Selection choices loom for NZU21s coach
Selection dilemmas is the happy position coach Kiri Wills faces after the NZU21 team made short work of Scotland following a 78-26 win at the Netball World Youth Cup Gaborone 2017 in Botswana on Monday.
In the process of securing a third straight win in pool play, the defending champions trialled another shooting line-up. This time, 1.88m 17-year-old Southern Steel shooter Aliyah Dunn was given the start at goal attack when combining with the rock-solid Maia Wilson.
After sitting out the previous match, captain Michaela Sokolich-Beatson also returned to play an influential 60 minutes with a strong all-round defensive outing from both the goal and wing defence positions.
Playing in their alternative strip, predominantly white with black panelling, the New Zealanders were tested early by a game Scotland. The much shorter Scottish defenders, with captain Bethany Sutherland leading the way, did a fine job is disrupting before the New Zealanders found their flow.
The tall shooting pair of Wilson and Dunn dominated with their offensive rebounding skills as New Zealand worked into a position of control.
Finishing strongly, it was the New Zealanders who raced into the first break with a 16-7 lead.
Starting strongly on the resumption, Wilson continued to impress as she held sway under the New Zealand goal. Able to play the finishing role with her holding ability or equally adept as a feeder, Wilson, in tandem with Dunn, found improved connections during the second stanza in building on their lead.
Wing defence Fa’amu Ioane was also prominent, getting her hands on plenty of turnover ball as New Zealand hit the half-time break in command when leading 35-15.
With 1.92m Silver Ferns goalkeeper Kelly Jury, 16-year-old Silver Ferns trialists Tiana Metuarau and lively centre Kimiora Poi introduced for the second half, the New Zealand performance levels lifted during a forceful third stanza.
Impact player Savannah Antoine made a good fist of disrupting from wing defence for Scotland while Sutherland continued her strong outing but the New Zealanders were in no mood for charity. With Poi and her Beko Netball League team-mate Mila Reuelu-Buchanan sparking the attack line, New Zealand delivered in decisive fashion.
Ticking over 23 goals for the quarter, there was also no shirking on defence, the New Zealanders holding Scotland to just five goals when taking a 57-20 lead at the last break.
It was more of the same in the run home, Scotland being held to just six goals but reaching their highest total against New Zealand in a world championship. On the other side of the coin, New Zealand impressed to equal their best total against Scotland at this level.
New Zealand have a rest day tomorrow before resuming against Sri Lanka in their final match of pool play at 7pm (NZ time, Wednesday).