Otago Daily Times

Ferns thrash U21s, now face men in series final



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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