Saturday 17 November
AUSTRALIA DEFEATED NEW ZEALAND 42-38
Australia regained a familiar piece of silverware when they defeated New Zealand 42-38 in a bruising New World Netball World Championship final in Auckland tonight.
Australia confirmed their pre-tournament favouritism to etch their name on the trophy for a ninth time.
The low-scoring match managed to keep the 7000-strong crowd glued to their seats, thanks to the non-stop intensity and the battling qualities of the two great rivals, who once again presented one of their showcase epics.
Time and again New Zealand fought back from adversity as Australia threatened to take off.
Magnificent and tenacious defence by captain Liz Ellis, Mo’onia Gerrard, Selina Gilsenan and Natalie von Bertouch gave Australia a slight edge throughout, but the New Zealanders showed an abundance of fighting spirit.
New Zealand fought back valiantly on several occasions during the second half, but Australia’s great defensive wall meant they continued to live off scraps.
Australia enjoyed quarter leads of 13-10, 27-20 and 35-32.
Rugged defensive efforts were the feature of the game as both sets of shooters came under extreme pressure and missed easy shots.
New Zealand managed to grab two late rebounds thanks to Casey Williams and Sheryl Scanlan but lost the opportunity to equalise as the Australian defence snuffed out the last gasp chance from the New Zealanders.
Australia held their nerve in a gripping final few minutes as New Zealand fell just short of raining on their party with a late flurry.
"When that final whistle went there was a feeling of everything,’’ Ellis said. "There was relief, happiness, excitement. We have just worked so hard and sacrificed an awful lot for this.’’
Ellis said she never felt the win was in the bag until the final whistle went.
"There was just so much pressure on every single attacking play that we had so there was no point where I thought we had it until the final whistle went,’’ she said
photos Janos Schmidt