Silver Ferns fend off plucky Malawi Queens
Silver Ferns fend off plucky Malawi Queens to clinch second test
27 October, 2013
A strong finish helped the Silver Ferns overcome a plucky Malawi Queens 68-49 in the second New World Netball Series in Napier on Sunday.
The win sealed a 2-0 lead for the Silver Ferns heading into the third and final test in Hamilton on Thursday.
Trailing by 10 going into the last quarter, Malawi were unable to inflict further damage but impressed in their second test efforts with a competitive outing and ability to showcase their aerial and athletic skills.
Showing clever touches on attack where Tactix-bound shooter Mwai Kumenda, well supported by Jessie Mazengera, impressed with her skills in the air, athletic ability and accuracy under the hoop helped keep the visitors within touching distance of the Silver Ferns through the opening exchanges.
Finding their feet on attack where shooter Cathrine Latu played a prominent role, the Silver Ferns timing and pace helped them gain the edge. At the other end, the height advantage of defenders Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit and Casey Kopua paid dividends with turnover ball. A late flurry where centre Katarina Cooper, on debut, showed her strong ball distribution skills, helping propel the Silver Ferns out to a 19-11 lead at the first break.
Both teams produced mixed performances in the second stanza, play ebbing and flowing as each were guilty of producing too many turnovers.
The fifth-ranked Malawi Queens failed to be overawed by their more highly-credentialed opponents, scoring the first three goals on the resumption to stay in the contest.
Kopua continued to be a disruptive force on defence as another strong finish pushed the Silver Ferns out to a 34-22 lead at the main break.
Looking to test drive further combination options, the Silver Ferns switched Joline Henry to centre and introduced Katrina Grant from the bench to wing defence for the third stanza.
The changes coincided with a purple patch for Malawi, the visitors scoring five unanswered goals to cut the deficit to seven for their most productive quarter of the series.
Malawi showed some magical touches with their interplay and ball delivery. Kumenda was a shining light under the Malawi hoop with her strength in gathering the ball and accurate finishing.
The Malawi Queens had the satisfaction of winning the quarter 16-14, their first of the series as the hosts went to the last break with a 48-38 lead.
Defender Leana de Bruin replaced Selby-Rickit for the run home, a confident Malawi continuing to entertain with their aerial and flamboyant style but unable to make further inroads against a more fluent and composed Silver Ferns.
Silver Ferns coach Waimarama
Taumanu introduced a completely different line-up for the
second test, the major talking point being the international
debut of Cooper.
Slotting in at centre, midcourter Cooper, the bolter in the squad, became the 156th Silver Fern and the fourth player to make her debut this year following Courtney Tairi, Shannon Francois and Selby-Rickit.
The only two to retain their spots from the first test, Laura Langman, in her 97th consecutive test, took over the pivot’s role at wing attack while Selby-Rickit backed up her debut of the first test with another opportunity at goal defence. Shooters Latu and Tutaia, midcourter Henry and captain Kopua, at goalkeeper, made their first appearances of the series.
Malawi made two changes from their starting seven of the first test, Mazengera, on debut coming in at goal attack and Melenia Gideon, at wing defence.
Please click here for full test match statistics from tonight's game.