Diamonds claim first win

GIANTS Netball is well represented at the 2019 Northern Netball Quad Series with four players, Jamie-Lee Price, Caitlin Bassett and Kiera Austin in the green and gold and Jo Harten representing England.

This morning, Monday 14 January, the Australian Diamonds defeated the South African SPAR Proteas convincingly 62-45. Price performed exceedingly well when she took to the court for the second half claiming two intercepts and plying on strong defensive pressure to shut down the South African mid court.

The New Zealand Silver Ferns went down to Commonwealth Games reigning gold medallists the England Roses, 54-41. The Roses led from the beginning, with Harten shooting at 84% accuracy and relishing being back out on court.

Tune in next Sunday, 20 January when the Australian Diamonds take on New Zealand Silver Ferns at 3.30am AEDT.

Australian Diamonds v South African SPAR Proteas

The Samsung Australian Diamonds have shaken off a sluggish start to take a 62 to 45 goal win in game one of the Northern Quad Series against South Africa in Liverpool.

With captain Caitlin Bassett out with a fractured arm and the Netball World Cup just months away, head coach Lisa Alexander mixed things up throughout the game in search for that perfect starting seven.

“We really needed to mix things up and try some different combinations,” Alexander said after the game. “Caitlin Thwaites gives us a big target to work with at goal shooter whereas Steph is more mobile. Kelsey, Kate and Jamie-Lee give us a lot of speed through the wings and Gabi and Lizzy have that hard-edge to their play.”

The Diamonds looked rattled at times during the first quarter, as the rugged defence and sharp passing of the South African’s bogged down the normally razor-sharp Australian attack.

Led by goal shooter Lenize Potgieter, the SPAR Proteas burst out of the gates, shooting a perfect 100% in the first quarter and stunning the world number one Diamonds who trailed by five at the first break.

But, thanks to some clutch shooting from Caitlin Thwaites and some dynamic play through the middle, the Diamonds settled in to that familiar groove in the second quarter, storming back from five goals down to take a two-goal lead into the half-time break.

Coach Alexander made three big changes to start the second half, moving Liz Watson from wing attack to centre, bringing the speedy Kelsey Browne on at wing attack and swapping the size and strength of Thwaites for the speed of Steph Wood.

With Jo Weston at goal defence, Courtney Bruce at goal keeper and young gun Jamie-Lee Price at wing defence, this defensive combination took a stranglehold on the game. The Diamonds scored 16 goals during the third quarter and stretched their lead to five at the final break.

The class and skill of the Diamonds really shone through in the final quarter, scoring 19 goals to 7 on the way to securing the 17-goal win.

“We certainly got off to a really poor start. We took ages to adjust to the umpiring and I thought our energy was a little lack lustre,” Alexander admitted. “We’re going to have to really work on that. We can’t afford to have a start like that against the Kiwis or Roses.”

Gretel Tippett was the stand-out performer for the Diamonds, finishing the game with 30 goals from 32 attempts (accuracy of 94%) and thrilling the Liverpool crowd with her effortless athleticism and patented lay-up technique.

“Grets is doing her thing and we have our heart in our mouth most of the time on the bench but she just gets better and better and does the most unusual things that are hard to match up on so I’m pleased with that.”

“She’s feeling more and more confident as we go on and I think the players around her are giving her the confidence to play her game.”

Young-gun Jamie-Lee Price also impressed after being brought on in the second quarter to replace Gabi Simpson at the wing defence position, shutting down the South African midcourt and providing excellent service exploding out of defence.

“I’m really happy with Jamie-Lee, I’m smiling from ear-to-ear in fact,” Alexander said. “She did a great job at shutting the game down and getting the structure right at the centre pass – her and Kate Moloney did a great job of that in the second quarter.”

The Diamonds will now have a week to prepare for back-to-back games against New Zealand and England next Saturday and Sunday in London.

Article courtesy of Netball Australia.

England Roses defeat Silver Ferns

The Vitality Roses secured a 54-41 win in what was a closely-fought opening match of the Vitality Netball International Series, as part of the Netball Quad Series.

England’s captain Serena Guthrie took the first centre pass of the game and the Roses set the tempo with Helen Housby scoring the first goal of the game, followed by another quick fire goal from Jo Harten.

After the Vitality Roses took a 3-0 lead in the first three minutes of the match, the Silver Ferns got on the scoreboard with a well-executed goal from Ameliaranne Ekenasio.

The Silver Ferns continued to build on their defensive pressure, gradually closing the gap towards the end of the first quarter with both sides then going goal for goal. Following a fast-paced first quarter, the Vitality Roses finished with a slender 13-12 lead against the Silver Ferns.

Harten and Guthrie combined well at the start of the second quarter and the Vitality Roses drew first blood to take a 14-12 lead. The Silver Ferns cut the gap and responded with several quick fire goals meaning both sides were square again and continued the tooth and nail goal for goal tempo throughout.

At half time the Vitality Roses led with yet another one goal difference. The score at half time following a warm reception from fans was 25-24 to England.

Another strong start for the Vitality Roses with Harten demonstrating her sharp shooting skills at the start of the third quarter meant England took a 26-24 lead. The Silver Ferns refused to relent and excellent team work meant they upped their tally further within the first few minutes of the third quarter.

The Vitality Roses broke away from the goal for goal rhythm that continued in the first two quarters as smooth transitioning between Chelsea Pitman, Housby and Harten increased their advantage. The score at the end of the third quarter was 40-30.

The Silver Ferns opened up the scoring in the last quarter but the Vitality Roses worked the ball down the court following an England centre pass and Housby secured yet another perfectly executed goal.

Natalie Haythornthwaite was brought on as GA in place of Housby in the last four minutes of the game, which followed a strong effort from Maria Folau and Ekenasio who added another four goals in a row to their tally.

The Vitality Roses continued to keep their cool and secured a 54-41 win in their first match in the Vitality Netball International Series, as part of the Netball Quad Series.

England’s starting 7 – Harten (GS), Housby (GA), Pitman (WA), Guthrie (C), Clarke (WD), Usoro-Brown (GD), Mentor (GK)

New Zealand’s starting 7 – Folau (GS), Ekenasio (GA), Souness (WA), Sinclair (C), Langman (WD), Kopua (GD), Watson (GK)

Article courtesy England Netball.