Australia win Fast 5
Australia has secured its second Fast5 Netball World Series trophy after defeating New Zealand in the gold medal match in Christchurch.
But the success wasn’t without a challenge from the world-class opposition.
The Australians dropped their first match against a relentless Jamaican side, who were sinking long bombs from everywhere.
The Aussie girls flew out of the blocks early before Jamaica found its groove in the second half. As the final whistle drew near Jamaica’s Gezelle Allison slotted a six-point shot to hand the Australians their first and only loss of the tournament.
Next on the agenda, the Aussies faced South Africa. An accurate first half from the Australian shooters Lucy Austin, Georgie Horjus, Sophie Fawns and Tippah Dwan kept the side ahead by a goal at the match’s midway point. The Aussies then powered home defeating South Africa by four goals.
To wrap up the first day of the series Australia went head-to-head with rivals New Zealand. The two sides traded blows throughout the first half but after half time the Aussies stamped their authority.
The defensive combination of Matilda Garrett and Ashleigh Ervin worked well to put pressure on the Fast5 Ferns. The Aussies defeating their opponents by nine goals.
At the end of day one, no team had remained undefeated with Australia sitting on equal points to England, Jamaica and New Zealand.
Primed to strike on day two, the Australians started clinically with an 18-goal win against Malawi.
Ervin had a strong outing with five gains to her name, while the Australian midcourt was solid with Hannah Petty, Hannah Mundy and Tayla Williams feeding with precision.
The next team standing in the path of the Aussies was England. The Australians were too good for their English counterparts winning all four quarters of the match and keeping the English side goalless in the last term to win by 21 goals.
Ervin continued to dominate the Fast5 court with seven gains with O’Shannassy and Garrett in support which helped create a pressure cooker in the defensive end.
With the round matches completed the Australians advanced to the gold medal clash against New Zealand.
The Aussies had a commanding start finishing the first quarter 12 goals to seven but the New Zealanders were up to the challenge keeping pace in the second term before the Australians took charge again.
Austin starred for the Aussies only missing one goal throughout the match while Georgie Horjus was a weapon from the two-point zone.
The defensive pairing of Garrett and Ervin created havoc for New Zealand preventing them from hitting their stride.
Australian captain Garrett was ecstatic with the side’s performance over the weekend and the Fast5 experience.
“It was an amazing experience,” Garrett said.
“This is my first time at Fast5 and when you look out to the crowd and see all the amazing outfits, it’s such a great atmosphere. It’s such a good week with all the girls that stand along that line, and I’m looking forward to next year already.”
Also representing Australia at the tournament was the Australian men’s team. The men performed well throughout the tournament but fell short to the New Zealand team by 17 goals in the final.