Nail biter nabs England a chance at glory

ENGLAND is through to the 2024 Nations Cup final after a narrow 58-57 win over New Zealand this morning. It was tight and hard fought for most of the match, with the winner not determined until the final seconds.

A crucial turnover from Razia Quashie helped England to get out to a quick start, and a continuing of that strong defensive pressure saw England put five goals on the board before the Silver Ferns scored their first. That quick start helped the Roses to play with a lot more confidence than the Silver Ferns were, and it was translating to a much smoother transition down the court for the tournament hosts.

New Zealand did eventually warm up and get into the game, and off the back of some stellar defensive work from the likes of Phoenix Karaka, the Silver Ferns got back to within two goals of the Roses.

With just under two minutes to go the Silver Ferns did level up the scores, but the Roses took a narrow one-goal lead into the first change.

Proceedings remained tight early in the second term as the margin remained at one to two goals. New Zealand was keeping pace with the Roses, but just could not quite fully bridge the gap. The defensive pressure from both sides was particularly strong, making both sets of shooters really work for every goal they got.

New Zealand then decided to change things up halfway through the term, bringing on Amorangi Malesala for her first minutes not only of the series but ever in a Silver Ferns dress. The Silver Ferns also brought on Tayla Earle for her Silver Ferns’ debut a few minutes later, but it did not seem to make a difference as the status quo of the quarter was maintained.

New Zealand eventually did take the lead late, and with a last second goal took a single goal lead into the main break.

A sneaky defensive hand from Karin Burger helped New Zealand give their buffer a little bit of breathing space to start the third term, but an intercept in the Roses defence helped them flipped the script and eventually draw back level again and take the lead for themselves.

The longtime Roses’ attacking trio of Helen Housby, Eleanor Cardwell and Natalie Metcalf continued to prove inseparable for the Roses, with their timing, positioning and movement showing how well they know each other’s games.

It was near impossible for either side to break away from the other for much of the quarter, but in the dying minutes of the term, England pulled away late to take a three-goal lead into the final change.

England maintained its lead early in the last quarter as the teams went goal for goal. New Zealand kept tinkering with their defensive line up, but the intercepts England got in the midcourt proved very decisive.

The Roses then pulled away to have a six-goal lead with as many minutes left in the quarter, but then the script flipped again. New Zealand went on a run and brought things back to within two, then England scored one and then New Zealand scored twice in a row again to bring things back down to one. Unfortunately for the Silver Ferns, though time was not on their side and they were unable to get any more goals on the board to steal the win.

ENGLAND  15 | 15 | 16 | 12 (58)
NEW ZEALAND 14 | 17 | 12 | 14 (57)



GS: Eleanor Cardwell
GA: Helen Housby
WA: Natalie Metcalf
C: Amy Carter
WD: Imogen Allison
GD: Fran Williams
GK: Razia Quashie

New Zealand

GS: Grace Nweke
GA: Georgia Hefferna
WA: Whitney Souness
C: Kate Heffernan
WD: Karin Burger
GD: Phoenix Karaka
GK: Kelly Jury

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