Dana Johannsen is the NZ Herald's chief sports reporter

Netball: Silver Ferns record crushing victory over Wales in historic test

Te Paea Selby-Rickit was named player of the match in the Ferns dominant win this morning. Photo/PHOTOSPORT
Te Paea Selby-Rickit was named player of the match in the Ferns dominant win this morning. Photo/PHOTOSPORT

A stunning 25-2 final quarter blitz has propelled the Silver Ferns to a massive 65-goal win over Wales in Cardiff this morning.

New Zealand scored almost as many goals in the fourth quarter as Wales did for the entire match, as they raced away to a 92-27 win.

It was a demoralising scoreline for the world no. 8 side, who produced some nice patches of play - particularly in the first half, but ultimately lacked the consistent execution to trouble the Ferns.

Netball New Zealand opted to tack two tests against Wales onto the end of the Ferns Quad Series tour, which saw them travel between South Africa and England for just three tests.

While the Welsh side weren't expected to challenge the Ferns on the scoreboard, the historic series is a good opportunity for the Kiwi side to test themselves against unfamiliar opposition ahead of next year's Commonwealth Games.

The last time the two sides met was in pool play at the 2011 World Cup in Singapore, but Wales hasn't hosted the Silver Ferns on home soil since 1997 - a one-off test - when Yvonne Willering coached the Kiwis to victory.

Silver Ferns coach Janine Southby also took the opportunity to test new combinations in each area of the court, with 11 players getting a run this morning. Star shooter Maria Tutaia was the only player not to take the court, with Te Paea Selby-Rickit playing a full game at goal attack. Selby-Rickit made the most of her opportunity, netting a game-high 40 goals from 44 attempts to be named player of the match.

Despite the continual stream of changes the Ferns' scoring remained consistent across the first three quarters - recording quarter scores of 22-9, 23-9, 22-7 - before unleashing in the final period.

The Ferns kept the homeside scoreless for the first seven minutes of the final period, as the Welsh side, many of whom aren't professional players, tired noticeably over the latter stages of the match and their skill level dropped away.

The home side struggled to find a way through the Ferns suffocating midcourt defence, with the ball rarely finding its way into Wales' attacking third. On the rare ocassions Wales did progress into their attacking third, Jane Watson and Anna Harrison worked overtime to ensure the shooters didn't get a chance to put it through the net. Watson, who came on in the second half, picked up an impressive six deflections and two intercepts in her 30 minutes on court, and was penalised just twice.

Despite the impressive scoreline, Southby believes there are several areas her side can tidy up on in tomorrow's second test.

"There's certainly some work-ons. We had some really untried combinations, so credit to the players, they got stuck in and worked through it even though they haven't had much time together," she said.

"We've got to keep looking forward and use every match as an opportunity to build that understanding and connections."

- NZ Herald

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