Consistency key as Fenwick seeks improvement

20:08, Jul 02 2013
sophia fenwick std
STAR PERFORMER: Canterbury Tactix player Sophia Fenwick wants to carry on her strong season with the New Zealand under 21 side.

Canterbury's Sophia Fenwick will look to build on a promising season with the Tactix when she represents the New Zealand under- 21 team next month.

New Zealand have named a strong squad as they attempt to win their first title since 2005 at the world youth championship in Glasgow, Scotland.

Ten players were part of trans- Tasman league franchises this season, including Silver Fern Kayla Cullen.

Fenwick, 20, will be vying for a starting position at goal attack with Malia Paseka, of the Northern Mystics, and fellow Cantabrian Gemma Hazeldine, who was in the Tactix wider training squad this season. She can also cover wing attack and could end up splitting time between the shooting end and midcourt.

Fenwick will head into the world championship with confidence after an encouraging season when she started in 10 games for the Tactix.

The former Rangi Ruru student has been a trans-Tasman league player for three seasons but had not started a game before this year.


She was very much a bench- warmer in her first year in the league with the Southern Steel in 2011, and spent most of last season with the Tactix injured.

With off-season recruit Julianna Naoupu making a slow start after off-season knee surgery, Fenwick saw much more game- time than she would have expected, and took her chances.

New Zealand under-21 coach Janine Southby, who is also in charge of the Steel, said she was pleased by Fenwick's development this season, and believed she was a player for the future.

"I think she's shown real promise and I know she would have benefited from the game time out there.

"There are certain areas she needs to work on but I think we've seen the potential there."

Fenwick is known as a streaky shooter, who can send the ball through the hoop with regularity when her confidence is up but can just as easily go off the boil.

She landed 183 goals from 269 attempts this season at 68 per cent and acknowledged her accuracy rate needed to be far higher. Most leading shooters in the trans- Tasman league shoot in the high 80s, and Fenwick said it was an area of her game she would concentrate on over the off-season.

"I think I've been up-and-down quite a lot. Making sure I can get that consistent performance will be something I'll be focusing on particularly in the off-season, so next season I can put those consistent performances out there and be someone you can rely on."

The New Zealand under-21s have been grouped with Trinidad and Tobago, Northern Ireland, Bermuda and Malta, and will be expected to coast through pool play and seal a spot in the quarter- finals.

Fenwick said it was exciting to know so many of the team had featured in this year's trans-Tasman league. She was upbeat about their chances in Scotland and believed New Zealand had depth in all three areas of the court.

"We're all on the same page, and we all want to win the World Cup, so it's going to be our focus."

Fenwick will warm up for the world youth championship by playing for the Netball Mainland under-23 side at the national age- group championships in Wellington next month.

She is not playing in this year's national provincial championship, instead opting to take some time out after the world championship to travel around Europe. The world youth championship is on August 22-31.

New Zealand under-21 squad: Storm Purvis (c), Te Paea Selby- Rickit, Stacey Peeters, Phoenix Karaka (Steel), Sophia Fenwick, Zoe Walker (Tactix), Kayla Cullen, Malia Pasekai, Erikana Pedersen (Mystics), Nadia Loveday (Magic), Gemma Hazeldine (Canterbury), Nicola Mackle (Wellington).

The Press