Netball: Ferns big win over England

By Dana Johannsen

Maria Tutaia of the Silver Ferns shoots for a goal. Photo / Getty Images
Maria Tutaia of the Silver Ferns shoots for a goal. Photo / Getty Images

Another convincing win, but another long list of work-ons for the Silver Ferns after a patchy display against England in last night's Quad Series match-up in Newcastle.

The New Zealand side once again racked up a massive turnover count on their way to a big win over the understrength English side.

Hammered by 24-goals against the Australia in their opening clash, for the most part the English were much more competitive last night, but were let down by poor start and awful finish.

After a slow start, which saw them trail by 10 early on in the second quarter, England fought their way back to trail by just five goals closing in on the three quarter break.

But they let the Ferns off the hook in the final minutes of the quarter, with a couple of unforced errors allowing the New Zealand side to extend their lead out to eight heading in to the fourth quarter.

The Ferns carried that momentum through to the final quarter, racing away to score a convincing win, but one the New Zealand side still won't be satisfied with.

New Zealand went with the same line-up that started the opening test against South Africa, giving midcourt bolter Bailey Mes another opportunity at wing attack after a shaky debut on Sunday.

Mes was again let down by some weak passing and muddled positional play, but looked to get more comfortable as the match wore on.

Despite an untidy start, the Kiwi side leapt out to a 5-1 lead as England struggled to find a passage in to the shooting circle under the suffocating Ferns defence.

Katrina Grant, a standout for the Ferns in their 36-goal win over South Africa, again started strongly, picking up three intercepts inside the opening 15 minutes, and forcing several more turnovers. She was well supported by Leana de Bruin and Anna Harrison, whose height in the midcourt caused the English all sorts of problems.

But the Ferns failed to capitalise on the wealth of turnover ball coming from their defence end, with some wayward passing and poor option-taking leading to a low-scoring start to the match.

Leading 13-8 at the first break, the Ferns extended their advantage out to 10 early on in the second period as Maria Tutaia stepped up to play a more commanding role in the attack end.

But as the quarter wore on, mistakes began to creep back in to the Ferns game, preventing them from extending that lead. By halftime the New Zealand side had drawn level in the turnover count with the English, with 15 apiece.

The predictable string of changes came at halftime, with Waimarama Taumaunu having the luxury of being able to inject supershooter Irene van Dyk, and star defender Casey Williams off the bench.

Young talent Kayla Cullen also made an appearance after the break, with the converted defender coming on for another run at centre.

Unlike on Sunday night when the changes had immediate impact, this time the new line-up struggled to find their rhythm as England rallied.

The English shooting pairing of Jo Harten and Pamela Cookey came in to their own in the third period, combining for some brilliant touches.

But the England side just as quickly appeared to go off the boil, as a couple of late turnovers saw the Ferns take the momentum in to the final period.

Silver Ferns 61
England 43

Shooting stats

New Zealand
* Cathrine Latu 10/11
* Maria Tutaia 31/32
* Irene van Dyk 20/20

England
* Jo Harten 27/32
* Pamela Cookey 16/18

(Q1 - 13-5 , Q2 - 13-12, Q3 - 15-16, Q4 - 20-10)

- NZ Herald

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