The Australian FAST5 Flyers claimed Silver at the Fast5 Netball World Series contested at Auckland’s Trust Arena over the weekend.
For the second consecutive year the Australians were unable to topple the hosts, the New Zealand FAST5 Ferns, who claimed Gold after defeating their Tasman foes 35-31 in a thrilling Grand Final yesterday, Sunday 9 November.
The result sees the Flyers equal their best-ever finish for the modified version of the game, after the Aussies finished Runners-Up to the Kiwis at the 2013 tournament.
The Flyers trailed by 11 points late in the title decider before NSW junior and co-captain Erin Bell drained two three-point shots in Australia’s power play period – which doubled the scores – to close within three points of producing a remarkable upset.
With seconds left in the match, the desperate Flyers were unable to force the necessary turnover to give themselves a shot at snatching victory and the FAST5 Ferns held on for a four-goal victory.
Featuring four NSW netball juniors – Bell, Ashleigh Brazill, Gabi Simpson and Amorette Wild – the Aussies found themselves in second place and a spot in the title decider after finishing the regular rounds with four wins and one loss… ironically that loss against the Kiwis.
Australia still remains winless against New Zealand in the FAST5 format and has not beaten its trans-Tasman rival in the World Netball Series since 2011.
The victory means that New Zealand finished the tournament undefeated and, remarkably, have not lost a FAST5 match in the three years the modified format has been played. To top off a remarkable tournament the Kiwi captain, Laura Langman, was also named Player of the Tournament.
2015 NSW Swifts recruit Jade Clarke led her England Fives side to a third place finish after defeating the Jamaican Sunshine Girls, 42-39, in the Play-Off final. The Queens were without their enigmatic shooter, Mainland Tactix Mwai Kumwenda, who stayed in South Africa for dental surgery.
The future of the FAST5 Netball World Series is yet to be announced by the International Netball Federation (INF, however their President Molly Rhone confirmed the tournament would not be contested in New Zealand.
Congratulations to the Australian FAST5 Flyers on their Runners-Up finish!
Australian FAST5 Flyers
Erin Bell (co-Capt), Clare McMeniman (co-Capt), Karyn Bailey, Kate Beveridge, Ashleigh Brazill, Kate Moloney, Kate Shimmin, Gabi Simpson, Jo Weston, Amorette Wild.
Australian FAST5 Flyers – Results & Shooting Statistics
Round 1 – FAST5 Flyers 34 d Jamaican Sunshine Girls 13
Round 2 – FAST5 Flyers 30 d SPAR South Africa FAST5 8
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Round 3 – FAST5 Flyers 21 d by New Zealand FAST5 Ferns 30
Round 4 – FAST5 Flyers 35 d Malawi Queens 33
Round 5 – FAST5 Flyers 31 d England Fives 24
GRAND FINAL – FAST5 Flyers 31 d by New Zealand FAST5 Ferns 35
Photo Credit: Netball Australia Facebook