Silver Ferns get revenge over England, grind out tough win in Wellington




The Silver Ferns have repelled a no-holds-barred English onslaught for a 62-55 win in the first Taini Jamison Trophy Test in Wellington.

The Roses, upset 54-51 four days ago by South Africa, pushed New Zealand all the way tonight as they looked to back up their 49-45 Quad Series win last week in Auckland.

It took a gritty final quarter from the Silver Ferns to secure the win, after they led by just one goal at the three-quarter mark.

Bailey Mes reunited with partner-in-crime Maria Tutaia, absent from the past two Quad Series games on bereavement leave.

The pair were under immediate pressure from England's hugely experienced circle defenders Ama Agbeze and Geva Mentor, but regathered to level at 15-15 at the first break.

England also tweaked their midcourt, shifting Serena Guthrie back to wing defence and bringing Sara Bayman in at centre.

The experienced duo, combined with wing attack Chelsea Pitman, shifted the ball at pace to the circle edge and delivered quality ball to shooters Jo Harten and Helen Housby.

Silver Ferns coach Janine Southby replaced goalkeep Jane Watson at the first break, bringing on long-limbed youngster Kelly Jury to partner skipper Katrina Grant.

Applying a more-cohesive zone pressure, the Kiwis were able to generate more turnover ball but again struggled to build a lead beyond four goals.

Five minutes out from halftime, Southby pulled Mes, who sank 11 from 14 after missing three of her first four attempts, and brought on Te Paea Selby-Rickit to partner Tutaia.

England maintained composure, sinking five goals to New Zealand's two in the closing minutes to narrow the Kiwi lead to 29-28 at halftime.

Grace Rasmussen replaced Gina Crampton at wing attack after the break, but the Kiwis still struggled to find their shooters.

The introduction of Temalisi Fakahokotau at goalkeep late in the third quarter generated a couple of key intercepts, but the New Zealanders held only a 42-40 lead with 15 minutes remaining.

Battling a lop-sided penalty count - the Ferns were pinged 70 times to England's 50 - resulted in a tense final quarter with the lead changing hands regularly.

But it was the cool head and calm shooting of Tutaia (31 from 37) and Selby- Rickit (20 from 24) which wrapped up the game in a final frantic five minutes.

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