SATURDAY 27th October
New Zealand 32-19 England
The Fast5 Ferns used their Power Play to good effect as they secured a 32-19 win over the Vitality Roses in their opening match.
England got off to a strong start, immediately forcing an error to win possession from New Zealand’s centre-pass. Ella Clark displayed great vision to pick out Kadeen Corbin under the post and the Roses get the scoreboard ticking over before Corbin added a second to make it 2-0.
New Zealand found their range from the two-point line with Mes, Amelieranne Ekenasio and Aliyah Dunn firing from every angle in the goal circle.
At the end of the opening quarter and heading into New Zealand’s Power Play, there was nothing to separate the two sides at 8-all.
Eleanor Cardwell and Corbin were both unlucky to see efforts bounce out before New Zealand transitioned quickly, Dunn set herself and scored for four to hand her side a 20-10 lead.
England’s Power Play followed but it took them right until the end of the third quarter to get on the scoreboard – George Fisher nailing a long bomb for six points.
England struggled to capitalise during their power play quarter in the third term securing only six points off a three-point bomb from George Fisher giving New Zealand a 10-point lead heading into the final quarter.
The standout moment was undoubtedly an unbelievable effort from Fisher – catch a replay if you can! – but unfortunately it didn’t count as the ball went over a third.
The Vitality Roses had plenty of opportunities and weren’t afraid to go for the big shots in the final quarter as they looked to claw back the deficit but were unlucky not to see their efforts drop.
Natalie Panagarry and New Zealand centre Whitney Souness put on a fierce battle through the middle in the final quarter, but it was New Zealand who took out victory against last year’s grand final victors.
#ENGvNZL reaction: Jodie Gibson
What are you looking to improve?
“With many of the girls playing Fast5 for the first time, it was kind of just getting the cobwebs out so now it’s going out more looking at how we can be more consistent. Our shooters just need to keep going for those goals and have the confidence to do that and most of all just keep having fun.”
What went wrong in power play?
“I just think the connection wasn’t there [in our power play] I think we kind of stopped moving were a bit startled. I think for the next one we need to be calmer and more connected. I think there were parts in our power play we were a bit panicked and trying to go for goals.”
What were some positives from the game?
“It was so much fun, and we had so much energy out there I think if we can keep that going throughout the day we can definitely punish these teams and get the results that we’re out here to get. We’ve got a lot more to give and I’m really excited.”
England 26-27 Malawi
There was late, late drama at the Melbourne Arena as the Vitality Roses suffered an agonising one-goal defeat after Joyce Mvula scored with seconds on the clock to snatch the win for Malawi.
England won the coin toss at the start of the game and chose to have their Power Play in the third quarter, with Malawi choosing the fourth.
The Roses opened the scoring through Kadeen Corbin but Malawi were quick to follow with a goal of their own.
Scores remained close to level in the second quarter with both teams putting up a fight, Malawi leading by one point at half-time.
England stepped it up a notch in the third quarter with the introduction of their Power Play, gaining a six-point lead at the three-minute mark. They continued to push on and led 22-15 at three quarter time.
Malawi had their chance at redemption in the fourth quarter with their Power Play and started off strong gaining eight points in the first three minutes to bring the scores level.
A couple of errors in the England goal circle allowed Malawi to capitalise and score two more points to bring them in front with two minutes to go, but the Roses were hot on their heels, scoring another two points to make it all square.
With 20 seconds to go, George Fisher scored one point to put England in the lead, but Malawi shooter Mvula held her nerve to score a two-point shot and secure the win.
England 25-28 South Africa
Sharp shooting from Sigi Burger and Renske Stoltz – both familiar faces to Vitality Netball Superleague fans – helped South Africa to victory over England.
South Africa flew out the traps, establishing a 5-2 lead after just over two and a half minutes.
They then continued to accelerate away and had a six-goal cushion at the end of the opening quarter.
The Roses took their Power Play in the second quarter and worked tirelessly to close the gap.
A four-pointer from Kadeen Corbin brought England back to within one but a long bomb from Stoltz edged South Africa out to 14-10.
South Africa led 14-12 at the end of the first half with their Power Play still to come.
England got off the mark first in the third quarter with Ella Clark landing a two-point effort to draw the Roses level.
The Roses then pulled ahead of their opponents thanks to two two-pointers from George Fisher and a long bomb worth three from Clark.
But Burger led the South Africa charge with two unanswered goals to build a 22-21 lead heading into the final quarter.
Despite the Roses battling hard and just one goal the difference with 30 seconds remaining, Burger wrapped up the win for South Africa with a two-pointer as they scored six of the game’s last 10 goals.
#ENGvRSA reaction: Ella Clark
That was an intense game, how did it go?
“It was fast paced with a lot of runs. A bit frustrating in the end as we didn’t use the Power Play as much as we wanted to. It’s a bit disappointing as our defence did a really good job but we lost out on the Power Play.”
What’s the game plan for the rest of the series?
“We’re hoping to get the two wins tomorrow and come back fighting!”
SUNDAY 28th october
Australia 28-29 England
The Vitality Roses got Day Two of the competition off to a great start with a narrow 29-28 win over hosts Australia.
There was nothing to separate the two sides in the opening stages as it went goal-for-goal at the Melbourne Arena.
Birthday girl Amy Carter made an immediate impact as she ran on and pounced on a loose ball to set England on the attack. The Roses worked the ball through to George Fisher who made no mistake from close in to hand England an early 3-2 lead.
But Australia were hot on their heels and it was all square at the end of the opening quarter.
Ella Clark got the Roses up and running in the second quarter with Fisher nailing a two-pointer not long after as England led 9-8.
