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NZ 54 ENG 47

New Zealand win the series yet game 2 provided a much closer match.

The Vitality Roses fell to a narrow 54-47 defeat after an improved performance against New Zealand Silver Ferns in the second match of the Cadbury Netball Series.

The result means it will be New Zealand lifting the Taini Jamison Trophy on Sunday morning following their 58-45 victory on Wednesday.

Shannon Saunders got the game underway once again for the hosts, who were still reeling from a convincing win in the opening fixture, and they scored the first goal of the game.

The Vitality Roses came out more determined after their last defeat and were quick to respond to going behind. After drawing level, great defensive pressure meant Razia Quashie would win the ball back from a Silver Ferns centre pass.

The ball was worked expertly up to Eleanor Cardwell who cooly put her side ahead for the first time in the series. The Manchester Thunder shooter impressed in the first game and shortly put England 1-3 up.

After great work from the likes of young goal attack Sophie Drakeford-Lewis, the away side pushed the world champions all the way in the first quarter but they started to creep back into the game.

After levelling with a few minutes left to go before the first interval, the Silver Ferns snuck ahead by two goals to make it 14-12 after the opening 15 minutes of this fixture.

Head Coach Jess Thirlby and assistant Kat Ratnapala made changes at the break by bringing the likes of George Fisher and Vicki Oyesola into the game. These quickly proved dividends as the Vitality Roses pulled level.

On a number of occasions in the second quarter, the team in red proved too hot to handle. Fisher was shooting at 100%, Malcolm was firing again and on two occasions they scored three in a row.

After drawing level at 17-17, Thirlby’s side put distance between themselves and the opposition. With three minutes to go, they were three up as the Silver Ferns struggled to find any rhythm on court.

On her 100th appearance for her country, co-captain Serena Guthrie fed Fisher who turned to sink in the final goal of an impressive half for England. After 30 minutes, they led by 23-25.

Silver Ferns Head Coach Noeline Taurua was critical of her side after their first win of the series on Wednesday and her half-time team talk clearly had an effect on the seven that returned to court.

It was a vastly different performance from the hosts when play resumed. An intercept seconds after the restart set the tone for quarter three and New Zealand quickly went back in front. At the other end, they limited their English counterparts to just one goal in five minutes.

A few tactical changes from the aforementioned Taurua and an injury to Guthrie meant it was difficult for the English to reduce the deficit. The Silver Ferns scored 16, conceded just eight and led by six going into the final 15.

With the Taini Jamison Trophy slipping away, the Vitality Roses continued to fight in the fourth quarter. The away team picked themselves up after an exceptional third quarter for the Silver Ferns.

They pushed their opposition all the way in the final 15. The hosts won the fourth quarter 15-14 to see out a seven-goal victory overall in the game, a six-goal improvement on the first game for England.

The win sealed the series for New Zealand who will be lifting the trophy in the third and final game at the Claudelands Arena on Sunday 1 November.