Roses cause another upset and make more history

ENGLAND Roses are going for gold after they overran the Silver Ferns by six goals after the Commonwealth Games upset, flipping the narrative. England took the 46-40 game in the last five minutes, leaving New Zealand truly beaten and heartbroken.

The England Roses move on to their first ever Netball World Cup final as they toppled over New Zealand’s Silver Ferns on the back of their momentum and still remaining undefeated. It was a defensive masterclass through and through when one side started to pull away the other would fight and get right back into the contest.

The pressure was on right out of the get go as New Zealand drew first blood after going goal for goal in the opening minutes thanks to a Karin Burger intercept on an England centre pass. The Silver Ferns made their presence felt early with a quick three goal lead, but the Roses answered the call and jumped right back in it.

A low scoring opening term reflected the hesitancy some players had with the ball, wanting to be careful and cherish possession leading to a 9-9 quarter score. By the way the game was continuing, it was going to be very whistle heavy with England getting 71 penalties and New Zealand with 73. Just about every passage of play had a contact call with every player desperate to win a turnover.

England co-captain Nat Metcalf (17 feeds, nine goal assists) had plenty of space to use being left on her own in the attacking third on nearly every play just giving her the space to work the ball to circle edge for the shooter to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Metcalf had enough time on her own that she was able to wait in space for the pass as she was undefeated with no hands over pressure.

Consistency was key for the England defence line with their box structure pushing the Silver Ferns to the opposite side that the ball was on leaving no options forward and forcing them to pass backwards.

Not everything was great either for the Roses with the Silver Ferns attackers flooding down on the centre pass, causing England needing to go backwards on multiple occasions. They also had to resort on going back to Geva Mentor (two deflections, one intercept, one pick up) on the transverse line as a reset from the pressure that the eSilverer Ferns were placing all down the court.

Thanks to 100 per cent shooting from Maia Wilson (25 goals, one intercept), she kept a lot of confidence in the Silver Ferns, but they were struggling to get the ball to her with New Zealand’s attempts being 41 compared to England’s 54. This just goes to show how much pressure the Roses defenders were placing, ultimately leading the Kiwis to choke in the last five minutes.

The quarter scores slowly started to increase each break until the fourth quarter which had England written all over it. A game winning intercept from player of the match Fran Williams (two intercepts, one deflection) turned the tables, shifting the momentum the Roses started off a six goal run until the final whistle.

It was not a great night at the post for Eleanor Cardwell (25 goals, six rebounds), but rest assured she was getting the rebounds and leaving the Kiwis frustrated alongside Helen Housby (21 goals, 12 feeds) who just dominated the shooting circle with her sweeps across the top of the circle drawing the defenders away and getting front space.

England will have to wait to see whether they will face an also unbeaten Jamaican side or Australia who they just defeated by one goal two days ago as they have deja vu of the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Fiji (71) defeated Trinidad & Tobago (37)

Fiji refused to drop the ball and keep their heads high and finish 11th in the Netball World Cup as consistency was key. The Pearls defence was just too good for the Calypso Girls to combat with Fiji picking the pockets off all Trinidad & Tobago attackers while playing light years ahead with their set plays.

Fiji’s 14 intercepts tell the story of how smothering their defence was while causing 42 turnovers. Unaisi Rauluni (36 goals, 28 feeds, 17 goal assists) was able to reward the defenders for their hard work all down the court. It was defensive duo Kelera Nawai-Caucau and Adi Vakaoca Bolakoro who were causing trouble in and around the defensive circle picking up four and five intercepts between them.

Trinidad & Tobago captain Shaquanda Greene-Noel announced her retirement from all levels of netball and no better way to do it on the grandest stage of all. She should be proud of her team’s performance and third quarter effort with Afeisha Noel (23) dropping goals from everywhere, helping the Calypso Girls get back in the contest.

Fiji ended their World Cup campaign on a high taking a dominant 34-goal win over Trinidad & Tobago.

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