Silver Ferns win Constellation Cup
Thu, 20 Sep 2012 11:03p.m.
By Greg Pearson
The Silver Ferns have won the Constellation Cup for the first time, pipping the Australians 50-49 to clinch the series with a game to spare.
But it just wouldn't be a Silver Ferns Australian test without a little last minute drama.
The roll of the ball favoured the Ferns, helping them to a series win over the old foe for the first time in eight years.
A New Zealand win always looked on the cards from the opening whistle, the Ferns defence dominant in Casey Williams' absence.
Diamonds goal attack Erin Grant was held shotless through the opening quarter, while at the other end the Ferns stretched out to an impressive 15-6 lead at the first turn.
Australian coach Lisa Alexander’s tough love approach did little to motivate her charges into the second.
The Ferns had a 12-goal advantage at half time, but any thought of the game being all but over were cut short by sweeping changes to the Diamonds line up, and finally the world champions began to shine.
As errors slipped into the Ferns game, Natalie Medhurst took over in the Australian circle and the Diamonds trailed 41-36 heading into the final quarter.
A few more Ferns errors pushed the crowd further towards the edge of their seats, and suddenly the difference was two.
Misses at the wrong time put the ball back in the Diamonds’ hands, but for once luck was with the Ferns.
New Zealand captain Laura Langman says it was a tense game.
“It's a pretty dangerous situation to be in really, but we'd talked about getting a lead and defending it. We weren't successful again today so the message was just to stick to the process just one goal at a time, so we just did it.”
The Ferns have to wait until Sunday’s final match to get their hands on the cup, but that won't dampen tonight's celebrations.
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