For just the third time in history, the Taini Jamison Trophy will head offshore.
The Silver Ferns failed to retain the New Zealand trophy after a third-test loss to the England Roses in Christchurch, losing the series 2-1.
In much the same way as things unfolded on Wednesday night, the Ferns started strong before things unravelled in the second half.
A 10-goal halftime lead slowly diminished in the third quarter and was long gone by the fourth, as the Ferns struggled to reset, leaving plenty of questions for the side to address.
“That was a serious missed opportunity, we’re gutted,” a deflated stand-in captain Sam Winders told Sky after the match.
“A decline in the third and a blowout in the fourth is heartbreaking.
“We got smashed in the attacking end, it was a battle to get ball into our shooters let alone to the circle edge. England played to their strengths and put the pressure on us big time.
“We can be better than that and a very big missed opportunity,” said Winders, who stood in as captain in the absence of Gina Crampton and Sulu Fitzpatrick, while Tiana Metuarau was also missing in a depleted Ferns side.
Defence was a clear focus for the Ferns in the opening quarter as they looked to disrupt a powerful England attacking unit.
George Fisher and Sophie Drakeford-Lewis were back in the shooting circle, after creating a strong partnership in Wednesday night’s win for the Roses.
They helped push England out to an early lead, while the Ferns took time to settle hesitancy in their passes.
The scoreboard was quickly levelled 12-all – the highest-scoring opening quarter for the series.
Ferns shooter Maia Wilson returned to her usual form after a couple of wobbly performances, connecting well with Te Paea Selby-Rickit, who played a critical role from the circle edge.
Shannon Saunders added the needed experience to New Zealand’s attacking midcourt taking 20 centre pass receives while setting up 11 goal assists and 32 feeds.
On the other end of the court, Ferns defenders Kelly Jury and Karin Burger restricted space in the Roses shooting circle to shut down their early flow.
They left the Roses just five opportunities at goal – scoring on four – as the Ferns surged ahead to lead halftime by 10.
A number of positional changes saw a massive change in pace for England in the third quarter, however.
It sparked Ferns coach Dame Noeline Taurua’s first change of the night in Kimiora Poi.
The 23-year-old made an immediate impact in the centre bib, but the Roses continued to chip away at the Ferns’ advantage, forcing a number of turnovers.
The confidence in which the Ferns played the first half looked to disappear completely as the Roses ran riot to claim the win 49-45 and steal the Taini Jamison Trophy.
The Ferns have a couple of weeks to rest and assess before an exhibition series gets underway on October 10, where they will face the NZ Men’s Invitational and NZ U21.
Here’s how the match unfolded:
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