Netball: Silver Ferns secure final spot

Temepara George of the Silver Ferns. Photo / Getty Images
Temepara George of the Silver Ferns. Photo / Getty Images

New Delhi - As if preordained in netball heaven, the Silver Ferns are to defend their Commonwealth Games title against world champions Australia.

New Zealand beat Jamaica 59-43 in the semifinals in New Delhi today, joining Australia who came from behind to ease past a combative England 51-45.

And so Thursday will see a rematch of every Games netball final since the sport joined in 1998.

Australia won in 1998 and 2002, while New Zealand took sweet and memorable revenge in Melbourne four years ago.

Jamaica troubled the Silver Ferns early as shooter Romelda Aiken was fed a series of high balls from the midcourter, pulled them in, and never missed a shot.

With the New Zealand attack missing twice, the match was locked up 17-17 at quarter time.

Coach Ruth Aitken took off goalkeeper Anna Scarlett at the end of the quarter, sent captain Casey Williams back to take care of Aiken, and gave the defensive hunting job at golf defence to Leana de Bruin.

It was a move that cut the number of Jamaican goals in half, setting up a 32-25 halftime lead and putting New Zealand on their way to a fourth consecutive final.

Australia looked vulnerable as England looked like pulling off the upset until stalling on the charge in thesecond half.

- NZPA

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