Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com - 20/07/2019 - Netball - Vitality Netball World Cup Semi Final - England v New Zealand - M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool, England - England's Serena Guthrie is clapped by fans after her side's loss to New Zealand in the semi-final.

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com - 20/07/2019 - Netball - Vitality Netball World Cup Semi Final - England v New Zealand - M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool, England - England's Serena Guthrie is clapped by fans after her side's loss to New Zealand in the semi-final.

We followed all of Saturday’s action:

The penultimate day of the Vitality Netball World Cup saw some enticing clashes. Two electric semi-finals and two placing matches meant we saw plenty of action.

Session 17:

11/12th placing match: Barbados 42-53 Scotland

Scotland finished their campaign on a high after beating Barbados 53-42 in their final placing match.

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Emma Barrie – the second-youngest player in the entire competition at 17 years-old – has had, by her own admission, more time on court than she expected over the course of the tournament.

The Strathclyde Sirens shooter said: “We’ve not had the best competition in terms of where our targets were, but it’s good to get that win. It was a very physical, very tough experience (against Azore-Bruce), but you’ve just got to get on with it.”

Shonette Azore-Bruce is the latest in a long line of world-class goal keepers that Barrie has tussled with over the course of the competition, and experience which she believes has been invaluable.

“It’s been amazing – I don’t think you can get much more than that. I’ve played against people like Geva Mentor and Shamera Sterling, so that’s the best exposure I can get at this age.

Lynsey Gallagher, who shot at 96% in this game, credited the Vitality Netball Superleague: “Having the VNSL we’ve had the best platform to have competitive match play week in week out, and it gave us a chance to nail different combinations and test things out against some of the best netballers out there.”

Semi-Final 1: Australia 55-53 South Africa

Australia booked their place in the Vitality Netball World Cup final, courtesy of a 55-53 win over South Africa.

In what was an absolutely pulsating game, South Africa made a mockery of their fifth-placed world ranking to run the holders and 11-time champions closer than many expected.

Australia started the game strongly and looked confident, winning the first two quarters and developing an eight-goal lead by half-time. However, it was South Africa that came out the better side after the break, winning the final two quarters and pushing the Diamonds to the wire.

Australia now have the opportunity to win their fourth successive Vitality Netball World Cup on Sunday when they face rivals New Zealand in the final.

Session 18:

Semi-Final 2: Vitality Roses 45-47 New Zealand

A fervent crowd inside the M&S Bank Arena watched as the Vitality Roses were denied a historic first Vitality Netball World Cup final by a robust New Zealand defence.

New Zealand had won 13 of the 14 World Cup meetings between the two sides, and the Silver Ferns raced out of the blocks, as Jane Watson in particular forced early Vitality Roses errors to put them 5-0 behind.

The first goal on the board for the Roses proved to be a kick-start, and they began to settle into the contest, forcing New Zealand into errors of their own, as Jo Harten and Housby reduced the deficit to 6-5. Folau kept the scoreboard ticking for New Zealand as they led 12-9 at the end of the period.

Tracey Neville’s side levelled the score in what was a remarkable second quarter for the hosts. The Vitality Roses scored 10 of the next 11 goals to completely turn the game on its head and lead 24-21 at half-time.

With the score at 38-34 early in the final quarter, Harten forced a New Zealand turnover which allowed England to reduce the deficit to two. However, the impressive shooting from Folau and Ekenasio didn’t allowed the Roses to build any kind of momentum.

Both sides were feeling the pressure but New Zealand ultimately found a way to secure their passage to the final. The Vitality Roses will face South Africa for a chance to win another bronze medal.

Captain Serena Guthrie said: “There is still a bronze medal up for grabs and we would love to stand on a podium on home soil. That will still be a very proud moment for us in terms of this journey that we’ve been on.”

9/10th placing match: Northern Ireland 48-57 Trinidad and Tobago

Following the drama of two remarkable semi-finals was the battle for ninth, which Trinidad & Tobago won with a polished performance to see off the threat of Northern Ireland.
Celtic Dragons’ Kalifa McColin’s impeccable shooting helped establish a 29-23 lead at half-time despite losing the opening quarter. Manchester Thunder’s Caroline O’Hanlon quickly nursed an injury that saw her hobble off early on and returned to inspire a fightback from the Northern Irish.
She was supported by Saracens Mavericks’ Michelle Drayne and London Pulse wing-defence Fionnuala Toner, who made three intercepts. However, the Calypso Girls pulled clear in the crucial moments to secure the victory.
McColin said: “Really awesome, I just went in there trying to stay focused for 60 minutes and I think I achieved that.
“I think for my team, we went away happy because we came 9th. I think for us it was all about improving our ranking, probably being fifth or sixth but we couldn’t do that so you know, we’ll go away with ninth very happily.”

Keep up to date on all the live action by following @EnglandNetball on Twitter.

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