Silver Ferns Edged By England At Netball Quad Series
The Silver Ferns hopes of contesting the final of the Netball Quad Series were dashed when they were beaten 49-46 by a well-drilled England Roses in London on Monday.
The experienced Roses recovered from a slow start to grab the upper-hand over the Silver Ferns, who made a promising start but couldn’t contain the relentless home side who rode the wave of a concerted second quarter fightback.
Down three at the last turn, the Silver Ferns chances weren’t helped when England made a 5-0 start to the final term but to their credit fought back gamely to draw the final 15 minutes, however, ultimately left unable to produce the final surge to get them across the line.
It was a much-improved performance from the new-look Silver Ferns following their 14-goal loss to Australia in the opening game but there were positive outcomes that will continue to show benefit with more time together.
The Silver Ferns kept a stable running seven until late in the third quarter with all 12 eventually getting time when Grace Nweke, Phoenix Karaka and Sulu Fitzpatrick were injected during the fourth quarter.
“It was much more solid today in regard to
our overall strategy,” Silver Ferns coach Dame Noeline
Taurua said afterwards.
“It was definitely an improvement from yesterday but we, once again, went away from our structures and as a group, there’s still learnings for us there, particularly when it comes to weathering the storm.
“We’ve got South Africa next (Wednesday, 6.30am NZ time) and again, it’s about how we can improve. We can take some positives out of this game and look to be better next time.”
The Silver Ferns, once again, shuffled their playing options with experienced midcourt duo Claire Kersten (centre) and captain Gina Crampton getting the midcourt start against England. Kayla Johnson and the rangy Kelly Jury made up the in-circle defensive pairing, supported by Karin Burger on the wing.
It was neck and neck through the opening exchanges, the Silver Ferns building in confidence with a much-improved outing on attack. Kersten and Crampton, in her 50th Test, provided the thrust and accuracy while the young shooting combination of Maia Wilson and Tiana Metuarau made a classy start.
Wilson’s poise and accuracy combined with more defensive turnovers gave the Silver Ferns the early impetus, constant pressure keeping England under the pump as the visitors’ hit the first break well placed when leading 16-10.
The Silver Ferns kept the same line-up intact on the resumption, but England proved far from done.
With Eboni Usoro-Brown on for Geva Mentor at goalkeeper and the inspired injection of Jade Clarke at centre quickly changed England’s fortunes.
Clarke, England’s most capped player, provided the spark while shooters George Fisher and Helen Housby found their groove in telling fashion under the hoop. A seven-goal unanswered streak eroded the Silver Ferns handy lead as England rebounded strongly to leave the scores all level at 25 apiece at the main break.
Wilson was a tower of strength under the Silver Ferns hoop, the most prolific of all shooters on show with 22 from 24 in the first half.
The third stanza proved a real arm-wrestle, the hosts just keeping their noses in front with errors at crucial times ensuring the Silver Ferns were unable to breach a constant two-goal deficit.
Veterans Clarke and captain Serena Guthrie were a constant thorn for the Silver Ferns, England’s attacking momentum showing plenty of enterprise while their defenders kept the New Zealanders in catch-up mode.
Samantha Winders took over from Kersten late in the piece, England breaking the goal-for-goal tussle when taking a crucial 39-36 lead into the last break but with the game still wide open.
OFFICIAL RESULT AND STATS:
Shooting Stats -
Maia Wilson 32/36 (89%)
Grace Nweke 9/14 (64%)
Tiana Metuarau 4/5 (80%)
Shooting Stats -
George Fisher 25/28 (89%)
Helen Housby 24/25 (96%)