Bailey Mes of New Zealand takes a pass in front of Vangetee
Williams of Jamaica in their Fast5 Netball World Series
game at Vector Arena in Auckland. Photo by Getty
New Zealand's first foray into Fast5 netted mixed
results, with the Fast Ferns picking up a draw and win in their
opening two matches, but wowing the crowd with their array of
A 31-23 win over Australia in last night's final game went
some way in making up for a slow start to the evening, in
which they drew with Jamaica.
The 38-38 draw wasn't the only shock result from the opening
night's action at Vector Arena, with Australia slumping to a
33-15 loss to Malawi in its second match-up.
World champion in the long form of the game, Australia has
struggled with Fast5 format with the new rules rewarding
high-risk play, which is at odds with the Diamonds'
preference for structure. Australia fell to England 29-27 in
its opener, before it was upstaged by a dazzling long-range
shooting display from the Malawi Queens, led by star shooter
The African side looked set to go to the top of the
leaderboard after the first day, with the Queens in control
of their second match against Jamaica, holding a five-point
advantage with 30 seconds to go. But poor option-taking from
Malawi at the death gave Jamaica one last roll of the dice
and the Sunshine Girls came up trumps, with Jhanielle Fowler
landing a "super shot", which was worth six points in their
New Zealand shooter Maria Tutaia said the newly revamped
rules, which features three different scoring zones, means
that upset results will be a feature of the tournament.
"In this competition it's anyone's ballgame, especially with
the three-pointers and the two-pointers, no lead is really
safe," said Tutaia after her side also came undone by the
Jamaicans' clutch shooting.
While the other top nations are using the tournament as an
opportunity to expose their youngsters to the international
environment, Waimarama Taumaunu selected virtually a
full-strength line-up for the Auckland tournament.
Taumaunu's advice to her side heading into the weekend was to
enjoy themselves and be creative - an instruction the Ferns
keenly grasped in last night's opener.
For periods of their two matches the Ferns were like the
Harlem Globetrotters of netball, with their full range of
trickery on display.
There were long bombs delivered into the circle with pinpoint
precision, some exceptional long-range shooting, and the
crowd favourite "Harrison Hoist".
But the Ferns could not quite find the right balance between
when to go for the high-risk play and when to opt for safety
in their opening match against Jamaica.
The Kiwi side trailed 27-26 heading into the final spell, but
with New Zealand saving its powerplay quarter - during which
scoring is doubled - for the fourth quarter, the Ferns still
looked in control of proceedings.
But New Zealand failed to make the most of its advantage,
with Jamaica learning its lesson from their first-up loss to
South Africa, and defending resolutely to starve New Zealand
of possession during its powerplay quarter.
- Dana Johannsen