The Quad Series has been an intriguing affair over the last couple of weeks, and it came to a close in a thrilling fashion on Saturday evening, in Invercargill.
England 51 – 54 South Africa
The first game of the evening saw two sides in high spirits after their previous fixture. England defeated New Zealand in a historic win while South Africa, despite losing, impressed against Australia. South Africa couldn’t win the series, but a big win from England could have put them in contention.
Roses looked to be in control in the first quarter, leading 8-4 at the halfway stage, however, a strong showing by Proteas gave them a 13-11 lead at quarter time. This was a similar story in the second quarter, where the Roses started strong and Proteas grew into the game. In the very last minute England drew level to tie things up 26 all at the halfway point.
Jo Harten replaced Kadeen Corbin in the third quarter for England, while the Proteas remained unchanged. Lenize Potegieter continued to impress for South Africa upfront, giving them a four point lead heading into the final quarter. Proteas kept the 4 goal cushion for the majority of the final quarter, and had a response every time England would score. The final moments of the game was very tense and with Helen Housby missing key chances for the Roses, South Africa held on to secure their first ever Quad Series victory.
Both England and South Africa will have plenty of positives to take from this Quad Series, as well as room for improvement. England’s historic win over New Zealand in Auckland will be a highlight for Tracey Neville’s side, while securing a first ever series win and putting stellar performances along the way will no doubt increase the confidence of the Proteas side moving forward.
New Zealand 57 – 47 Australia
With England losing, it meant only the Silver Ferns or the Diamonds could’ve been crowned Quad Series champions. Australia was in the driving seat as they only needed a win by any margin to retain and complete the clean sweep of victories. New Zealand needed a win by a margin of 4 or more if they were to capture the title.
Determined to put the defeat to England behind them, the Silver Ferns started very brightly and put a lot of pressure on the Diamonds defense. Silver Ferns were making Australia give up possession time and time again and took advantage, leading 18-10 at quarter time.
Australia’s discipline started to become a factor again in this match. In their previous game against South Africa, they conceded 94 penalties. 83 were conceded in this game and New Zealand was ruthless enough to punish the Diamonds mistakes. Silver Ferns opened up a 10 point buffer at the main interval, leading 31-24.
Silver Ferns wing defense, Sam Sinclair was influential in turning the ball over for her side. This continued into the third quarter, where Australia couldn’t overturn the 10 goal buffer. They went in trailing 44-33 in the third quarter.
Diamonds needed a big final quarter performance to retain their title. They could’ve still retained despite losing, if the deficit was reduced by 7. Youngster Kelly Jury was key in preventing this, as she kept out the Australian front two relatively quiet all game. New Zealand remained in control throughout and kept their 10 point lead to secure them a first ever Quad Series title.
Australia will be disappointed to have lost their title and their 100% win record in the Quad Series. This is the first ever time Australia has been defeated in the Quad Series. As for the Silver Ferns, the series victory will give the squad a huge confidence boost and momentum heading into the Taini Jamison trophy which starts at the weekend.
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Picture Credits – Netball New Zealand