Australia win Quad Series, hosts finish 4th

Australia won their seventh Quad Series in eight tournaments as they beat New Zealand 56-50 in the final after England had secured third place with victory over South Africa earlier in the day in Cape Town.

The Silver Ferns had led 31-30 at half-time before Australia fought back to claim the second half 26-19 and seal yet another title that strengthens their place as favourites heading into this year’s World Cup, also at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

Goal shooter Cara Koenen starred for Australia as she finished 33 from 34 with welcome support from goal attack Steph Wood’s 23 from 28.

New Zealand were led by Grace Nweke with 39 from 45 and Ameliaranne Ekenasio’s 11 from 11 but were made to pay for seven turnovers in the third quarter.

It marked Australia’s fourth straight victory over the Ferns dating back to the Constellation Cup in 2022.

“Really, really happy with that one, we were able to play New Zealand two times while we were here and I think we felt it in that second match,” said Australia captain Liz Watson.

“It’s really good confidence-building for us, we put out a really great last quarter, that’s what we’ve been wanting to do this whole series so it’s great to have that win.

“I think it was just staying patient with our attack and we know they play really great area defense so being able to read that and not throw into what they’re setting up… it takes a lot of thinking and vision.

“New Zealand are great at slowing down our natural fast pace so it’s trying to build that tempo up and get the style we want to play so I was happy we could do that.”

England finished their Quad Series campaign on a high as they defeated South Africa 49-42 on Jade Clarke’s landmark 200th appearance for the Roses.

Funmi Fadoju, who was not born when Clarke made her debut in 2003, starred as Player of the Match to preview a starring role when England return to Cape Town for the Netball World Cup later this year.

Jess Thirlby’s changes again moved into the spotlight as a rotation of her initial front seven in the second quarter saw England combat a rhythm-building Proteas attack and build a 25-23 lead heading into the third.

Clarke and Helen Housby returned to the court in the third before Fadoju produced a string of crucial turnovers to dent South Africa’s momentum as the teams refused to be split at 11-11 ahead of the final 15 minutes.

The return of Layla Guscoth helped solidify the Roses defensively in the final quarter while Eleanor Cardwell rejoined the attack to assist Housby in establishing a five-goal lead for her side.

Fadoju proceeded to blunt South Africa’s response with two superb takes in the defensive third before England build on their lead inside the five minute mark, Thirlby’s side eventually seeing out the win buy a seven-point margin.