This opening Netball Quad Series game was always going to be a tough challenge for England as they took on a new-look New Zealand side on their home soil.
The Roses took first centre pass through the experienced Jade Clarke which Jo Harten sank – this settled start was not to be characteristic of the match.
Tough defensive pressure from both ends in the first few minutes of the match forced both shooting circles to miss their efforts.
But it was New Zealand that broke the deadlock to take the first advantage and go 3-1 up inside the first two minutes.
Jade Clarke made a spectacular flying feed to help Helen Housby sink her first shot of the game making it 5-3 in New Zealand’s favour.
At the end of the first quarter the Ferns took an impressive 17-9 lead. After a nervous start for both sides, it was the Ferns who came out stronger with 21 attempts to the Roses 15.
There were no changes for the Roses moving into the second quarter, but mid-way through that period Housby made way for Kadeen Corbin.
The Ferns started where they left off in the second quarter as they slotted three shots away with ease and the Roses only managed one in reply.
Shortly after, captain Ama Agbeze picked up a caution right under the Ferns’ attacking post for not setting a penalty in the circle giving New Zealand a comfortable 20-10 lead.
Then without blinking, the home side took a 25-11 advantage after putting four shots away in a row. In this passage of play, Corbin took the GA bib and slotted home her first attempt to settle those nerves.
Our Roses picked up a great turnover but were called for over a third and handed New Zealand another goal – they moved to a 15-goal lead at 28-13.
England took the opportunity to score two in a row as New Zealand were called for a replayed ball and after almost three minutes of back and forth it was England who took the score to 28-16.
On the stroke of half time Agbeze gave away a penalty but Mes couldn’t convert making it 30-18 to the Ferns.
There was just one change for England going into the second half of the match as Jodie Gibson made a straight swap with Stacey Francis at GD.
The defence started to see their hard work rewarded with Agbeze and Guthrie picking up interceptions but the ball didn’t flow through to the attack and the Silver Ferns were ruthless in their own attacking circle.
Some great link-up play was seen in flashes from the Roses with Clarke and Cobden starting to find nice feeds into Harten and Corbin.
The key for New Zealand was their consistency as they pinged the ball around with confidence and finished the third quarter 48-29 ahead.
The Roses came out with a string of line-up changes for the final quarter as Ellie Cardwell came on at GS, while Harten moved to GA, Guthrie to WA and Cobden to WD.
Cardwell had a tough introduction to the game with a few missed attempts while the defence of Agbeze and Gibson worked tirelessly until the final whistle.
The Ferns took no prisoners as they finished the match with a 26-goal winning margin of 65-39.
The Roses showed patches of brilliance but couldn’t match up to the Silver Ferns’ consistency throughout the game.
After a short time together as a squad the Roses will be positive that they can build on this performance moving into their game against Australia on Wednesday.
Congratulations to Beth Cobden for picking up her first cap for the Roses on this series-opening day.
The next time you will be able to support the Roses will be on Wednesday at 11am on Sky Sports Mix as they move on to Adelaide to face the Diamonds.
In the first match of the day the Diamonds beat the SPAR Proteas 68-43.
Roses starting 7: GS – Harten, GA – Housby, WA – Cobden, C – Clarke, WD – Guthrie, GD – Francis, GK – Agbeze
Ferns starting 7: GS – Mes, GA – Ekenasio, WA – Francois, C – Langman, WD – Cullen, GD – Grant, GK – Karaka
Photo credit: Michael Bradley Photography
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