Photo / Sky Sport
Silver Ferns 54
England Roses 47
The Silver Ferns have come back to beat the English Roses and clinch the netball series in the second test in Hamilton on Friday.
Down by two at halftime, a strong second-half performance saw the Silver Ferns claim a 54-47 win. The result gives the Silver Ferns a series win, with a game in hand.
Coming off a 13-goal victory in the first test on Wednesday, the Silver Ferns were stifled by the Roses in the first half of this match and found themselves trailing the visitors by two at halftime.
But the New Zealand side pulled out a revitalised performance in the third quarter and held out the determined English in the final spell.
Silver Ferns coach Dame Noeline Taurua stuck with her starting seven from the first test but demanded a stronger start from them in this second clash. The Roses, however, had other ideas.
Intense defence from the English from the start forced the Silver Ferns to labour to put early points on the board. The visitors found less resistance working the ball through court, and with the Roses' goal shoot Eleanor Cardwell’s eye in immediately, England took a two-goal lead.
The Silver Ferns continued to struggle to find their connections through the middle of the court with any space smartly shut down by the Roses, who ferociously defended every New Zealand pass.
New Zealand captain Ameliaranne Ekenasio took on extra work to open up space, force the ball into the shooting circle and put the ball through the hoop. With wing defence Sam Winders hustling in the defensive third, the Silver Ferns clawed back and snatched the lead just before the end of the quarter, to be 14-12 up at the first break.
England made two key changes going into the second spell, bringing Vicki Oyesola on at goal defence to try to quieten Ekenasio and George Fisher at goal shoot. Fisher, who will play in New Zealand next year for the Southern Steel, was quick and shrewd around the circle, making herself available for long seeking passes from Guthrie and Laura Malcolm, the match MVP, who also led by example.
The Silver Ferns attempted to start hungrier but were quickly stymied by the swarming defence of the Roses.
Looking for a way through, New Zealand made a raft of changes bringing Karin Burger on – first at goal defence, then switching to wing defence - and Claire Kersten introduced at centre.
Having dominated the second quarter 13-9, England led 25-23 at halftime.
Told by Taurua to return to the basics, the Silver Ferns responded immediately in the third quarter.
Whitney Souness replaced Gina Crampton at wing attack, and together with Kersten and Burger, revved up the Silver Ferns attack. The Ferns’ passing was sharper and more decisive, they opened up space and their movement was more purposeful.
In a complete turnaround, New Zealand scored the first six goals of the quarter before England even added to their halftime score, a feat that took them five minutes to do. Sulu Fitzpatrick and Jane Watson finally came into their own in the spell, flummoxing the English shooters.
In an unfortunate moment, England’s co-captain Serena Guthrie, playing in her 100th test match, got caught up in a tangle, rolling her ankle and retiring to the sideline. Rather than fall off, the English side briefly rebounded and closed back to within four.
But Silver Fern goal shoot Maia Wilson’s confidence was growing, and she was comfortable to turn and shoot from anywhere in the circle, ending the match with an outstanding 38 from 41 attempts at 93 per cent.
Scoring twice as many goals as their Roses rivals in the third quarter (16-8), the Silver Ferns went into the final spell ahead 39-33.
England continued to switch around their shooting combinations and in response the Ferns brought Kelly Jury on at goal keep for her first court-time in the series. She made an impact straight away claiming two intercepts.
The Roses did not wilt in the last 15 minutes, scoring almost goal for goal with the Ferns but New Zealand’s advantage from the third spell was telling in the final result, a seven-goal victory.
Official Results and Stats
Silver Ferns: 54
England Roses: 47
Shooting Stats - Silver Ferns:
Maia Wilson 38/41 (93%)
Ameliaranne Ekenasio 16/18 (89%)
Shooting Stats - England Roses:
Eleanor Cardwell 19/21 (91%)
George Fisher 17/17 (100%)
Kadeen Corbin 0/1 (0%)
MVP: Laura Malcolm, English Roses