Australia, who took their Power Play before the half-time break, started to edge ahead.
Kaylia Stanton found her range to push the hosts out to 16-10 with four minutes to play in the quarter.
England kept chipping away though with Fisher adding two points to the Roses’ tally before Stanton responded in kind to give Australia a six-goal cushion going into the second half.
The Roses made a strong start to the third quarter with Clark picking out Fisher before getting on the scoreboard herself to bring England back within three.
A last-gasp effort from Garbin meant that Australia were out in front by three going into the final quarter with the Roses’ Power Play to come.
England were back on level terms within a minute and a half thanks to goals from Clark and Fisher but Kim Jenner read the ball well to regain possession for Australia and Kiera Austin rewarded her teammate’s efforts to make it 25-23 to the hosts.
After held ball was called against the Roses, Austin punished England and Australia led 27-25 with 40 seconds remaining.
But Fisher held her nerve to nail a two-pointer to add four to England’s tally in the closing stages and secure the Roses’ first win of the 2018 Fast5 World Series.
#AUSvENG reaction: George Fisher
You guys played really well, especially in the last quarter – how are you feeling about it?
“Our Power Play in the last quarter worked really well for us, yesterday we had in it in the first half but the change worked in our favour. There were tons of turnovers and a few errors that needed to be ironed out but we did our best.”
The team defended really well, what are your thoughts on that?
“Our defence were so good, they really performed well.”
What’s the plan for the rest of the series?
“We are going to go out there with the same intensity and keep the energy up, work our hardest and hope for the best.”
Jamaica 42-37 England
The Vitality Roses fell short against last year’s runners-up Jamaica despite George Fisher scoring three long bombs (18 points) in England’s Power Play.
Shamera Sterling made her presence felt immediately, stealing the ball as the Roses built from their centre-pass but England regained possession and Fisher grabbed the first goal of the game.
Quick hands from Natalie Panagarry to Kadeen Corbin saw the Roses establish an early 3-1 lead but Jamaica were in front – 6-5 – at the end of the first quarter.
Fisher immediately brought England level at the start of the second quarter before exchanging two-pointers with Shanice Beckford.
Captain Jodie Gibson read the game perfectly and displayed her athleticism to keep the ball in play but it went over a third and Jamaica capitalised before accelerating away to lead by four (13-9) heading into the third quarter and their Power Play.
Halfway through their Power Play, Jamaica led by 10 and a last-gasp long bomb from Thristina Harwood meant the gap was out to 12 – 37-15 – going into the final quarter.
The Roses battled valiantly throughout their Power Play with Fisher and Ella Clark both on target but it was Jamaica who took the win.
#JAMvENG reaction: George Fisher
A bit of a tough loss, you got within about six points in the end, how are you feeling?
“I mean, part of me is really pleased that we put it all on the court. We gave it our best. Right at the end Emma [Dovey] got a tip and then they got it back, and I was like – you know in your head ‘oh it could be a picture perfect finish, just get it down!’ But it wasn’t to be, and sometimes it’s just not, so I’m happy with how hard we’ve tried and how much we put in. I think we stepped it up from yesterday, so I’m happy with how we’ve come back, and obviously you always want to be a winner, don’t you?
You got some great six-pointers in the last quarter. How do you go about those massive shots?
“Honestly, not a clue! I was on the bench and they were like ‘alright just go for it, give it whatever you’ve got’ and I was like ‘okay then!’ and then Shammy [Shamera Sterling] is obviously amazing with her long arms, she tipped it and I was like ‘ugh!’… but no, it felt good. You sort of just do it and hope for the best!”
You stole the last quarter Power Play off Jamaica, they’ve been using that all series – was there some good strategy in that?
“Definitely. I think the last quarter Power Play is definitely good for us. In England, as a country we’re kind of known for our progression throughout the game and being able to finish off a quarter, so I think it was really good to be able to steal that last quarter. It just wasn’t quite there today… but next time!”
South Africa 33-35 England
The Vitality Roses finished their 2018 Fast5 World Series campaign with a win over South Africa in the 5th/6th play-off.
South Africa started strongly with Renske Stoltz quickly finding her range to establish a 3-1 advantage.
Emma Dovey was strong on the rebound, the Roses worked the ball through court and George Fisher was able to finish the move to make it 4-4.
South Africa, who had beaten England 28-25 on Saturday, edged ahead once again but Ella Clark scored from close in to ensure the sides were level at the end of the opening quarter.
Fisher had her eye in early for the Roses and Kadeen Corbin also linked up nicely with Natalie Panagarry helping the Roses to a slight lead in the second quarter.
South Africa stayed in the game though with the scores at 14-11 after the first half.
Their Power Play started slowly with a couple of missed opportunities but they grew into the quarter and Stoltz scored eight points to see them pull out to 27-21.
The Roses came out fighting in the fourth quarter, wanting to finish their 2018 World Series on a high.
Fisher nailed a three-point shot, doubled because of the Power Play, to bring England back within three points of South Africa.
It was a battle between the star shooters for both sides in the final quarter with South Africa’s Stoltz and England’s Fisher converting from all areas in the goal circle.
A final missed attempt from Stoltz sealed the game for England, earning them fifth spot in this year’s series.
#RSAvENG reaction: Emma Dovey
“How we came out on the second day was a massive improvement on yesterday. As long as we’re improving along the way then it’s good news.
“We put our confidence in our shooters. We were just going for the two-pointers.
“Layla [Guscoth] today has been outstanding, and George Fisher’s two- and three-pointers as well – she was on point.”
The Vitality Roses are next in action in a three-match Vitality Netball International Series against Uganda this autumn – get your tickets now!