'The energy just lifted' - Silver Ferns skipper stoked after avenging England defeat




The fear of losing is a powerful incentive - just ask Silver Ferns skipper Katrina Grant.

There was an extra edge to last night's opening match in the three-Test Taini Jamison Trophy netball series against England in Porirua.

On a high after Sunday's 57-47 Quad Series win over Australia in Invercargill, the Ferns were still rankled by an upset four-goal loss to England four days earlier.

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It was only the fifth time in 88 Tests that they had lost to England, and it wasn't a feeling they were keen to relive.

It took three quarters of graft, and a closing 15-minute spell of sheer bloody-mindedness, but the Kiwis dug in for a 62-55 win at Te Rauparaha Arena.

It wasn't pretty - there were too many turnovers and missed chances for that - but it did show character against an England outfit which between them had amassed over 480 caps.

In contrast, the Silver Ferns had a touch over 350, the bulk of those taken up by Grant (98) and Maria Tutaia (109).

That shortfall in experience showed in the first three quarters: the scores were level 15-15 at the first break, the Kiwis edging ahead 29-28 at halftime and 42-40 with 15 minutes remaining.

Bailey Mes says the team are out to improve, having fallen to the Roses last time the two sides met.
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But they took the final quarter 20-15 to secure the win and a 1-0 lead in the series which continues in Napier on Sunday, before concluding in Hamilton on Wednesday.

Grant says the memory of last week's loss provided a real spur for the Kiwis.

"We didn't want to feel how we felt against England the other week when we lost," she said.

"I feel like the energy just lifted - you could feel all our girls just wanting the game. Everyone just started going for the ball, the connections were there."

A second telling factor came from Tutaia, returning to the Ferns after missing their last two games on bereavement leave.

Tutaia's accuracy (31 from 37) earned praise from coach Janine Southby, while her work outside the circle also rated special mention.

"She had a great game from a shooting point of view tonight, and she led that end really well," Southby said.

"When she's in that mood, 'just give me the ball and I'll shoot it', you can't stop her.

"She even got an intercept on defence - we've been putting a lot of pressure on our attackers to get on D and get ball."

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