Strong second half from Ferns earns victory

Silver Fern Maddy Gordon looks to pass in the match against Uganda in London. Photo: Getty Images
Silver Fern Maddy Gordon looks to pass in the match against Uganda in London. Photo: Getty Images
The Silver Ferns posted their first win of the Nations Cup with a 65-60 win over Uganda in London yesterday.
New Zealand produced a strong second half to outpace the She Cranes by seven goals after trailing by two at halftime, Silver Ferns shooter Grace Nweke near flawless in converting 53 from 54.

‘‘We knew that they were going to be a tough team to come up against and we needed to be on our game,’’ Silver Ferns defender Karin Burger said.

‘‘We were prepared physically to grind out the match but a lot of the time it’s the mental stuff and we wanted to fix yesterday’s errors [against Australia] and make sure every pass was played for what it is and that every pass is crucial.

‘‘We made some growth but I think there’s alittle bit more growth to happen going into our game against England.

‘‘We’ve had a lot of young players coming into this group but everyone deserves to be here and it’s going to take a bit of time to gel and get those connections 100% and it’s exciting to see what the future of our netball looks like.’’

The Silver Ferns shuffled their pack in the midcourt for the clash against Uganda with the return of wing defence Michaela Sokolich-Beatson to international netball for the first time in five years following two ruptured Achilles tendon injuries.

Midcourter and on-court captain Kate Heffernan got the start at wing defence — joining twin sister Georgia, following up her first-round international debut with a second successive start — and Whitney Souness lined up at wing attack.

Playing for the first time in a series against the world’s top-three nations after a historic fifth at the World Cup, Uganda were spearheaded by shooter Mary Cholhok.

Uganda were quick to punish through the shooting combination of Cholhok and captain Irene Eyaru.

Forging a five-goal buffer, Uganda kept the Silver Ferns at arm’s length before a couple of rare lapses by their players handed the Silver Ferns a late push as they narrowed Uganda’s lead to 31-29 at the break, Nweke completing a clean sheet with 24 goals from as many attempts.

Grabbing the lead back midway through the quarter, the Silver Ferns required plenty of discipline.

New Zealand held a narrow 46-44 lead at the last break, before eventually pulling away for the win.