NZ beat England to win Fast5 netball title

By Robert Lowe, NZ Newswire Updated November 11, 2012, 8:50 pm

New Zealand held on in a nailbiter to beat England 23-21 and claim the inaugural Fast5 netball world series title.

In a tournament where the rules encourage big scoring, defensive tactics provided a fascinating element to the final in Auckland on Sunday.

The match ended up being the lowest scoring of the 20 played over the tournament's three days.

Up 22-21 with a minute to go, the Fast5 Ferns clung on to the ball to wind the clock down, before passing to Irene van Dyk to nail the game's last goal.

England's Jo Harten, the tournament's top three-point shooter, had one last chance from distance before the final whistle but couldn't get the ball to drop.

Harten did manage a three-pointer earlier in the match to finish the event with 18, five more than the next best tally by compatriot Rachel Dunn.

Defence was also to the fore in the two power plays, when all goals count double.

New Zealand did well to restrict the England Fives to 10 points - one of them a late six-pointer by Dunn - in England's power play.

But the English did better when defending against the Ferns' power play, maintaining possession for significant periods to concede only six points.

That left the Fives up 21-20 going into a tense final quarter.

Earlier, the pre-match build-up ended in entertaining fashion, with the New Zealanders coming out on court Gangnam-style and England responding in kind.

The two teams reprised their act after the final whistle, to the delight of the crowd.

South Africa took bronze with a 38-34 win over Jamaica.

Malawi prevailed in the fifth/sixth playoff 33-30 to leave Australia winless from their six matches.