Otago Daily Times

Ferns thrash U21s, now face men in series fi­nal

NET­BALL

- Sports · Courts · Law · Noeline Taurua · New Zealand · Palmerston North · Palmerston North · England · England national football team

IN one of the fi­nal op­por­tu­ni­ties for play­ers to im­press coach Dame Noe­line Tau­rua and so­lid­ify their spot in the black dress, the Sil­ver Ferns have claimed a mas­sive 81­33 win over the New Zealand Un­der 21s.

Tonight’s game in Palmer­ston North was the last round robin match of the warm­up series ahead of next week’s Taini Jami­son Tro­phy against Eng­land. The Ferns face the New Zealand Men in the fi­nal to­mor­row night.

With cap­tain Ameliarann­e Eke­na­sio and Te Paea Sel­byRickit both rested due to load man­age­ment, the Ferns’ young shoot­ers ben­e­fited from ex­tra court time to prove them­selves.

Maia Wil­son and Mon­ica Falkner were first up, be­fore 18­year­old Grace Nweke took the court from the sec­ond quar­ter, all three put­ting up de­cent per­for­mances un­der the hoop.

Fol­low­ing an al­ready onesided open­ing quar­ter in their favour, the Sil­ver Ferns dom­i­nated the NZ Un­der 21s to win the sec­ond 25­6, and take a mas­sive 29­goal lead at half­time.

Un­der 21 shoot­ers Han­nah Glen and Khiarna Wil­liams were ac­cu­rate in the cir­cle but a lack of ball made their op­por­tu­ni­ties to score slim.

Their ef­forts were not made eas­ier un­der the de­fen­sive pres­sure of Karin Burger, and Sulu Fitz­patrick, who snatched three in­ter­cepts.

It con­tin­ued in that vein for the NZ Un­der 21s in the sec­ond half as the Ferns car­ried on with fast, clin­i­cal net­ball — a step up from what they put out against New Zealand A in their open­ing match on Wednes­day.

Jane Wat­son and Kelly Jury got a run in the de­fen­sive end, Jury pick­ing up two in­ter­cepts in her short time on court.

The Un­der 21s con­tin­ued to strug­gle in all ar­eas against the world cham­pi­ons, but none­the­less would have found the match­up in­valu­able to their prepa­ra­tion for next year’s post­poned Net­ball World Youth Cup.

Ear­lier, the New Zealand Men con­tin­ued their un­beaten run with a win just as im­pres­sive — 60­37 — over New Zealand A. — The New Zealand Her­ald

Score: Sil­ver Ferns 81, New Zealand Un­der 21s 33.

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