Roses overcome slow start to defeat Silver Ferns
ENGLAND has guaranteed itself a place in the 2022 Quad Series final after defeating New Zealand by three goals overnight. The Roses backed up their victory against South Africa with a come-from-behind win over the Silver Ferns. Trailing by six goals at the first break, the Roses piled on 29 goals to 20 over the next two quarters to eventually salute, 49-46 with captain Serena Guthrie leading from the front.
The England side was relatively similar to the first match, with George Fisher earning the start in goal shooter over Eleanor Cardwell. New Zealand had a few positional changes, with Claire Kersten in at centre over Samantha Winders and Kelly Jury starting at goalkeeper over Sulu Fitzpatrick, whilst Karin Burger (wing defence) switched bibs with Kayla Johnson (goal defence).
Fisher had an impact early, scoring three of the first four goals to get England off to the perfect start. It would not be be long before the experience of Maia Wilson came to the fore up the other end however, scoring three consecutive goals herself. Neck-and-neck for the most part, the momentum swung in the Silver Ferns’ favour midway through the term, when they scored five consecutive goals to take a 12-7 lead. Another short burst from Wilson right at the end saw the Silver Ferns shoot nine out of 11 goals, and end up 16-10 ahead at the break.
Wilson shot 15 goals from 17 attempts, whilst Gina Crampton (eight goal assists from nine feeds) and Tiana Metuarau (five from five) were crucial in feeding the towering shooter. Guthrie was on top over Kersten though, and Helen Housby (three goals and four goal assists) and Fisher (seven goals from eight attempts) was busy in shooter. The Silver Ferns shooting circle and forward third was working much more efficiently against a strong Roses defence, though both Geva Mentor and Layla Guscoth had already picked up an intercept and a gain.
After the points went to Wilson in the opening term, Mentor was subbed off for Eboni Usoro-Brown at the break. The other change occurred midway through the term, when Jade Clarke got her first run for the series, as Beth Cobden was rested and Guthrie switched from wing defence to centre. The Silver Ferns did not make a change throughout the term, sticking with what worked. Except it did not work in quarter two, as the Roses turned the tables to score 15-9 in the quarter and level the scores at 25-apiece by half-time. The Silver Ferns got it right out to an eight-goal lead at one stage to hold a 23-15 advantage, but then went five minutes without scoring, and in that time, England piled on seven consecutive goals to cut the deficit to one, before eventually drawing level.
Housby stepped up to shoulder the shooting load with 10 goals from 11 attempts, as well was four goals assists, whilst Fisher shot five of seven. Natalie Metcalf had an outstanding second term with seven goal assists from nine feeds, whilst Usoro-Brown mixed things up and caused disruption to Wilson. The Silver Ferns goalshooter nailed all seven attempts, whilst Metuarau shot both of her attempts. Crampton was a standout again with five goal assists, whilst Johnson had a couple of gains and an intercept.
The Roses continued their momentum in the third term, extending the lead out to three with a 14-11 quarter. The only substitution for the term came from the Silver Ferns, with Winders subbed on for Kersten at centre late in the term. The scoring was mostly goal-for-goal early, with the Roses gaining a couple of mini breaks and go up by two midway through the term. Late in the quarter Wilson scored her 10th goal to draw her side within two, before England produced the last two goals of the quarter to take the 39-36 advantage heading into the final quarter.
Wilson shot 10 of 12, whilst Kersten had five goal assists from seven feeds, with the switch of Guthrie to wing defence and Clarke to centre working a treat for the English. Guthrie’s work rate got on top in that area, with Clarke able to produce a game-high seven assists in the quarter, as Fisher (eight goals) and Housby (six) did not miss an attempt. Guthrie recorded two gains and an assist.
With England marginally ahead, the start was crucial, and it was the Roses who powered away with the first five goals of the quarter to blow the lead out to eight goals. Phoenix Karaka came on for Johnson in the defensive goal circle and then Grace Nweke replaced Wilson at goal shooter. The Nweke inclusion immediately had an impact, nailing three consecutive goals to cut the deficit to five. Though England held the lead, the Silver Ferns had the momentum, and unfortunately for them, missed four shots amongst seven goals, where as England nailed both their attempts in the six minute mark from the fifth minute to the eleventh minute. Fitzpatrick replaced Jury at goal keeper in that time, whilst the Roses maintained continuity in their lineup.
Though the Silver Ferns had more shots, by the end of the final whistle, both sides had scored 10 goals and therefore the Roses had won by three, 49-46. New Zealand shot at 62.5 per cent (10 of 16), with Nweke contributing every shot bar one. The pressure from the Roses defensive duo of Usoro-Brown and Guscoth was enormous, whilst they also nailed every one of their 10 shots with Fisher and Housby scoring five apiece. Clarke (six goal assists) and Guthrie (one intercept, one gain) also impressed.
CLOSING THOUGHTS …
England finished the match with 52 per cent of time in possession and 12 less penalties.They had two less turnovers as well, but less intercepts and gains. The Silver Ferns had three more shots, but only scored at an 82.1 per cent efficiency. The Roses on the other hand, led by Fisher (25 out of 28) and Housby (24 out of 25) combined for 92.5 per cent accuracy. Guthrie won Player of the Match for her three intercepts, four gains and three gaol assists, whilst Guscoth was superb in goal defence. The midcourt shared the goal assists around, whilst the Sliver Ferns struggled to convert their feeds into goals.
Wilson put up 32 goals from 36 attempts, and Nweke’s spark of 10 from 15 was needed, but could have been more accurate. Crampton impressed with a game-high 19 goals assists, while Metuarau had 11, as well as four goals. Jury stepped up in defence with two intercepts and four gains, while Kersten worked hard in defence with two intercepts, two gains, then set up six goals when playing in centre.
England takes on Australia in the final round robin game and then the overall Quad Series Final, while the Silver Ferns will face South Africa back-to-back.
GS: George Fisher
GA: Helen Housby
WA: Natalie Metcalf
C: Serena Guthrie
WD: Beth Cobden
GD: Layla Guscoth
GK: Geva Mentor
GS: Maia Wilson
GA: Tiana Metuarau
WA: Gina Crampton
C: Claire Kersten
WD: Karin Burger
GD: Kayla Johnson
GK: Kelly Jury