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Defensive effort lifts Silver Ferns to victory

Defensive effort lifts Silver Ferns to victory

A stand-out defensive performance has seen the Silver Ferns net a timely win over the Sunshine Girls as their build-up to the Commonwealth Games continues.

The Ferns won the test 52-46 and the two sides won’t have the opportunity to meet again until the Games in Glasgow in July.

They went into this morning’s Tri-Series test in London without captain and goal defence Casey Kopua but stood up against Jamaica’s strike weapon Jhaniele Fowler.

The Ferns were also forced to hold their nerve in the fourth quarter as Jamaica came within three goals, but their resolute defence ensured they came away with an important victory in their Games’ campaign.

Getting the ball to Fowler was pivotal for the Sunshine Girls and when they found their target, mid-way through the first quarter, levelled the scores to 6-6.

But the Ferns’ did their defensive job through court in the opening quarter, keeping Jamaica’s attackers off the circle edge and restricting Fowler’s possession.

Katrina Grant and Leana de Bruin proved a rock at the back for the Ferns while the work of Joline Henry and Laura Langman on the outside forced Jamaica into errors.

A 14-9 lead at the first break was maintained in the second quarter as the defensive pressure continued but the Ferns were still searching for some good rhythm on attack.

Patience was needed from the frontline and both Laura Langman, at centre, and wing Camilla Lees worked the ball around until space opened up in the shooting circle.

The Ferns led 24-18 at half-time and coach Waimarama Taumaunu went for a complete new frontline with Cathrine Latu and Jodi Brown coming into the shooting circle and Shannon Francois to wing attack.

For Latu, it was her first time as a Silver Fern to play against Jamaica and the goal shooter started well holding good space in the circle and finishing well.

They edged out to an eight-goal lead but a determined Jamaican side hauled the Ferns in with 15 minutes to play.

An injury to Jamaican goal keeper Sasha-Gay Lynch did little to stop a surge from the Sunshine Girls mid-way through the fourth quarter as the gap closed to three goals.

But a timely intercept from goal defence Grant lifted the Ferns again late in the game as their buffer blew out eight goals.

The Silver Ferns now play England in London on Tuesday morning.

Quarter scores: 14-9, 24-18, 38-32, 52-46.

Silver Ferns: Irene van Dyk GS, Maria Tutaia GA, Millie Lees WA, Laura Langman C, Joline Henry WD, Katrina Grant GD, Leana de Bruin GK. Q3: Cathrine Latu GS, Jodi Brown GA, Shannon Francois WA.

Jamaica: Jhaniele Fowler GS, Thristina Harwood GA, Nadine Bryan WA, Paula Thompson C, Vangella Williams WD, Malysha Kelly GD, Sasha-Gay Lynch GK. Q2: Shanice Beckford GA. Stacian Facey GK (injury).

-Ends-

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