The New Zealand Herald
Goal difference should see Ferns move through to semis
Barring a total capitulation in their final pool match against England today, the Silver Ferns should still make the Commonwealth Games netball semifinals.
Despite their shock 57-53 loss to Malawi on Sunday, somehow the Ferns remain in a position to make the semis due to their superior goal difference.
The simple, but unlikely, scenario for the Ferns is to beat England. Do that, and they will progress as the second team from Pool B.
Lose, and calculators will be close at hand.
Although Malawi stunned the Ferns for the first time, they also had what could prove to be a pivotal 54-52 loss to Uganda, who in turn have lost twice — to New Zealand and England.
Malawi last night snuck home 51-50 over Scotland, who have been easy-beats at these Commonwealth Games and face Wales today. As it stood last night, the Ferns sit on +66 goals. That leaves Uganda trailing by 83 goals; Malawi 88.
Should those three teams end tied at the conclusion of pool play goal percentage (points for divided by points against) will decide who progresses to the semis alongside England.
Who beat who in pool play only comes into the equation if teams are tied on points and goal percentage.
Right now, the Ferns are in the box seat with a 136.5 goal percentage, placing them ahead of Uganda (90.1) and Malawi (87.3). But, from here, anything is possible.
The upshot, though, is there could be a bizarre scenario where the Ferns earn playoff for a bronze medal after losing three matches (Malawi, Eng-
land, Australia — assuming the world No 1 Aussies finish top of Pool A by beating Jamaica today).
The simple solution for the Ferns is to hand England their first loss at these Games (starting at 11am NZT).
Should Janine Southby’s undersiege side lose to England, they must wait until Malawi’s final pool game against Wales (9pm NZT) to learn their fate.
While results reflect the competitiveness of these Games, progressing to the semis having lost two pool matches would be a hollow achievement, one that would do nothing to dispel frustrations surrounding the Ferns’ demise.
In five previous Games, the Ferns have claimed two gold and three silver medals.
Their quest for another medal here is far from over but circumstances will dictate how it could be received.