Ferns topple men in final

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The Silver Ferns have ended a run of three straight defeats to the New Zealand men’s netball team.

Silver Ferns Maia Wilson. Silver Ferns v NZ Mens, Final, Cadbury Netball Series, Fly Palmy Arena, Palmerston North, New Zealand, Saturday 24 October 2020.

Maia Wilson shooting in the final against the men Photo: Photosport Ltd 2020

The Ferns have beaten the NZ men 55-52 in a thrilling quad series final in Palmerston North, reversing Thursday night’s 60-47 round-robin defeat.

Maia Wilson led the Ferns with 27 goals from 30 attempts after coming off the bench midway through the second quarter.

Coach Dame Noeline Taurua sprung a surprise by benching Wilson and starting Te Paea Selby-Rickit at goal shoot, and it worked.

After a tight-fought opening 10 minutes the Ferns scored seven straight goals to take a 16-10 lead at quarter time.

They managed to force the New Zealand men to make mistakes with captain Ameliaranne Ekenasio, Gina Crampton and Sulu Fitzpatrick all coming up with intercepts in the opening 15 minutes.

The New Zealand men cleared their bench in the second quarter and cut the deficit to three goals at halftime.

Taurua also used her bench, as she has throughout the tournament, with Whitney Souness, Claire Kersten and Kelly Jury joining Wilson in making an impact as a substitute.

Silver Ferns Gina Crampton. Silver Ferns v NZ Mens, Final, Cadbury Netball Series, Fly Palmy Arena, Palmerston North, New Zealand, Saturday 24 October 2020.

Gina Crampton soars to receive a pass in the quad series final Photo: Photosport Ltd 2020

The third quarter was high quality with minimal errors and it finished level at 17 apiece, with the Ferns maintaining a 42-39 advantage.

The Ferns extended their lead to seven goals four minutes into the final quarter but the New Zealand men came storming back and levelled the scores at 49-all with five minutes remaining.

However, the world champions held their nerve scoring the next five goals and holding on for a famous win.

Earlier, the New Zealand A team finished third with a 68-47 win over the New Zealand Under-21 team, after leading 32-24 at halftime.

New Silver Ferns shooter Grace Nweke led the way for the New Zealand A team, shooting 46 goals from her 53 attempts.

The Silver Ferns’ squad for the upcoming Taini Jamison Series against England will be named on Sunday.

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