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22nd of October 2018


Silver Ferns' shooting woes on display as they lose to England Roses

New coach, new captain, record loss.

The Silver Ferns were beaten by the England Roses at Spark Arena in Auckland on Saturday in Noeline Taurua and Laura Langman's first game in charge.

The Roses prevailed by 13 in the Quad Series opener, 52-39 - their biggest winning margin ever against the Ferns.

The hosts had a poor night at the attacking end, making just 68 per cent of their shots, with Ameliaranne Ekenasio making 10 of her 18 attempts and Maria Folau 22 of 30.

READ MORE:* Diamonds thump South Africa* Willering: Moment of truth for Ferns* Ferns underdogs v England* Langman gets players' tick

As the game began, Spark Arena was packed to the rafters, and there was no sign the Silver Ferns' failings early in 2018 had cost them any support.

Ameliaranne Ekenasio had a poor shooting night for the Silver Ferns.


Ameliaranne Ekenasio had a poor shooting night for the Silver Ferns.

If anything, it was the opposite, with raucous noise greeting the team as they were introduced, the two loudest cheers reserved for Taurua and Langman, two pieces of the puzzle not present when things were going wrong.

The Silver Ferns have only had five days together under their coach and with some new and returning faces, while England started five of the seven that shocked Australia to win Commonwealth Games gold, and it showed early on.

It was England who settled into a groove quicker, as you would expect given the familiarity their experienced front four have with each other.

At the other end, Taurua opted for Folau and Ekenasio as her first shooting combination, with Gina Crampton at wing attack, Sam Sinclair at centre, and Laura Langman at wing defence. They hadn't had a lot of time together as a combination and it showed.

England took a five-goal lead into the second quarter with the Ferns shooting 67 per cent, but the home team began to treasure possession, something their coach had stressed during the week. They were having to battle through a lot of contact, and were grateful for a few rebounds that helped ease the pain of their misses.

The Ferns took a while to make any inroads, but on the back of a Katrina Grant intercept a couple of minutes before halftime, they scored three in a row, closing England's lead to one. Farce then followed, as Ekenasio and Folau missed three attempts to level the scores following England turnovers in the dying seconds of the half.

Maria Folau was not as accurate as she would have liked.


Maria Folau was not as accurate as she would have liked.

To be down just one while shooting 68 per cent at that stage was a blessing, and Ekenasio was replaced by Te Paea Selby-Rickit as Taurua sought to remedy her team's attacking woes.

Two minutes into the third quarter, Folau tied the scores, but the sloppiness return to their play, and after a run of turnovers in the middle of their period, England had their five-goal lead back, with Elisapeta Toeava becoming the 170th Silver Fern when she came off the bench to replace Crampton.

Heading into the final quarter, the margin was four, and Langman swapped with Sinclair, moving up court in a third attempt to get the Ferns' attacking end firing.

Instead of making inroads, they kept making mistakes, and England took advantage, looking a well-oiled machine in comparison to the Ferns and extending their lead into double digits, while Karin Burger joined Toeava in making her debut.

England won the fourth quarter 14-5 as the Ferns faded badly.

There was some promise - Langman and Sinclair looked to be reading each other's minds in midcourt at times, for instance - but they still have plenty of work to do.

Next up is South Africa on Tuesday in Tauranga, a game where a win will be a must.

England Roses 52 (Jo Harten 23/31, Helen Housby 28/31, Kadeen Corbin 1/3) Silver Ferns 39 (Ameliaranne Ekenasio 10/18, Maria Folau 22/30, Te Paea Selby-Rickit 7/9). Q1: 13-8; Q2: 22-21; Q3: 38-34

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