Michael Burgess is a sports writer for the Herald on Sunday.

Netball: Fast5 Ferns on a roll

Irene van Dyk takes a pass in the match between New Zealand and Malawi. Photo / Getty Images
Irene van Dyk takes a pass in the match between New Zealand and Malawi. Photo / Getty Images

The Fast5 Ferns topped off a perfect day with a hard fought 47-31 win over defending champions England at the World Netball series.

The result means that New Zealand, with four wins and one draw, were top qualifier for Sunday's semi finals and will meet fourth placed Jamaica. England will face the Proteas from South Africa in the other semi-final.

England, who were the only team with a 100 per cent record after the first day, were expected to provide tough opposition and duly delivered.

The Ferns led 13-10 after the first quarter, 18-14 at half-time but trailed 28-27 after a sensational third quarter where Jo Harten shot two six pointers (England had the power play), including one right on the buzzer. The home used their power play in the final quarter and that extra advantage was enough to ensure the victory, as they outscored their opponents 20 points to three in that six minute stretch.

On the evidence so far, the Ferns will start as favourites tomorrow but are taking nothing for granted.

"We are taking it game by game because these matches are really unpredictable", said captain Laura Langman. "Things can change in the second half, especially with power plays, so we don't count our chickens before they hatch. You don't really look at the score you just stick to your guns and get on with it. England are especially dangerous; they have grasped the game really well and their three point shooters are hot to trot."

Earlier the Ferns had enjoyed a huge 52-19 victory over South Africa and a comfortable 44-24 win over Malawi.

Against the Proteas coach Wai Taumaunu again took the opportunity to use her full lineup, with second stringers including Bailey Mes and Anna Thompson starting the match and getting plenty of court time.

The Ferns were too strong across all areas of the court and two long bombs from Maria Tutaia - much to the crowd's delight - in the powerplay quarter took New Zealand past the half century mark.

In their earlier match New Zealand demolished Malawai 44-24, with Tutaia again the standout with several outstanding long range shots from distance.

The African side were expected to provide a tough test, especially after their convincing victory over the Australia on the first day but struggled against the height and reach of the home side.

In other results on day two Australia, whose team of rookies have been the flops of the tournament, crashed to two more defeats, 28-27 to South Africa and a 34-33 reverse against Jamaica.

The Jamaican win sealed their place in the top four, while South Africa beat Malawi (48-34) in the penultimate game of the day to grab the final playoff spot.

New Zealand:
(13-10; 18-14; 27-28; 47-31)

World Netball Series day two results:
* England 39 - Jamaica 28
* New Zealand - 44 Malawi 24
* South Africa 28 - Australia 27
* Malawi 27 - England 23
* New Zealand 52 - South Africa 19
* Jamaica 34 - Australia 33
* South Africa 48 - Malawi 34
* New Zealand 47 - England 31.


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