The first time the two sides have met since the Vitality Netball World Cup semi-final proved to be a fierce encounter with the Silver Ferns winning 48-64.
New Zealand started the match with Shannon Saunders taking the centre pass. However, it was the Vitality Roses who put the first points on the board with Eleanor Cardwell scoring from her first shot of game. New Zealand shortly matched this with Maia Wilson making it 1-1.
The Silver Ferns continued to apply strong defensive pressure. However, smooth intercepts from Kate Shimmin and Stacey Francis from the defensive third and some excellent build up play between Jade Clarke, Natalie Haythornthwaite and Kadeen Corbin helped England find the net on a number of occasions.
With the crowd behind them, both sides went almost goal for goal for the majority of the first quarter but New Zealand managed to pull away slightly by the first break making the score 11-15.
In the second quarter, the game continued at its high-pace with Cardwell increasing England’s tally by one within first minute.
Despite Shimmin and Francis working hard in defence, Ameliaranne Ekenasio’s and Wilson’s sharp shooting started to increase the gap between the two teams.
Jess Thirlby’s decision to bring on George Fisher shifted the momentum on court and her partnership with Cardwell narrowed the gap between the two teams to three, with the score standing at 25-28 by the half-time whistle.
At the start of the second half, both sides came out strong with the Vitality Roses clearly determined to take the lead.
Fisher and Cardwell kept their cool in the circle despite defensive pressure from the Silver Ferns and the Vitality Roses’ mid-court players made some excellent feeds through to Fisher, which she converted with ease.
England put their all into the final five minutes of the quarter but New Zealand didn’t show any signs of slowing down and pushed the score to 38-48 by quarter time.
Stacey Francis proved her experience, making several crucial intercepts to prevent the Silver Ferns increasing their tally in the final quarter.
Thirlby made some final changes in the last quarter which saw Chelsea Pitman, Fran Williams and Amy Carter come onto court. It was a special moment for Carter as it marked her debut for the Vitality Roses.
The Vitality Roses put their all into the last 10 minutes but New Zealand proved exactly why they are the current World Champions, with the final score ending 48-64.
Vitality Roses starting seven: (GS) Eleanor Cardwell, (GA) Kadeen Corbin, (WA) Nat Haythornthwaite, (C) Jade Clarke, (WD) Laura Malcolm, (GD) Kate Shimmin, (GK) Stacey Francis.
Silver Ferns starting seven: (GS) Maia Wilson, (GA) Ameliaranne Ekenasio, (WA) Gina Crampton, (C) Shannon Saunders, (WD) Karin Burger, (GD) Phoenix Karaka, (GK) Jane Watson.