New Zealand won the first match of a limited-Test series by beating a severely disrupted and understrength Jamaica 70-45.
Jamaica had beaten NZ at the Commonwealth Games, but arrived in New Zealand with five of their 12-strong squad unable to make it in time for Wednesday’s opening match in Auckland.
That resulted in Jamaica having to call up coach Connie Francis, in her 50s, and who played in her first World Cup in 1987, while Romelda Aiken-George joined the squad from Australia as an emergency member after recently having her first child.
The tourists also had Carla Borrego, 38 – who was part of the Jamaican side that won bronze at the 2003 Netball World Cup – as another emergency addition to the already understrength touring squad.
The dominance against a Jamaican side missing players, experience and time to adjust to New Zealand time – they got off a 16-hour flight from the US on Tuesday yesterday – saw the Silver Ferns head into the first break up 21-10.
Jamaica started the second quarter in more promising fashion, before the Silver Ferns struck back to go into half-time 36-20 ahead to the delight of the Auckland crowd.
A pair of three-goal runs helped the Silver Ferns take control again out of the break as the lead reached 20 goals although errors started to creep into the New Zealand attack, leading to turnovers, before they went 54-33 up going into the final quarter. They went on to win 70-45.
The visitors won’t have long to recover from the 25-goal defeat with the second match of the two-Test series being played on Thursday night in Auckland.