England Roses beat New Zealand to start Quad Series with victory
Australia also start with a win beating South Africa in tournament's opener in London
Last Updated: 20/01/18 9:15pm
England Roses began their Quad Series campaign with a thrilling 64-57 extra-time victory over New Zealand at the Copper Box.
Inspired by the brilliance and athleticism of Serena Guthrie, Tracey Neville's side ensured they began the 2018 edition of the tournament in perfect fashion with a performance that showed skill and character.
In front of a raucous crowd at the Copper Box, the world's second and third-ranked teams traded leads at the end of each of the first three quarters before ending the regulation hour of play all square at 49-49.
A further 14 minutes were needed to determine the winner and it was England, inspired by the fans, who joined Australia in claiming opening round victories in the Quad Series.
With momentum with them having cancelled out a six-goal Silver Ferns lead in the final quarter, Helen Housby and Kadeen Corbin made no mistakes in extra-time, rewarding fine work through the middle of the court from Chelsea Pitman and the outstanding Guthrie to record a memorable win.
The Roses now face Australia on Monday night, with the winner putting themselves in pole position to claim the title next weekend in Johannesburg.
With little to separate the team early on it wasn't until Roses errors and clinical New Zealand play allowed the visitors to open up the first lead of the contest.
Blistering link-up play was the hallmark of the Silver Ferns' early tactics, capitalising on their turnover ball to forge a four-goal lead at the end of the first quarter with Maria Folau, formerly Tutaia, maintaining a 100 per cent record under the post on the whistle to lead 16-12.
A brilliant second quarter saw England come storming back, inspired by Housby they moved into a three-goal lead with just under four minutes remaining.
Bailey Mes grabbed the last score of a thrilling second 15 minutes, but it was England who had the narrowest of leads at the break, leading 29-28 to complete a timely turnaround.
The see-saw nature of the contest continued with New Zealand rallying at the start of the third to move two goals in front, although Kadeen Corbin ensured the Roses remained in touching distance.
However, Folau put on a masterclass to end the quarter, taking her shooting stats to an incredible 28 from 29 and giving New Zealand a remarkable six-goal lead heading into the final 15 minutes having trailed by one.
England closed to within four with seven minutes remaining, but it could have been so much better had Housby not missed a couple of great opportunities.
The Roses defence were doing their bit and a host of turnovers saw England ramp up the pressure, Housby finding her target to bring England to within one before Corbin levelled the contest with just under three minutes to go.
Housby's hot streak continued as she gave England the lead for the first time since the third quarter only to see Folau sink from distance to set up a dramatic final 60 seconds.
Kadeen Corbin missed a glorious chance to give England the lead, before the Roses defence again stood form to deny the Silver Ferns the chance to win it in normal time.
Much to the delight of those in attendance another thrilling 14 minutes ensued with a drained New Zealand unable to muster another comeback as sealed a memorable win.
In the tournament's opener Australia were pushed all the way by South Africa before eventually securing a winning start to their Quad Series campaign with a 54-50 victory.
The Proteas, inspired by player-of-the-match Bongiwe Msomi, battled back from trailing after the first quarter to forge a one-goal lead going into half-time and it wasn't until late in the third that the Diamonds managed to pull clear.
A brave performance from South Africa, who have had just a couple of days training, ensured the world's No 1 team were pushed all the way but Australia took the win ahead of Monday's match with the Roses.
England: (GK) Mentor; (GD) Agbeze; (WD) Guthrie; (C) Clarke; (WA) Pitman; (GA) Housby (GS) Corbin.
New Zealand: (GK) Fakahokotau; (GD) Grant; (WD) Cullen; (C) Sinclair; (WA) Kara; (GA) Folau; (GS) Mes.
2018 Quad Series - Results & Fixtures
|South Africa||50-54||Australia||Copper Box|
|England||64-57||New Zealand||Copper Box|
|South Africa||v||New Zealand||Ellis Park Arena, Johannesburg|
|New Zealand||v||Australia||Ellis Park Arena, Johannesburg|
|South Africa||v||England||Ellis Park Arena, Johannesburg|
The Quad Series continues on Monday when England take on Australia at the Copper Box, coverage underway on Sky Sports Mix and Sky Sports Arena from 7.30pm