Silver Ferns victorious in Liverpool
England’s Roses were stunned by a ruthless performance from New Zealand’s Silver Ferns on Thursday evening in Liverpool.
The game started with Geva Mentor being called for contact giving Maria Tutaia a penalty shot to open her lucrative account on the night.
One quickly turned to three unanswered goals for the Ferns and the opening five minutes of play was full of scrappy errors from both sides.
The score advanced to 8-1 in favour of New Zealand, but with an injection of crowd support, the Roses started to fight back.
Mentor and captain Ama Agbeze were working tirelessly to put pressure on the Ferns feed, while Beth Cobden was hassling out in front of them.
Helen Housby and Kadeen Corbin put early missed shots to the back of their minds and began linking up effectively with Chelsea Pitman making the attack flow.
In the blink of an eye, England bought it back from 12-6 down to 10-12, scoring four without reply from the Silver Ferns.
After a patchy start to the quarter, the Roses upped the intensity to ensure they finished the first 15 minutes just three goals behind at 13-16.
The second quarter started with a thrown away ball in the England attacking third which was eventually put away by Tutaia and started the Ferns onslaught.
Inside the first four minutes, New Zealand went 21-13 ahead, shortly followed by increasing the lead to 10.
It took the Roses six and a half minutes to put a goal away in this quarter when the Ferns lead was out at 11.
After a tussle with Mentor, Bailey Mes fell and as a result was replaced by Te Paea Selby-Rickit.
The young shooter introduced herself to the game unfazed and linked up seamlessly with Tutaia.
After some serious fight, the Roses reduced the Ferns lead to eight, but it remained a struggle to get the ball into the circle, meaning New Zealand finished the half 31-19 leaders.
There was just one line-up change for England after the half-time break as Natalie Haythornthwaite replaced Pitman in at WA.
England couldn’t capitalise on a dropped ball from Tutaia as Corbin’s shot fell short.
Cobden continued to mount the pressure and was rewarded with an interception and a forced throw-away ball but the shooters couldn’t make it count.
The second half picked up where the first left off with scrappy play all over the court from both sides, despite this New Zealand steadily increased their lead to 13.
With three and a half minutes left on the clock, Cobden took a fantastic flying interception to help the Roses reduce the gap back to 10.
In true Silver Ferns style though, they stuck to task and pressed to take the lead back out to 12 with just one quarter left of the game.
The Roses went back out for the final 15 minutes trailing 42-30, fielding an unchanged line-up.
Amazing pressure from Agbeze forced Tutaia to think twice about landing her shot but Selby-Rickit rebounded with ease.
While the Roses were finding it difficult to transition, the Ferns took the ball to goal with ease – the shots just weren’t landing and the Ferns built their lead to 20 with six minutes to go.
With five minutes left on the clock, Corbin switched into GA with Housby making way for Eleanor Cardwell to take the GS bib.
Cobden continued to be a shining light for the Roses throughout the game, picking up countless tips and interceptions at WD.
The last quarter proved a test too far for England as New Zealand accelerated ahead to over 20 goals in front and finished the match 61-37 winners.
Jane Watson was named Player of the Match for the Silver Ferns after putting in a heroic display at GK for her side.
The Roses will have to dust themselves off and go again as the Netball Quad Series will now move to the SSE Arena, Wembley on Sunday.
England will face the World Champions Australia in the first game of the day and will be followed by New Zealand vs South Africa.
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Roses starting 7: GS – Corbin, GA – Housby, WA – Pitman, C – Clarke, WD – Cobden, GD – Agbeze (c), GK – Mentor
Roses bench: Cardwell, Gibson, Haythornthwaite, Panagarry, Shaw
Silver Ferns starting 7: GS – Mes, GA, Tutaia, WA – Rasmussen, C – Francois, WD – Harrison, GD – Grant (c), GK – Watson
Ferns bench: Crampton, Jury, Selby-Rickit, Sinclair, Wilson
Photo credit: Paul Wills