The England Roses recorded their biggest ever win over New Zealand with an impressive 52-39 victory in their Netball Quad Series opener.
England Roses 52 – 39 New Zealand Silver Ferns
It was the 94th meeting between the two teams and England put in a dominant display, winning three of the four quarters.
Tracey Neville selected a familiar starting seven with six of the Commonwealth Games gold medal-winning squad stepping onto the court for the opening quarter.
Layla Guscoth made her first start in over three years at GD, joining the experienced Geva Mentor (GK) in the circle.
New Zealand’s Sam Sinclair had first centre-pass with the Silver Ferns quickly getting the ball to Folau. Her resulting shot surprisingly missed which allowed Jo Harten to open up the scoring.
Helen Housby, who shot at 90% for the game, quickly followed suit for her first goal putting England 2-0 up in the first two minutes.
The Roses continued to push on and silenced the home crowd in Auckland, establishing a 13-8 lead by the end of the first quarter.
New Zealand, under new head coach Noeline Taurua, threatened in the second and clawed their way back into the game, attempting 19 shots on goal, compared to England’s 13, and outscoring the Roses 13-9.
Momentum was with the Silver Ferns as their defence swung possession back their way time and time again and their efforts were rewarded by sharp shooting down the other end.
After an intense 30 minutes, just one goal separated the two sides.
The Silver Ferns were level two minutes into the third quarter but the Roses held their nerve and took advantage of turnovers, and three unanswered goals from Housby, to re-establish their advantage.
Serena Guthrie was instrumental in centre court and kept England ticking over – her 20 goal assists and 33 feeds were the highest out of all players.
A trademark Mentor intercept allowed Housby to extend the world number 2’s lead to seven with minutes remaining in the third but a burst from the Silver Ferns saw them close the margin to four and set up a tantalising final quarter.
Neville’s side stormed to a 10-goal lead before the Silver Ferns managed to score their first of just five goals in the closing 15 minutes.
Taurua made a number of changes but New Zealand struggled to find a way forward given the Roses’ relentless defensive pressure.
It was a professional, composed and classy performance from England as they build towards the Netball World Cup 2019 in 300 days time.
The Roses’ next game is the repeat of the Commonwealth Games final against the Samsung Australian Diamonds on Wednesday in Newcastle, New South Wales.
For full match stats, click here.
England’s starting 7 – Harten (GS), Housby (GA), Pitman (WA), Guthrie (C), Clarke (WD), Guscoth (GD), Mentor (GK)
New Zealand’s starting 7 – Ekenasio (GS), Folau (GA), Crampton (WA), Sinclair (C), Langman (WD), Grant (GD) & Watson (GK)