Silver Ferns beaten 67-51 by Jamaica in Commonwealth Games semifinal

Silver Ferns goal shoot Maia Wilson competes for the ball with Latanya Wilson and Shamera Sterling of Jamaica during the netball semifinal on day nine of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Silver Ferns goal shoot Maia Wilson competes for the ball with Latanya Wilson and Shamera Sterling of Jamaica during the netball semifinal on day nine of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The Silver Ferns look likely to miss a medal at the Commonwealth Games for the second time in succession.

New Zealand were no match for Jamaica and star shooter Jhaniele Fowler in their women’s netball semifinal in Birmingham on Saturday night (NZ time), going down 67-51.

That consigned them to a bronze medal playoff match on Monday morning (NZ time) against the losers of the second semifinal between hosts and defending champions England and Australia.

In front of a packed and noisy crowd of 9500 despite the early start (9am UK time), the Silver Ferns were second-best from the opening whistle as Fowler, a former standout with the Southern Steel netting all 54 of her shots.

At the 2018 Commonwealth Games, New Zealand were beaten by Australia in the semifinals and then missed a medal when Jamaica defeated them in the bronze medal playoff. The disappointing campaign brought about the end of Janine Southby’s time as coach.

A combination of injuries and unavailability saw New Zealand enter the tournament with a team short of top-drawer talent and light on experience at big events.

Jhaniele Fowler was unstoppable for Jamaica as they advanced to the final.

Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Jhaniele Fowler was unstoppable for Jamaica as they advanced to the final.

The Silver Ferns began with a starting line up of Maia Wilson (goal shoot) and Te Paea Selby-Rickit in the attacking circle, captain Gina Crampton at wing attack, centre Whitney Souness, Kate Heffernan (wing defence), Phoenix Karaka (goal defence) and Sulu Fitzpatrick (goal keep).

They made a nervous start with Wilson missing her first shot at goal from close range and soon fell four behind the Sunshine Girls, playing with confidence after their upset win over Australia.

Jamaica ended the quarter with a huge 18-9 lead and increased that advantage in the second quarter before coach Dame Noeline Taurua replaced Fitzpatrick with Kelly Jury to try and counter Fowler’s impact. Kayla Johnson also came off the bench in place of Heffernan but when Jamaica swept the length of the court to score just before the break, the game was as good as over.

Grace Nweke replaced Wilson after the major break and she gave the World Cup winners a presence and seems a likely starter in the quest for bronze.

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