Netball: Aitken's team keep their rhythm on semifinal path

Silver Ferns 97
Barbados 22

Irene van Dyk. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Irene van Dyk. Photo / Brett Phibbs

The New Zealand netball team enter the Commonwealth Games semifinals with a spring in their step after romping past Barbados at New Delhi last night.

The Silver Ferns' 97-22 success over Barbados was never in doubt as they completed pool play with an unbeaten record.

The 2006 gold medallists meet another Caribbean nation, Jamaica, in the semifinals tomorrow.

The New Zealanders dominated all facets after starting with their strongest possible seven at Thyagaraj Sports Complex. They rushed out to lead 25-6 by the end of the first quarter and an unassailable 48-13 advantage at halftime gave coach Ruth Aitken the opportunity to tinker with her lineup.

Goal attack Maria Tutaia, playing her 50th international at just 23, was replaced by Grace Rasmussen at the main break but the change made no difference as the Silver Ferns held Barbados to a paltry three goals in the third quarter while adding another 26 themselves.

Among other changes, goal shoot Daneka Wipiiti was introduced for veteran Irene van Dyk for the final quarter, again with no discernible change to the flow of the New Zealanders.

It completed a drama-free run through pool play for the Silver Ferns, who were pushed hard before beating England 47-41 but otherwise had things all their own way against Papua New Guinea, Cook Islands and South Africa.

- NZPA

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