The Silver Ferns dominated throughout the
court to cruise to a 65-26 victory in Auckland on Monday night in the
opening match of their three-test netball series with England.

New Zealand won every quarter comfortably to avenge their
surprise defeat in Manchester 17 months ago, the last time the two
countries met.

Just over a week ago, England had pushed Australia to finish
within three goals of the world champions, but they were never in
the hunt in Auckland.

They struggled to feed their shooters in the face of the home
side’s tight defence, while at the other end they found Irene van
Dyk and Maria Tutaia finding the hoop with early faultless accuracy.

England were on the back foot even before the match began,
with key defence Geva Mentor having to pull out.

The Adelaide Thunderbird rolled an ankle in training and was
confirmed as a scratching when the team lists came out.

The injury robbed England’s coach, Australian Sue Hawkins,
returning to Auckland where she had coached National Bank Cup side
the Diamonds, of the settled defensive combination of Mentor and the
Central Pulse’s Sonia Mkoloma.

Mentor was replaced at goal defence by Ama Agbeze.

England did have Pamela Cookey back in their squad.

Cookey had unavailable for last week’s 2-0 series defeat in
Australia because of work commitment.

But the goal attack had a disappointing night, landing just
three from 10 before sitting out the final quarter.

New Zealand coach Ruth Aitken began with a full-strength
starting line-up and restored van Dyk to her normal position of goal
shoot, before shifting her to goal attack in the second half.

New Zealand raced out of the blocks with van Dyk and Tutaia
not missing a shot in the first quarter.

Van Dyk’s first five efforts took the Silver Ferns out to a
5-0 lead, before Tutaia began contributing with her trademark bombs
from distance.

On defence, Casey Williams, Sheryl Scanlan and Joline Henry,
later named player of the match, all did their part in stifling the
England attack, and by quarter time, New Zealand were up 16-7.

The home side’s defensive cover was particularly tight in the
second quarter, when England shooters Louisa Brownfield and Pamela
Cookey were able to put up just seven shots, of which they were
successful with five via Brownfield.

With New Zealand up 30-12 by the main break, Aitken went to
her bench over the course of the second half, giving shooter Daneka
Wipiiti, defender Leanna de Bruin and midcourter Maree Bowden court

By the third quarter, the margin had blown out to 47-18 and
the Silver Ferns didn’t let up in the final 15 minutes.

The teams head to Dunedin tomorrow for the second test on
Wednesday night.