Defending champions FAST5 Ferns will play South Africa in the first semi-final while Australia will contest Jamaica in the second at the FAST5 Netball World Series at Vector Arena in Auckland on Sunday.
Saturday’s opening match featured England against Jamaica, both sides looking to kick start their weekend campaign’s on a high note after mixed opening day results. England led 11-4 at the first break before Jamaican shooter Thristina Harwood propelled the Sunshine Girls back into the game to trail by just four at halftime, 17-14. Jamaica raced out to a 33-18 lead after their power play and, despite their best efforts, England couldn’t close the deficit. Final score 36-30.
Harwood said Jamaica were relishing having a passionate Kiwi crowd behind them.
“I feel really good. I never expected them to be cheering for Jamaica but it is wonderful to have that support.”
Casey Kopua and the FAST5 Ferns were next on court for a highly-anticipated encounter with the Malawi Queens, who recently completed a three-Test series in the traditional format of the game.The New Zealander’s dominated the match courtesy of some outstanding long range shots from Maria Tutaia to record the comprehensive 48-18 victory and the biggest win of the tournament so far.
Another tense encounter followed with South Africa picking up their maiden win – a tight 40-39 victory over Australia – while Malawi celebrated the only way they know how, rolling around the court in delight after notching up their first win of the tournament, a narrow 35-32 victory over England.
The FAST5 Ferns returned to the court for their second of three matches for the day and showed the thousands at Vector Arena – and those watching around the world – why they are the most successful team in the shortened form of the game.A very relaxed Tutaia etched her name in the record books following a 24-point shooting spree in just six minutes, earning her team the highest ever score in a 24-minute FAST5 match – a 58-31 win over South Africa. The 58 goals tally beat the previous best of 52 set by the Ferns at last year’s FAST5 Netball World Series.
Australia and Jamaica launched the evening’s proceedings with the first draw of the tournament 41-41. It was a fitting result for two evenly-matched teams who will battle in a rematch for a spot in the grand final.South Africa also confirmed their place in the top four with an exciting win over the Malawi Queens 41-35 in a winner-takes-all match for both African nations. South Africa finished in third place last year and will be looking to topple the tournament favourites if they want to record their best finish ever.Malawi now drop out of contention and will contest for fifth/sixth placing against England at 4.45pm on Sunday.
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