I just know they are a class act. Losing by one to Australia is no mean feat. –England netballer, Jo Harten
by Roger Childs
Living up to the hype
Before the start of this year’s World Cup Netball Tournament in Liverpool there was plenty of confidence about the chances of the Silver Ferns. We were told that this was possibly the fittest team ever and that this year it could be back to number one.
However, the country knew that the acid tests would be their performances against Australia and England. The expected big wins happened against the minions in the Silver Ferns group and then the big game came on Thursday. The Diamonds played their usual fast and aggressive game and the Silver Ferns matched them early on. But then they slipped to four goals down at half time and the super-confident Aussies pushed the lead out to eight in the third quarter.
Getting thrashed again by the Aussies?
Oh dear, was this the drubbing that many expected? No way, the Kiwi clawed their way back with some amazing intercepts and reliable goal shooting from Maria Falou and Bailey Mes. The latter is small, but gives nothing away to her bigger rivals. Late in the final quarter, the scores were level at 48-48 and then the Diamonds went ahead 50-49 with a minute to go. The Ferns had possession, but the normally reliable Falou was too low with her final shot and the game was gone.
However, all is not lost.
Sudden death in the finals
The last round-robin game in the other group saw England easily account for South Africa 58-47. So the Commonwealth Games champions will be the Silver Ferns opponents in the semi-final. Win that and there will very likely be a rematch with Australia.
Plenty to play for, but first things first – beating a very competitive England on their home court tomorrow.