The Silver Ferns finished runners-up in the Netball Quad Series after completing a well-crafted 70-39 win over the SPAR Proteas in London on Monday.
Building on a solid platform throughout the match, the Silver Ferns completed an impressive performance by getting all their players on court and ending with a decisive and effective outing.
Goal shoot Te Paea Selby-Ricket was the only change to the Silver Ferns starting line-up from the previous encounter against England for the match-up against an ever-improving South Africa.
Experienced Silver Ferns vice-captain Maria Tutaia picked up from where she left off against England with an impressive opening, making her presence felt through strong movement and ease of conversion from long range in the shooting circle.
Tutaia’s golden arm, after she returned just the one miss during the opening stanza, proved the difference after South Africa put up a similar 15 attempts, when the Silver Ferns hit the first break with a 13-10 lead.
The Silver Ferns built on their lead on the resumption, continuing to impress on attack where centre Shannon Francois revelled in the space provided with an influential performance. Goalkeeper Jane Watson was also a key figure, her disruptive presence keeping dangerous South Africa shooter Lenize Potgieter in check.
With the team chipping away effectively, shooter Bailey Mes was introduced late in the, the Silver Ferns in the driver’s seat after pushing out to a 30-18 advantage at the main break.
The Silver Ferns turned the screws during an increasingly dominant third stanza, producing a free-flowing spectacle on attack while restricting the Proteas on defence.
The long-limbed Anna Harrison enjoyed a disruptive presence from wing defence while in a tactical move Gina Crampton was introduced for Grace Rasmussen at wing attack midway through the stanza, the Silver Ferns pulling away to a commanding lead.
After making her debut against England, up-and-coming goalkeeper Kelly Jury got another taste of Test Match Netball when introduced late in the third quarter. Impressive South Africa goal defence Karla Mostert provided a sprinkling of turnover ball for the Proteas but with Mes in fine form under the hoop, it was the Silver Ferns who took a decisive 51-30 lead into the last break.
Earlier, Australia retained the Quad Series title after sneaking to a 47-46 win over England.
The Silver Ferns will now meet Wales in a two-Test Series with matches on Wednesday and Thursday. SilverFans can catch all the action live on SKY Sport NZ and on delay on Prime. - See more at: http://www.mynetball.co.nz/silver-ferns/news/latest-news/5962-silver-ferns-wrap-up-quad-series-with-big-win.html#sthash.FMrQgIK5.dpuf
photos Janos Schmidt