Blog #5 – Semi Final Match Report

England slipped to a disappointing 50-39 loss to New Zealand in the semi final of the Netball World Cup.
The roses found themselves chasing the game from the outset, as the Silver Ferns raced into a four-goal unanswered lead in the opening minutes.

Skipper Geva Mentor completed her first full game of the tournament and led from the front, as England put in a strong defensive display. But as has been the story of the competition so far, the game was lost in the mid-court and attacking third.

England failed to create enough fluidity through the centre and attacking third. Coach Tracey Neville put faith in young Manchester Thunder shooter Helen Housby, who had earned her starting place with solid performances against Jamaica and Wales especially.

But the 20-year-old’s inexperience was exposed as the Ferns’ defence suffocated her movement and now the Cumbrian is facing a fight to win her 19th England cap in the bronze medal match on Sunday.

The introduction of Wigan’s Sara Bayman at centre, Jade Clarke switching to wing attack and Sonia Mkoloma to goal defence for the final quarter seemed to breathe new life into England, but the 10-goal deficit was too much to bridge with the clock ticking down.

The Roses must now brush themselves off, regroup and play to the potential they do not yet seem to have reached, to make sure they leave Australia with at least a bronze medal around their necks.
Thunder captain Bayman, who may well be playing in her last World Cup, is bullish about her team’s chances of securing that third place.

“The game was lost all over court today. We didn’t do defensively what we wanted to and that first quarter really killed us then we pulled ourselves back in it at half time. We’re gutted and we’re frustrated that we didn’t execute our game-plan today and if we’d played like we wanted to, that would not have been the final scoreline. They did play well but we lost that game and didn’t play like we should have. We were always in chase mode and we never got to the stage where we brought it level. 

Defensively we played well and we will be looking at attack but it’s bringing the ball through court that falls on everyone’s shoulders and we weren’t consistent with that. To the fans – thanks for getting up at 3am at home and thank you so much to those for coming all the way out here to support us. We didn’t come here to go home with nothing so we will fight hard for that bronze medal. Tracey isn’t the sort of coach to let us mope around. It will take one last push from everyone to finish the job.”

Starting 7: Harten, Housby, Clarke, Guthrie, Greenway, EBC, Mentor