NEW ZEALAND CLAIM THE 2018 FAST5 NETBALL WORLD SERIES TITLE

In what was an entertaining fight to the end, New Zealand and Jamaica battled it out for gold, with the Kiwis claiming another Fast5 Netball World Series trophy to add to their glistening silverware cabinet.

New Zealand broke through on the scoreboard early in the match, leading at every break, but it was a high intensity and fast pace last quarter contest that had fans on the edge of their seats.

Jamaica were the only team that could defeat New Zealand throughout the rounds, defeating them by one point, but they couldn’t take advantage of their final quarter power play, placing them in runners up position for a second year.

From the opening siren, New Zealand’s quick hand game structure and confidence shooting for the major points, kept them in the lead. Aliyah Dunn and Ameliaranne Ekenasio bagged both their two pointers and hit most of their minor scoring shots.

“That pressure just built up, especially in the last quarter and Jamaica are really strong, we know they’ve got a big target in Romelda [Aiken], so I think there was a lot of, I guess, tension, but I guess we rode through that and absorbed it and were able to come out on top,” said New Zealand captain Sulu Fitzpatrick.

Jamaica’s Shanice Beckford made her consistent and consecutive two pointers – hitting nothing but net – her trademark move over the weekend. It was her spurts of magic that kept Jamaica closing in on New Zealand.

Jamaica suffered though with Thristina Hardwood and Romelda Aiken missing all their long shot scoring opportunities, even though Aiken hit 16 out of her 17 one-point shots. It was New Zealand’s defensive pressure that seemed to spook their long-range shooting abilities.

“We are disappointed because last year we were in the final and lost by one point, and those one-pointers always hurt the most,” said Jamaica’s key defence Vangelee Williams.

In what was a nail-biting finish to Melbourne’s final Fast5 match, Beckford’s six pointer got the crowd going wild and kept hope alive of a last-minute upset, but full credit to the cool, calm and collected Silver Ferns, who kept the ball within their possession as the clock ticked down to the final siren to secure the gold.

If Aiken had passed off the final shot to a longer-range position, it may have been a different ending.

Shamera Sterling was named player of the series for her consistent outstanding defensive efforts and deservingly so, the fan favourite had incredible intensity and determination throughout her entire series.

 

NEW ZEALAND (34) defeated JAMAICA (33).

Power Play: Jamaica (Q4), New Zealand (Q2)

STARTING FIVE:

Jamaica: Romelda Aiken (GS), Shanice Beckford (GA), Khadijah Williams (C), Stacian Facey (GD), Shamera Sterling (GK)

New Zealand: Bailey Mes (GS), Ameliaranne Ekenasio (GA), Whitney Souness (C), Holly Fowler (GD), Sulu Fitzpatrick (GK)

Jamaica shooting statistics:

Shooter 1 point goal 2 point goal 3 point supershot
Shanice Beckford 0/0 2/2 2/6
Thistina Harwood 0/0 0/4 0/0
Romelda Aiken 16/17 0/3 0/1

New Zealand shooting statistics:

Shooter 1 point goal 2 point goal 3 point supershot
Bailey Mes 11/11 2/8 0/0
Aliyah Dunn 2/2 2/3 0/0
Monica Falkner 0/0 1/1 0/0
Ameliaranne Ekenasio 2/2 2/3 0/1