30 Aug 2017

England puts a thorn in Silver Ferns series hopes

10:43 pm on 30 August 2017

The Silver Ferns have suffered just their fifth-ever loss to the England Roses - going down 49-45 in their Quad Series match at the Trusts Arena in Auckland.

Bailey Mes of New Zealand reacts after defeat at the hands of England's Roses.

Bailey Mes of New Zealand reacts after defeat at the hands of England's Roses. Photo: Photosport NZ

New Zealand started the match strongly, taking an early four goal lead but stumbled in the final quarter, netting just eight goals to England's 13.

The Silver Ferns build up to the match was disrupted by the omissions of experienced goal attack Maria Tutaia, who left the squad for a family bereavement, and young defender Kelly Jury, who was ruled out on the day of the match with an ankle injury she sustained at training.

Despite the distractions, it was New Zealand who made the better start in the first quarter - finishing the 15 minutes on top 14-10.

It was an improved defensive effort from the Ferns in the first quarter compared to their last match, against South Africa, winning three intercepts and four turnovers from England's shooting circle.

Silver Ferns shooter Bailey Mes made another solid start to the match, netting eight from nine attempts in the first 15 minutes while Te Paea Selby-Rickit made six from seven.

New Zealand relinquished the lead midway through the second quarter due to some sloppy play at the attacking end, while England netted three goals in a row to square it up.

However, when wing defence Sam Sinclair was replaced by experienced midcourter Kayla Cullen, the Silver Ferns once again found their rhythm and took a 26-23 lead into halftime.

The visitors again made the better start to the third quarter, closing the Ferns lead down again with five minutes left on the clock.

England's defenders did a superb job of closing out the Silver Ferns' shooters with some aggressive marking.

New Zealand goal shoot Bailey Mes was again solid from under the net, shooting at over 85 per cent, but struggled to get her hands on the ball as England goal keep Geva Mentor stuck to her like glue.

By the end of the third quarter New Zealand held a slim one-goal lead 37-36.

The final quarter started well for the Silver Ferns, stretching their lead out to three goals off the back of some simple mistakes from England in the middle third.

Helen Housby of England with the ball.

Goal attack Helen Housby of England with the ball. Photo: Photosport NZ

The Roses were never far behind however, creating opportunities off the Ferns' mistakes. With three minutes to go they took the lead for just the second time in the match.

Goal keep Jane Watson re-entered the match at the expense of Phoenix Karaka to try and stop England's momentum but it failed to stop the bleeding, the Ferns' attack fell cold in the final two minutes and failed to score a goal, handing England the victory.

The Silver Ferns chances of winning the Quad Series now appear over, requiring a comprehensive victory over world champions Australia on the weekend.

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