The Ferns bench all jumped to their feet in shock when van Dyk potted the long shot and even the evergreen shooter was in fits of giggles.
Up eight goals through the benefit of their power play, van Dyk had another go in the dying seconds of the game - the ball bouncing off the rim. Coach Wai Taumaunu wasn't surprised: "She is very accurate from far out, you just don't see it often. And she's very judicious when she does it."
The power of the three was no more obvious than in England's clash with South Africa tonight. When the English found themselves trailing 26-23 at three-quarter time, shooters Jo Harten and Rachel Dunn decided they had nothing to lose but to let the ball go. It rained three pointers in the final six minutes, with all six of their goals shot outside the blue circle.
The Proteas, on the other hand, could only add one goal in that quarter, and the English stormed to a 41-27 victory.
Harten was in a buoyant mood after her rapid shooting spree."Rachel Dunn gave me confidence by shooting the first one and from there we built a great combo," she said.
"It's quite tactical when you know you're not winning in the third quarter, you have to let the threes go. So it was good work."
A six-point stunner in the last second gave Jamaica a thrilling 32-31 victory over the Malawi Queens, who came fresh from their 18-goal win over Australia.
Malawi seemed to have the measure of the Sunshine Girls in the final quarter, restricting their scoring power in the Jamaicans' power play. But all they needed was one critical shot from Jhanielle Fowler in the last seconds to secure their first win in three games and boost their reputation as real threats in this tournament.
Match Report - Fast5 Ferns 38 Jamaican Sunshine Girls 38
The Sunshine Girls have delivered the first surprise of the Fast5 championship holding hometown favourites, the Fast Ferns, to a 38-38 draw.
The Jamaicans showed no sign of fatigue in their second game in 90 minutes, with their unorthodox, energetic style keeping the New Zealanders on their toes.
Fast Ferns shooter Maria Tutaia said it wasn't a shock to find themselves equal with the Jamaicans at the end of 24 minutes. "We know in this competition it's anyone's ball game. With the two and three pointers, you can be up 10 goals and still lose," she says.
"The Jamaicans didn't give an inch. Although they're not very structured, they know how to get the ball down court fast."
The Fast Ferns took to the court in their first game of the tournament with enthusiasm, and rookie Fern Bailey Mes relished her opportunity to shoot adding a string of two-point shots to the home side's tally. The Ferns led 7-5 at the first quarter.
Just before halftime, a Harrison Hoist - with Anna Harrison lifted by Leana de Bruin - stopped a certain three pointer from Jamaican goal attack Anna Kay Griffiths, and the Fast Ferns kept their lead 16-11 at the break.
Unlike their first game (a 34-25 loss to South Africa) the Sunshine Girls made great use of their power play in the third quarter to take the lead 27-26. The Fast Ferns left their power play until the final quarter, bringing Irene van Dyk on at goal shoot, but couldn't make the most of the bonus round.
"It was always our strategy from the get-go to have our power play in the last quarter, but for me, I didn't make the most of the opportunity," Tutaia said.
The Australians also rued not making more of their power play in their opening contest against England, going down 29-27. The Fast5 Diamonds added just four points in the second quarter, while the English - led strongly by captain and goal defence Eboni Beckford-Chambers - strode ahead in their power play third quarter.