Silver Ferns experimental, Scotland improved

HAMISH BIDWELL
Last updated 10:07 15/01/2014

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Netball

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Scotland put up an improved showing, but were still beaten 63-26 by the Silver Ferns in today's exhibition netball match in Glasgow.

Scotland, the world's 12th-ranked side, looked a handful of spots higher than that as they produced some decent passages of play.

They are not nearly as fit or athletic as New Zealand's players, but new Scottish coach Gail Parata looks to have a bit to work with.

Some head-scratching umpiring contributed to the relative competitiveness of this game after the Silver Ferns' 72-18 win on Monday.

Presumably with an eye towards Saturday morning's test against Jamaica in Scotland, New Zealand coach Waimarama Taumaunu gave her better players a decent run during the first half.

Last year's preferred shooting combinations of Cathrine Latu and Maria Tutaia, then Irene van Dyk and Jodi Brown, got a quarter each as the Silver Ferns built 14-7 and 28-15 leads by the end of the two 15-minute bursts.

Laura Langman, Millie Lees and Shannon Francois shared the centre and wing attack duties, with Joline Henry, Katrina Grant and Leana de Bruin at the back.

De Bruin began at goal defence before she and goal keep Grant swapped during the second quarter, with improved results.

Jamaica will have Jhaniele Fowler in their line-up on Saturday, and de Bruin has shown she is more adept at going one on one with taller goal shoots than Grant.

Whatever the personnel, defending players like Fowler or Australia's Caitlin Bassett have tended to be a challenge for New Zealand players, and the best strategy has often been to try to stop the ball before it gets to the post.

Taumaunu introduced a few second-stringers for the third quarter, and when the final 15 minutes began the Silver Ferns had pushed out to a 44-18 lead.

The defensive end was still experimental for the last quarter, but the old firm of van Dyk and Tutaia were reunited in the shooting circle, with the team's best feeders, Langman and Lees, paired to supply the ball.

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