Netball: Silver Ferns hold off improved England to take unassailable advantage in Taini Jamison Trophy

Silver Ferns 54
England 47

The Silver Ferns can count their lucky stars.

Another win over England may look good on their record but the Ferns have plenty to assess after another not-so-pretty outing at Hamilton’s Claudelands Arena.

Head coach Dame Noeline Taurua called out the world champions for being “timid” in the first test, saying they had taken a step backwards from last week’s warm-up series, and tonight’s match wasn’t much of a step in the right direction.

As it happened: Silver Ferns hold off England

Speaking after the game, captain Ameliaranne Ekenasio was frank in her assessment.

“Not a pass from Noeline but it’s not even a pass from us,” she said. “We really wanted to improve, England learned a lot as well but there’s still a lot of things we wanted to show in the game tonight that we just didn’t complete.”

“Happy that we got the series but definitely not happy with what we put out on court.”

It was an unchanged Silver Ferns starting line-up which took to the court tonight but unlike in the first test, it was England which took control.

The English midcourt, led by co-captain Serena Guthrie, disrupted the Ferns’ flow, forcing a number of turnovers.

Silver Fern shooters Ekenasio and Maia Wilson struggled to break free of the England defenders at times, with a few sloppy passes into the circle not helping their cause.

Although holding off on changes initially, it wasn’t long into a similarly lacklustre second quarter for Taurua to look to her bench.

Jane Watson exited the court as Karin Burger ran on in the goal defence bib, joining Central Pulse teammate Sulu Fitzpatrick.

England shooter George Fisher provided a fresh opponent for the pair to defend. The youngster handled the pressure well, nailing all 17 attempts at goal.

As England enjoyed a run of goals to take the lead, the Ferns were left looking confused on how to combat a much fiercer version of their opponents.

A few more positional changes followed – including Claire Kersten at centre – as New Zealand managed to stay in touch to trail by two goals at halftime.

Taurua’s message was clear during the break, telling her side to focus on executing the basics. The hosts quickly turned the tables to score the first six goals of the second half.

England’s chances of a win were made harder when Guthrie hit the floor, suffering an ankle injury and being carried off by teammates in what was her 100th test.

The Ferns continued with smoother connection heading into the final part of the game, taking the win along with the Taini Jamison Trophy with a game to spare.

The final test gets underway at 7:30pm on Sunday night.

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