England bounce back to level Taini Jamison Trophy
A defiant England Roses kept the Taini Jamison Trophy Test Series alive after repelling a late-charging Silver Ferns to clinch a hard-fought 49-46 win in Napier today.
Losing the first Test by seven goals, the experienced England team replied decisively in an intense second Test showdown to set up a much-anticipated decider in Hamilton on Wednesday.
England had the better of the first half but a rebuilding Silver Ferns showed their growing stature with shooters Bailey Mes and Te Paea Selby-Rickit continuing to build on their credentials in helping produce a stirring second half from the home team.
Tenacious wing defence Claire Kersten became Silver Fern No 168 when introduced to the fray for the second half, the home team taking the lead for the first time early in the fourth quarter as they staged an exciting and dramatic run to the line.
Wing attack Grace Rasmussen and goalkeeper Temalisi Fakahokotau earned Silver Ferns starting spots for the second clash while a desperate England responded enthusiastically to the challenge, retaining an unchanged line-up as they delivered a storming first half.
It was a subdued start by the Silver Ferns, England continuing to exhibit their impressive through-court attacking play where wing attack Chelsea Pitman and athletic wing defence Serena Guthrie shone for the visitors.
Trailing by as many as four goals, the Silver Ferns replied forcefully to end the first quarter just one adrift with England leading 13-12.
England made the best of starts to the second term when posting the first four goals. In the driver’s seat, England stretched out to a five-goal advantage which prompted changes for the Silver Ferns.
The 1.92m Kelly Jury took over at goalkeeper, Gina Crampton picked up the wing attack bib while Mes and Maria Tutaia switched to goal attack and goal shoot respectively.
The changes added impetus as the Silver Ferns ate into the deficit but they continued to be tested by England’s willing defensive efforts, the visitors heading into the main break with a 27-24 lead.
Big changes were in store for the home side in the second half, Kersten celebrating a memorable year with her international debut while Selby-Rickit replaced Tutaia under the hoop.
Down by six, the move looked to have backfired before the Silver Ferns staged a stirring third quarter fightback. Pivotal defensive turnovers by Jury and captain Katrina Grant combined with the exceptional shooting and athletic ability of Mes helped the Silver Ferns level up late in the piece before England snuck a 38-37 lead at the last break.
With the Series now levelled at one win apiece, the teams will head to Claudelands Arena, Hamilton for the decider on Wednesday night. GET TICKETS