Silver Ferns crumble under pressure, England edge NZ to level Taini Jamison Trophy Test series




England have levelled the Taini Jamison Trophy series with a 49-46 second-Test win over the Silver Ferns at Pettigrew Green Arena in Napier today.

The Roses had to work overtime to hold off a tenacious New Zealand effort in the final quarter after leading for much of the match.

Led by an outstanding effort from shooter Jo Harten, who shot 25 from 32, the Roses proved more efficient in converting their turnovers to hold on for a late win.

A physical through-court defence pressured early errors from the Kiwis, and England shot out to a four-goal lead midway through the first spell.

But with Temalisi Fakahokotau and Katrina Grant out hunting, the Kiwis battled back to trail 13-12 after 15 minutes.

England opened the second spell with a four-goal spree, then ramped up the pressure with some tenacious one-on-one defensive work to open out a six-goal lead.

Five minutes out from halftime, Silver Ferns coach Janine Southby tweaked her shooting circle, shifting Bailey Mes out to goal attack and Maria Tutaia to goal shoot.

Gina Crampton stepped in at wing attack, and the long-reaching Kelly Jury replaced Fakahokotau in a bid to shut down Harten.

The Kiwis began to find some fluency in the attacking third, but England still took a 27-24 lead into halftime.

Both teams put up 34 attempts in the first half, but Tutaia's long-range radar wasn't firing and she could only return eight from 16 for the spell.

She was replaced early in the third quarter by Te Paea Selby-Rickit, slotting in at goal shoot, but the Ferns still had to work overtime to find the circle edge and feed their shooters.

In contrast, Harten and Helen Housby were receiving - and converting - quality ball from their midcourters as England opened out to a 34-27 led midway through the spell.

The New Zealand midcourt gradually built momentum, their shooters obliged with a more measured performance under the hoop and the England lead narrowed to 38-37 at the final break.

But while the Roses faded in losing the first Test 62-55 three days ago, they maintained pressure right to the final whistle in Napier to secure the win.

The third and final Test is in Hamilton on Wednesday.

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