11 Nov 2012

Silver Ferns take Fast5 netball series

9:47 pm on 11 November 2012

The New Zealand netballers have beaten England to claim the inaugural Fast5 World Series in Auckland.

The Fast5 Ferns, as the Silver Ferns were known for the series, edged the English 23-21 in an incredibly tight final - the lowest-scoring game of the three-day tournament at Vector Arena.

After the shock opening draw with Jamaica, the Ferns were barely troubled on their way to the final and were heavy favourites for a sixth straight victory and the title.

Perhaps they were somewhat complacent, coming onto court doing Gangnam Style - to the delight of the crowd.

But the English were all business and surged into a 9-6 lead after the first six-minute quarter.

Neither side made much of their double-point power plays in the second and third quarters, England scoring just 10 and New Zealand only six as the visitors led 21-20 heading into the last spell.

Unfortunately for the English, they couldn't score again and the Ferns added a mere three points as defence dominated. That was enough for the narrow win and the first-ever Fast5 title.

New Zealand began the final day with the biggest victory of the weekend, thrashing Jamaica 52-18 while England also comfortably saw off South Africa 39-15 in the other semi-final.

South Africa beat Jamaica 38-34 in the third place play-off and tournament darlings Malawi edged Australia for the second time, 33-30 to gift the Diamonds the wooden spoon and an unenviable six losses from six games.