ENGLAND 40 - NEW ZEALAND 38
It was England’s turn to shine today after winning an extremely close second Test in Dunedin, New Zealand.
"Absolutely sensational!" was national coach Sue Hawkins' immediate response after England stepped up to the challenge to defeat the Silver Ferns 40-38.
A lowly 70 percent shooting conversion, a high turnover rate and a re-arranged line-up counted heavily against the Silver Ferns in the face of a highly focussed English challenge.
Geva Mentor returned from injury and offered England a balanced line-up in tandem with a re-arranged midcourt, along with the steadying influence of seasoned mid-courter Karen Atkinson.
The extra couple of days to recover from the long-haul flight from England ensured a more influential role from Pamela Cookey at goal attack.
Shooter Louisa Brownfield made sure England stayed ahead of the game with a good conversion rate while the high turnover rate from both teams ensured a low scoring quarter as the teams went to the first break all square at 9-all.
There was plenty of initiative on the drive from the England mid-court who showed structure and patience on attack while the Silver Ferns’ line-up lacked flow and timing.
Half time saw Silver Ferns 21-17 ahead of England.
England then made the perfect start to the third quarter as they scored five unanswered goals to edge into the lead. The Silver Ferns continued to struggle with their timing while defenders Sonia Mkoloma and Geva Mentor caused plenty of problems for the New Zealand shooters.
In a battling third spell, both teams suffered shooting jitters as the play moved from end-to-end and England headed into three-quarter time 30-29 ahead.
Increased confidence had England continually probing while a heavy penalty count against the Silver Ferns defenders and a lack of movement in their shooting circle proved costly.
In a complete reversal of their first test performance, England was all poise as they fought the Silver Ferns down to the wire.
Second half heroics from Louisa Brownfield, Jade Clarke and Sonia Mkoloma lifted the team at a crucial point.
“Every player had hunger, urgency, determination and passion today. They knew they had to produce … and they did,” said Hawkins.
The England Squad managed to turn around a huge 39-goal deficit by discussing every aspect of both team games.
“We mentally weren’t there on Monday; the game at this level is all mental really. We used the crowd’s shouts of “Kiwi-Kiwi” to spur us on and inspire us.
“The whole team was magnificent – Sonia was player of the match, but the whole squad made a huge contribution,” continued Hawkins.
Nigel Holl, director of netball at England Netball said: “We knew a turnaround was achievable. The focus and determination of the England squad was immense today and the result shows that steel. This is now our second win out of three played against New Zealand after our 50-45 win in Manchester, England last year.”
Tension is now building for Saturday when England will play their final match in Palmerston North, New Zealand.
Umpires: Sharon Kelly & Jacqui Jashari; Reserve: Rachael Ayre (all Australia)
Player of the Match: Sonia Mkoloma
Progressive & Quarter Scores
1st Qtr: 9-9
2nd Qtr: 21-17 (12-8) to NZ
3rd Qtr: 30-29 (13-8) to England
4th Qtr: 40-38 (10-9) to England
Shooting Statistics: New Zealand - 70% overall
Irene van Dyk 4/5, 6/7, 4/5, 4/6 (18/23 - 78%)
Maria Tutaia -, -, -, 5/8 (63%)
Daneka Wipiiti 5/9, 6/8, 4/6, - (15/23 - 65%)
Shooting Statistics: England - 73% overall
Louisa Brownfield 8/9, 4/6, 7/10, 5/7 (24/32 - 75%)
Pamela Cookey 1/2, 4/6, 6/7, 5/8 (16/23 - 70%)
Daneka Wipiiti GS, GS, GS, -
Irene van Dyk GA, GA, GA, GS
Maria Tutaia -, -, -, GA
Maree Bowden WA,WA, -, -
Julie Seymour C, C, C, C
Joline Henry WD, WD, WD, WD
Katrina Grant GD, GD, -, -
Casey Williams GK, GK, GK, GK
Sheryl Scanlan -, -, GD, GD
Laura Langman -, -, WA, WA
Leana de Bruin
Louisa Brownfield GS, GS, GS, GS
Pamela Cookey GA, GA, GA, GA
Karen Atkinson WA, WA, WA, WA
Jade Clarke C, C, C, C
Ama Agbeze WD, WD, WD, WD
Sonia Mkoloma GD, GD, GD, GD
Geva Mentor GK, GK, GK, GK
photo Getty Images
photo Getty Images