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Funmi Fadoju for England v New Zealand

England and South Africa both tasted defeat in their final round-robin games of the Quad Series to set up a meeting in the third-place play-off.

The Vitality Roses built strongly into the game thanks to the defensive work of Funmi Fadoju and Layla Guscoth, but could not hold off a late New Zealand rally.

South Africa were impressive in their loss to reigning champions Australia with strong performances from Netball Super League players across the court.

After a 46-46 draw earlier in the round-robin stage, England and South Africa will now battle for bronze.

Who else but Fadoju? 

Funmi Fadoju spent the 2022 Netball Super League season making a name for herself in the UK, but now the world knows about her as she put on another stellar performance against the Silver Ferns.

In a fiery battle with goal shooter Grace Nweke, Fadoju held her own as the two 20-year-olds engaged in a fascinating tussle.

Fadoju’s work rate and athleticism were matched by Surrey Storm’s Guscoth at wing defence to see the defensive trio, which also included Geva Mentor, firing on all cylinders as New Zealand held a narrow three-goal lead at quarter-time.

Clarke nears milestone 

London Pulse’s Jade Clarke was called into the centre position for the second quarter to give Team Bath’s Imogen Allison a deserved break after a lung-busting stint, and in doing so reached 199 appearances in the red dress.

The 39-year-old’s experience showed as she waited patiently for the right time to send the ball into the shooting circle having wrestled back possession from a New Zealand steal.

Clarke also had her eyes on the clock at the end of the second quarter to ensure England had the centre pass when play resumed after the break with the Silver Ferns leading by six.

With 11 minutes to play England had cut New Zealand’s advantage and moved ahead thanks to a stellar third quarter which they took 14-10.

All parts of the Vitality Roses game came together to frustrate New Zealand and draw them into errors, with the mid-court and shooters able to capitalise on the defence’s strong showing.

England could not keep hold of the lead as the Silver Ferns fought back as the clock ticked down, eventually winning 55-45 and confirming their place in the gold-medal match.

Vimbela and Venter a potent axis 

Loughborough Lightning’s Zanele Vimbela was in Australia’s way from the get-go, as she combined in the defensive circle with Shadine van der Merwe of Manchester Thunder.

Having come up against the best defenders the Netball Super League has to offer, Ine-Mari Venter of Saracens Mavericks was undaunted when facing the Diamonds defence, shooting from long range to beat the buzzer and ensure the Proteas ended the first quarter just three goals behind.

Australia gave South Africa no chance of closing the gap any further at the start of the second half, scoring five unanswered goals.

The Proteas rallied as Van der Merwe stretched every sinew to try to stop balls into Sophie Garbin and Kiera Austin, as South Africa cut the gap to trail 35-28 at half-time.

Potgieter keeps it 100 

Australia kept South Africa at bay in the third quarter to move to 51-38 with one quarter to go, but the Proteas brought on Lenize Potgieter for the final 15 minutes and she had an instant impact scoring the first goal of the quarter.

The goal shooter was able to find space and find the net with impressive regularity as South Africa went toe to toe with the Commonwealth champion in the opening stages of the final quarter.

Potgieter did not miss with all six of her attempts on goal as the game ended 65-48 to Australia.

England and South Africa will now meet in the third-place play-off at 2pm GMT tomorrow live on Sky Sports.


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