England’s Netball World Cup dream ended by ruthless Silver Ferns
Costly mistakes from England saw them succumb to a 50-39 defeat at the hands of New Zealand in their Netball World Cup semi-final in Sydney on Saturday morning.
The Silver Ferns were able to capitalise on numerous England failings in possession to secure their place in the final and send the Roses into a bronze medal play-off against Jamaica.
Team Bath Netball’s Stacey Francis was an unused replacement during the semi-final, which saw England trail 11-5 at the end of the first quarter but close to within two points during a stirring fightback.
Just one converted turnover away, England were given possession when New Zealand were called for an attacking penalty but the chance to get the game back on centre-pass was lost with a contact call against Jade Clarke.
This shifted the momentum back to New Zealand and England were not able to recover it as their dreams of a first World Cup final were dashed.
They will now face familiar foes in the play-off for bronze on Sunday – Jamaica, who England beat 54-50 in the preliminary group stages.
The two teams met at the same stage four years ago in Singapore, with England recording a thumping 70-49 success, but the Sunshine Girls won the battle for bronze at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
England captain Geva Mentor, one of seven former Team Bath players in the squad, is determined there will be no repeat of last year’s result.
“Our confidence has to be there,” she said. “We are an experienced group, we have learned from the heartache of last year and the emotional rollercoaster we went through.
“Last year we were in winning positions and we lost it. This time we have been fighting for it and we have still got that hunger there. It’s just making sure that we go out and we have a good start.”
Wales will face Uganda to determine who will finish seventh overall after losing 71-52 to Malawi in their play-off match on Saturday. Team Bath centre Kyra Jones again played the full 60 minutes.
Club colleague Claire Brownie was involved in a dramatic play-off match for Scotland against Trinidad & Tobago, which went to extra-time.
Trailing 26-21 at half-time, Scotland – with Brownie as vice-captain – fought back to lead 37-33 going into the final quarter.
A topsy-turvy encounter saw Trinidad & Tobago recover to make it 47-47 at full-time, forcing an additional 15 minutes in which there was never more than two points between the two sides.
In the end it was Trinidad & Tobago who edged to a 57-56 victory, meaning Scotland will now face Fiji on Sunday to decide who finishes 11th overall.