Laura Langman celebrates milestone with win
21 January 2014
Outstanding Silver Ferns centre Laura Langman celebrated her 100th consecutive test match with a hard fought victory over England.
The Silver Ferns had to come from behind to beat England 49-32 to take the Tri-Series and mark Langman’s remarkable achievement in style.
The stand-in captain admitted it was a “weird” feeling to have reached 100 games for New Zealand – just the third player to so behind Lesley Rumball (110 test caps) and Irene van Dyk (145 test caps) – and pulled out her trademark drives, defence and confidence on attack to help the Silver Ferns to a gutsy win over England.
“The scoreline certainly didn’t reflect what we were feeling out there,” Langman said of the tough match. “It’s really weird, I don’t know what 100 games means but I admit I did get a bit emotional during the (national) anthem.”
It was the “trifecta” for the classy centre who has not missed a test since her debut in 2005 which was also against England. She marked her 50th cap against the same side and now her 100th test with yet another win over the English side. Her clash with England centre Serena Guthrie proved a highlight of the test with both players battling for supremacy in the mid-court.
Silver Ferns coach Waimarama Taumaunu continued to look at combinations as the clock counts down to July’s Commonwealth Games with Cathrine Latu and Jodi Brown starting in the forward line alongside Millie Lees at wing attack and Langman at centre.
But it was England which started the stronger of the two teams with their attack unit firing and their defence line picking up plenty of ball.
Shooter Jo Harten, who has played two seasons in the ANZ Championship, was the main target in the frontline and found good space with her drive and deft movement in the circle.
England led 13-9 and looked like opening up a sizeable buffer after the break but it was the Silver Ferns who found their rhythm mid-way through the spell to draw level to win the quarter 14-7.
The turnaround was sparked by the defensive effort but a change in tactics on attack ensured any possession won was converted at the other end of the court.
The English defence were left in two minds as Latu opted to drive out of the shooting circle opening up room for Brown giving more options for the attackers as the Ferns went into the main break with a 23-20 lead.
England made two mid-court changes going into the third quarter but it was the Ferns who dominated the opening minutes.
An injury break to England, with the score 29-22 in favour of the Ferns, saw the hosts make further changes on defence with Geva Mentor being replaced at goal keeper as the scoreline started to blow out.
They struggled to find the answers to combat a Silver Ferns side growing in confidence and opted to pull Harten off court in favour of Kadeen Corbin with four minutes left in the quarter and 10 goals the difference.
England netted just four goals in the final 15 minutes of play as the Ferns went from strength to strength.
Taumaunu made no changes to her starting seven, rewarding the players for their hard work early on in setting up the victory, although an injury to Leana de Bruin saw Phoenix Karaka come on at goal keeper with just 30 seconds to play.
Quarter scores: 9-13, 23-20, 39-28, 49-32.
Silver Ferns: Cathrine Latu, Jodi Brown, Millie Lees, Laura Langman, Joline Henry, Katrina Grant, Leana de Bruin.
England: Jo Harten, Pamela Cookey, Sasha Corbin, Serena Guthrie, Jade Clarke, Eboni Beckford-Chambers, Geva Mentor. Q3: Stacey Francis WD, Laura Malcolm WA.