Netball World Cup dream over for England after ANOTHER semi-final loss

Netball World Cup dream is over for England after ANOTHER semi-final defeat as New Zealand sneak through 47-45 to book date with Australia

  • England’s dream of winning the 2019 Netball World Cup ended on Saturday
  • Tracey Neville’s women lost 47-45 to New Zealand in a semi-final in Liverpool
  • New Zealand play Australia in the final, with England facing South Africa for third
  • England not reached World Cup final since 1975, having lost eight straight semis

England have been knocked out of the Netball World Cup after a frenzied semi-final saw New Zealand beat them for the fourteenth time at this level.

Despite coming back from a poor start to snatch back the lead in a dramatic second quarter, Tracey Neville’s side were less consistent under the posts and gave away too many turnovers.

And although they got within two goals of the Silver Ferns in the final two minutes, and were helped by a raucous home crowd, it was a case of too little too late and there was heartbreak as the final klaxon sounded at 47-45.

England’s dream of winning the 2019 Netball World Cup ended on Saturday afternoon

The tournament hosts lost 47-45 to New Zealand in a tight semi-final at the M&S Bank Arena

It means that the Roses have still never made it beyond the semi-final stage of the World Cup, and the Silver Ferns will now play Australia in Sunday’s final.

A nervy start for England saw them go 0-5 down after three-and-a-half minutes following an uncharacteristic error in the circle from shooter Jo Harten, and then captain Serena Guthrie twice finding New Zealand hands with long passes.

Two misses by Harten under the posts then drew gasps from the crowd and it was Helen Housby who got England on the board with nearly four and a half minutes having been played. 

Neville has been clear she wants her shooters achieving an 85 per cent success rate under the posts and in the first 15 minutes, neither Harten nor Housby could achieve that. Indeed, a late miss by Housby saw England trailing 9-12 heading into the first break.

Joanne Harten (right) consoles Serena Guthrie after the klaxon in Saturday’s semi-final

New Zealand players hug each other after reaching the final, where they will meet Australia

But a key issue appeared to lie with long-range passing all too often being intercepted, and those turnovers then making it down to the Silver Ferns shooters, who were the more consistent early on.

The Roses equalised for 13-13 early in the second quarter, but numerous turnovers and a miss by Harten enabled New Zealand to race clear again, to lead 18-13.

However, it was at this point that Neville made perhaps her most important coaching decision of the tournament, switching Housby and Harten to become goal shooter and goal attack respectively and bringing Natalie Haythornthwaite on in place of Chelsea Pitman at wing attack.

Quickly, the shooters were able to find more space and Haythornthwaite assisted eight goals in under eight minutes with some crucial feeds.

Having been 13-19 down, they scored 11 of the next 13 goals to go into half-time 24-21 up. A turnover in the England shooting circle led to a lightning quick sequence of passing from the Silver Ferns and two quick goals saw them equalise at 25-25.

Harten missed again when given the opportunity to give the Roses the lead, but then scored, and put England up in front again at 27-26.

Chelsea Pitman of England shows a look of dejection after Saturday’s semi with New Zealand

England coach Tracey Neville watches on with a serious look etched on her face in Liverpool

Chants of ‘Let’s go England, let’s go’ rang out in the sold-out stadium but were soon snuffed out when New Zealand equalised again.

A tussle for the lead followed and although Harten was not at her clinical best, the partnership between Haythornthwaite and Housby helped England maintain their lead.

Yet a turnover with just over three minutes remaining gave New Zealand a 32-31 lead. Errors from Guthrie – who was under pressure from New Zealand captain Laura Langman, followed, with the Silver Ferns edging out to 34-31.

A long effort from Folau paid off to put her side 35-31 up, and although Harten answered with a similar goal, the Silver Ferns had the momentum and the consistency.

A phenomenal work-rate from Haythornthwaite helped nudge England back but New Zealand entered the final break three goals up, at 36-33. The Roses scored first in the final quarter but Guthrie was again outmanoeuvred by Langman to put New Zealand four goals in front again.

An intercept by Harten on Katrina Rore followed, and had the goal attack pumping her chest, and England scored twice to get closer at 36-38.

Beaten England players applaud supporters in Liverpool at a packed-out M&S Bank Arena

England’s Helen Housby (right) tries to get the ball past New Zealand’s Casey Kopua (middle)

Strong defending by Geva Mentor then stopped New Zealand scoring at 41-37 up and drew shouts from the England bench.

But a stunning turnover by New Zealand wing attack Shannon Saunders followed.

In what quickly become an electric atmosphere, England reduced the deficit to three, and then two, to put the score 42-40 with five minutes left.

The fast-paced finish was only temporarily halted when New Zealand’s goal attack Ameliaranne Ekenasio – who shot at nearly 100 per cent – lost her shoe with four minutes to play. New Zealand’s lead was trimmed to two with two minutes on the clock, but it was a case of too little too late. 

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