9 Nov 2014

Ferns beat Aussies in final

10:34 pm on 9 November 2014

The New Zealand netballers have beaten Australia 35-31 to win the Fast5 World Series title at Vector Arena in Auckland.

Fast5 Ferns defender Katrina Grant celebrates on the final whistle at Vector

Fast5 Ferns defender Katrina Grant celebrates on the final whistle at Vector Photo: PHOTOSPORT

It's the third straight year the Fast5 Ferns have won the World Series, and they maintain a 100 percent winning record in the current short form of the game.

The event also farewelled the Silver Ferns shooting great Irene van Dyk, who was meant to play in her international swansong, before injury robbed her of that chance.

Retired great Irene van Dyk with some admirers at Vector Arena

Retired great Irene van Dyk with some admirers at Vector Arena Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Fast5 Ferns - the two-time defending champions - swept pool play on Sunday with a 34-25 defeat of South Africa, followed by a 35-10 win over Jamaica's Sunshine Girls.

But they started the evening's final badly, losing the first quarter to the Flyers 7-4. But a big fightback with Bailey Mes nailing three straight two-pointers and a buzzer-beating Ellen Halpenny three-pointer from well outside the area got the Ferns back on top 15-10.

Their power play double-point third quarter kept the scoreboard ticking over and the hosts went 27-15 up, though the Australians did well in their power play final quarter, with two six-pointers bringing them back into it - though in the end it was too late.

Fast5 Ferns captain Laura Langman

Fast5 Ferns captain Laura Langman Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Earlier, England edged Jamaica 31-30 in the bronze medal match while South Africa beat Malawi 30-20 in the fifth place playoff.

The Jamaicans had edged the England Fives by a point in pool play, and the English then fell to Australia 31-24, to clinch the trans-Tasman final at Vector Arena.

Malawi were unlucky not to score a huge upset over Australia, going down 35-33 and the Africans remain winless so far this tournament, after also falling 33-30 to rivals South Africa.

Grace Rasmussen in action for the Fast5 Ferns

Grace Rasmussen in action for the Fast5 Ferns Photo: PHOTOSPORT

On Saturday's opening day of competition, the New Zealanders beat Australia for the first time this year, triumphing 30-21.

The Ferns were level at 11-11 at half-time, before running away with the game by nine points.

Great defence from the Ferns - and in particular rookie goal keep Temalisi Fakahokotau - kept the Flyers to just eight points in their double-point power play final quarter, after the New Zealanders scored 12 in their power play third quarter.

Goal shoot Mes landed 14 from 16 attempts overall, including a clutch two-pointer in the fourth quarter.

The New Zealanders began by thrashing Malawi 49-26, then had to come from behind against England to win 30-26 and avoid their first-ever defeat.

The English had the chance to win the game in their final-quarter power play, but couldn't convert any of their multiple six-point shot attempts late on, and the New Zealanders won 30-26.

Australia had no problems beating Jamaica 33-13 and thumping South Africa 30-8, while England got off the mark by dishing out a 44-22 hiding to the South Africans, before narrowly edging Malawi 42-39.

South Africa were no match for the Jamaicans in their clash, the West Indians winning 45-20, before Jamaica also broke Malawi fans' hearts with a close 29-28 triumph in the opening day's tightest game.