By Fayth Doherty and Zac Attwood
A thrilling match saw the England Roses defeat the New Zealand Silver Ferns in game 2 of the Cadbury Series 55-45.
It really was a game of two halves as the Ferns raced to the lead in the first quarter and maintained their lead throughout the second.
After the halftime break, England turned up the heat and took it to the World Champion Ferns to snatch the win in the second game of the series.
After a close defeat in game 1, England put out the same lineup that finished the first game.
This meant that Imogen Allison was rewarded with the starting WD bib, after making a huge impact in the side’s first outing.
From the pre-match chat with Dame Noeline Taurua, it was clear that the focus at the Silver Ferns Tuesday training was on their through court attack.
With an injury to Gina Crampton, this was something that was going to be vital if they were able to win in her absence.
The game began with yet another shaky start from both teams with an evenly shared 17 turnovers in the first quarter.
Goaler Te Paea Selby-Rickit had a strong start to the game scoring her first goal in international netball in more than a year.
Whilst the Roses started with an unsettling three misses from their first five attempts, they managed to keep themselves in the game while forcing errors from the Silver Ferns attacking end.
Both teams appeared to lack discipline through their attacking play, giving away a high number of turnovers.
England’s Sophie Drakeford-Lewis entered the game at the start of the second quarter and provided a point of difference to the English attack.
The nippy Goal Attack was able to increase her volume in comparison to match one whilst maintaining a 100 per cent accuracy throughout her whole time on the court, shooting 8 from 8.
The Roses were able to draw back the lead that the Silver Ferns created in the first quarter due to an increased defensive presence.
Halfway through the second quarter, we saw Geva Mentor leave the court with a blood nose, and Fran Williams entering the game, providing a spark and a gutsy performance off the bench.
Jade Clarke was another one who entered the game in the second quarter with a huge impact, immediately calming those around her.
Showing her immense experience, all while still making key plays for her team. Her versatility was on display tonight as she was played in WA and C.
The first half of the game was dominated by the defenders.
England’s Layla Guscoth was out hunting for any ball she could get her hands on and Kiwi Kelly Jury’s impeccable read of the game, fans were treated to a true defensive masterclass.
Although it was not all about the defenders, the combination of New Zealand’s Te Paea Selby-Rickit and first game hero Tiana Metuarau developed through the first half of the game.
They were able to utilize crafty play such as a sneaky shooter to shooter pass.
The Ferns went into the half three goals ahead, the Roses were able to do a very good job at drawing back some of the leads that the Silver Ferns built.
Ensuring they were never able to push on, however, the Roses were unable to get the game back on level terms.
Roses came out of the half time break with a point to prove.
The beginning of the third quarter saw the long-awaited debut of Silver Fern #179 Grace Nweke at goal shooter.
Pairing up with her very familiar Mystic friend Peta Toeava in wing attack.
It was an attacking lineup that Kiwi fans have been dreaming of. Although Grace Nweke had a shaky start to her Silver Ferns career, she was able to calm her nerves and nail 7 on the trot at the start of the last quarter.
Shannon Saunders re-entered the game to provide some experience and calmness to the frazzled Ferns.
It was a little too late as the Roses were firing all through the court.
With Geva Mentor able to pick up ball on defence and George Fisher and Sophie Drakeford-Lewis forming a rock-solid combination on attack, the Roses provided an absolute show.
Young Sophie Drakeford-Lewis was able to command the ball and control the play in the attacking third. She played well beyond her years and was able to bring composure to her play.
With only five misses for the Roses, their shooting combinations stood up when they were needed to.
It was a big step up from game one on Monday. Being supported by a strong second-half defensive performance, the Roses had an almost perfect second half winning the game 55-45.
George Fisher was awarded the Augustine Player of the Match and in her post-game interview she credited all those out the front for her stunning performance.
Fisher finished the game with shooting stats of 46 from 48 at 96 per cent another standout performance.
Categories: International Tests