Silver Ferns outclass South Africa in Tauranga
Aiming for improvement, the Silver Ferns delivered in style when posting a dominant 61-37 win in their Netball Quad Series clash against the SPAR Proteas in Tauranga on Tuesday.
Rebounding from their first-up loss to the England Roses on Saturday, the Silver Ferns produced a more efficient and accurate outing second time around to hand new coach Noeline Taurua her first win in the role.
The match also heralded the start of exciting young shooter Aliyah Dunn’s international career, the 18-year-old making her debut in the fourth quarter to become Silver Fern #172.
It was an all-round improved effort from the Silver Ferns, highlighted, in particular, by a strong shooting return where Maria Folau led the way with 35 goals from 37 attempts. Winning both the opening and closing quarters 17-7 sealed a comprehensive outing.
The Silver Ferns started with Te Paea Selby-Rickit at goal shoot while captain Laura Langman assumed the centre’s bib and Michaela Sokolich-Beatson slotted in at wing defence in a reshuffled midcourt. The Proteas retained their starting seven from the previous match against Australia.
The Silver Ferns responded in the best possible fashion to their first outing loss with a decisive start to stun the Proteas from the outset. After conceding the first goal of the match, the home side scored the next 11 in succession with an impressive effort across all areas of the court.
The shooters found their scoring form with consistent accuracy on the back of a more fluent attack line while the defensive combination of Katrina Grant and Jane Watson kept dangerous Proteas shooters Maryka Holtzhausen and Lenize Potgieter quiet.
In rampant mode, it was the home team who completed a dominant first quarter to lead 17-7.
The Proteas tightened their defensive effort and gained more ball on attack but couldn’t stem the Silver Ferns grip on the match during the second term. Wing attack Gina Crampton had a busy game in the midcourt, firing in some precise feeds to her shooters in tandem with Langman.
The tall figure of Ine-Mari Venter replaced Holtzhausen late in the quarter, enhancing the Proteas scoring opportunities but the Silver Ferns maintained their healthy advantage when leading 30-19 at the main break.
Samantha Sinclair was introduced at centre for the Silver Ferns on the resumption with Langman moving to wing defence, the home side maintaining their hold on proceedings with another strong quarter.
Crampton continued her influence on the game, adding a couple of intercepts for good measure to go with her fine all-round contribution on attack while Grant was equally effective in picking off tips and rebounds at the defensive end.
Potgieter provided great accuracy under the hoop for the Proteas but lacked the same service as her opponents while a heavy penalty count did not help the visitors cause. Building throughout it was the Silver Ferns who extended their margin to a 44-30 lead at the final turn.
The Silver Ferns will complete their Quad Series against Australia in Melbourne on Sunday.
Champion Data Match Centre
Stats - Silver Ferns:
Maria Folau 35/37 (94%)
Te Paea Selby-Rickit 17/22 (77%)
Aliyah Dunn 9/12 (75%)
Shooting Stats - South Africa:
Lenize Potgieter 28/31 (90%)
Ine-Mari Venter 5/7 (71%)
Danelle Lochner 2/4 (50%)
Maryka Holtzhausen 2/7 (29%)
MVP: Gina Crampton (Silver Ferns)
Netball Quad Series matches will be broadcast LIVE in New Zealand on SKY Sport.