1st ExtraTime: 54-60
2nd ExtraTime 59-65
Full Time 59-65
UMPIRES Sharon Kelly and Dalton Hines
After defeat to Australia in the first match of the Co-operative International Series the last thing England head coach Sue Hawkins wanted her side to do was start by giving the ball away or fail to convert the centre pass. Annoyingly that was how this match started but unlike the game two days ago, England rallied at the next starting whistle and returned the favour to the Silver Ferns.
And that was how this remarkable International got underway and it continued to be pretty unpredictable. No shooter missed a pop at the posts in the first 15 minutes of this match, all four recording a 100% hit rate. England however turned-over the ball more, giving New Zealand more shots at the target and they made the most that cruising into a seven goal lead by the end of the first quarter. The home side struggled to get the ball to where it was meant to be, the placement and passing errors gave the Silver Ferns the chance to move well in front.
A seven goal deficit going into the second quarter was also not part of England’s pre-match game plan. Sue Hawkins, England head coach, shuffled her pack moving Mentor into GK and Mkoloma to GD bringing Sara Bayman on at C after Karen Atkinson was struck by a flailing arm before the final whistle of the opening quarter. The team tried to knuckle down to the task of reining in the Silver Ferns but fluffed key passes and a couple of cases of butterfingers saw the girls in Black extend their lead to nine. This was quality netball and it was unnerving to see how quickly one or two small mistakes from the girls in Red were punished. It galvanised them though and by cutting out the errors by shutting out the Silver Ferns shooters , goal by goal England clawed their way back into the match.
Inspired shooting continued on England’s side another 100 percent record from Brownfield and Cookey while Tutaia and Van Dyk slipped up after 25 minutes of play failing once each. By half-time they had closed the gap by three goals but still trailed by four.
Brownfield and Cookey’s unblemished circle-partnership continued through the the third quarter - neither missed a shot there either. England really came out fighting and as they tried to boss the Silver Ferns around they missed a couple of opportunities to get back on level terms and by not scoring off their centre passes were behind by eight goals with seven minutes on the clock. Tamsin Greenway picked up an ankle problem and after treatment was unable to carry on which saw the return of Karen Atkinson, head coach Sue Hawkins felt that was a turning point. “She did a tremendous job with the centre pass we were getting a bit clogged up on that centre- pass. She opened it up.”
Going into the fourth quarter the gap was still four but the game turned with around 9 minutes left on the clock. Sonia Mkoloma made two key interceptions sent quickly down court by Jade Clarke, Pamela Cookey lost and regained possession before netting her shot 44-45. It was England’s centre the ball was fed into Brownfield who levelled the match for the first time since the start. England went into defensive overdrive Van Dyk and Tutaia were marked off the court - the tunred over ball returned to England’s end and in it went they were in front. At first by one and then by two 47-46. Pamela Cookey was forced to call a time-out with a cramp like injury but after treatment played on 48-46, the defence hassled the Ferns off the ball, less than five minutes to play and it was looking good 49-46. The roars from the crowd were huge, the energy in the room was palpable but the Ferns would not give up and Laura Langman, in her running style stole a pass that brought them back 49-47 then 49-48, the clock continued its countdown. England’s centre-pass 50-48, New Zealand responded 50-49 and back to the England pass and into Brownfield who missed. It was turned over the Ferns scored and when the whistle finally went it was 51-51.
The extra-time was dominated by the Silver Ferns who switched on from the first whistle they were 54-60 head at the change of ends and finished 59-65 victors.
Sue Hawkins said after the game: “We had an opportunity to step up and learn how to win and that’s a lesson that we’ll take away from this game - when you are in front by two, or up by one then you do take the next step. I think that’s what they’ll be disappointed in, they didn’t , in that fourth quarter take the win and mistakes snuck in at the last moment.”
Louisa Brownfield 33/35 = 94%
Pamela Cookey 23/24 = 96%
Jo Harten 3/5 = 60%
Maria Tutaia 29/31 = 94%
Irene Van Dyke 36/38 = 95%
GS: Louisa Brownfield GA: Pamela Cookey WA: Tamsin Greenway C:Karen Atkinson WD: Jade Clarke GK: Geva Mentor GK: Sonia Mkoloma.
BENCH: Sara Bayman, Eboni Beckford-Chambers, Stacie Francis, Naida Hutchinson, Jo Harten
GS: Irene van Dyk GA: Maria Tutaia WA:Temepara George (Vice-Captain) C:Laura Langman WD: Joline Henry GD: Casey Williams (Captain) GK: Katrina Grant Liana Barrett-Chase, Paula Griffin Laura Langman, Wendy Telfer, Anna Thompson, Larrissa Willcox
Photo: Pamela Cookey – credit Vaughn@swpix