England Roses beat New Zealand to start Quad Series with victory
Australia also start with victory in Auckland ahead of Wednesday showdown with Tracey Neville's Commonwealth gold medal winners
By Paul Prenderville
Last Updated: 18/09/18 10:12am
England returned to action with a record-breaking 52-39 victory over New Zealand to start the Quad Series in perfect style.
England were too strong for New Zealand during their Commonwealth Games showdown, and they were again as they recorded their best ever win against the Silver Ferns - a thrilling 13-goal success that showcased their strength across the court.
Dominant first and fourth quarters were enough to give England just a ninth win from 94 meetings with the Silver Ferns and give them a perfect start in their pursuit of a first Quad Series title
Tracey Neville's team took to the court after Australia kicked off the latest edition of the Quad Series with a victory. A new look Diamonds squad were too good for South Africa, running out 61-44 to put their own Commonwealth disappointment behind them.
The Quad Series continues on Tuesday when South Africa face New Zealand in Tauranga but all eyes will be on Wednesday's Commonwealth Games final rematch in Newcastle between the world's top two ranked teams.
Expectation on the Roses has never been higher - players are starring in Suncorp Netball, they've risen to second in the world rankings on the back of their gold medal in April, and have high hopes ahead of a home World Cup in Liverpool next July.
Neville's squad are yet to win a Quad Series despite the tournament being widely credited with aiding England's development with more competitive action against the traditional best two teams in the world - and they added another win with a fine performance against the Kiwis.
England Starting Seven
The Roses have largely stuck to the same squad that took home the gold on the Gold Coast but did hand a start to Layla Guscoth and Jade Clarke as they sought to get off to the perfect start
Gold Coast hero Helen Housby ensured that was the case as England hit the front early but the Silver Ferns, under new coach Noeline Taurua, hit straight back as the teams traded goals and turnovers early on.
England ended the first quarter the stronger with Harten and Housby just having the measure over New Zealand's star shooter Maria Folau in the battles under the posts - a five-goal lead was reward for their first-half efforts.
The Roses defensive end of Geva Mentor and Guscoth had kept Folau quiet in the opening 15 minutes but the hosts came roaring back before the break.
Having kept pace with the Roses, the Silver Ferns stepped on the gas with Ekenasio joining Folou in making inroads on the scoreline closing to within two and then one goal with a minute remaining.
Harten and Folou took turns to miss before the break at it was the Roses who held the narrowest of leads with a 22-21 advantage at the break.
Neville introduced Natalie Haythornthwaite at the start of the third quarter and while New Zealand were able to draw level it was England who began to inch their way back into a lead.
Mentor seizing on a Folou rebound to send the Roses down the court at the pace where Housby were ruthless with a run of three unanswered goals to open up a five-goal lead.
The Roses continued to pull clear but trailing by seven and roared on by the home crowd, New Zealand ended the third quarter in the ascendancy - Selby-Rickit's introduction helping to reduce the deficit to just four goals as England led 38-34.
However, with the game in the balance, England's stars stepped up, Mentor excelling in the defensive end again as the Roses kept New Zealand out for almost seven minutes while at the same time watching Housby and Harten build their advantage to 43-34 with ten minutes on the clock.
England saw the game out well with their experience a telling factor and something that will impress Neville as they build towards a World Cup - both the attacking and defensive units, as well as the replacements playing their part in a memorable win.
Attention switches to midweek and Wednesday when a new-look Australia will be all out for revenge against the Roses but with victory in a final over the Diamonds now behind them, the Roses will have high hopes of making it back-to-back wins over the Aussies in Australia and moving one step closer to a maiden Quad Series title.
2018 Quad Series - Results & Fixtures
|New Zealand||v||South Africa||8.30am, Sky Sports Main Event, Action & Mix|
|Australia||v||EnglMain and||10.30am, Sky Sports Event & Action|
|South Africa||v||England||2am, Sky Sports Mix & Arena|
|Australia||v||New Zealand||4am, Sky Sports Mix & Arena|
Coverage continues on Tuesday with the next Quad Series action when New Zealand take on South Africa, with Australia's match against England to follow on Wednesday - the tournament then reaches it's dramatic conclusion on Sunday morning.
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