Commonwealth Games 2014: Tearful England fall foul of All Black mentality

England lost possession in the closing stages and Maria Tutaia scored in the final second to clinch a 35-34 win


The king of the track was not in the house, Usain Bolt having decided to concentrate on getting ready for last night’s  4 x 100m relay final rather than take another peek at New Zealand’s netballers. Still, Prince Edward was watching from the stands, and there was television royalty too.

“This is the big one,” Clare Balding told the woman with the court-side mic during the break after the opening quarter. “There’s nothing I’d like to see more than England playing in the gold-medal match.”

The trouble was, in order to do that, England needed to get past the women in black at the semi-final stage yesterday. The New Zealand netball team might go by the name of the Silver Ferns but they are dressed all in black – and, sadly for Ms Balding and the rest of those rooting for a ground-breaking English victory, they have the same granite mentality as their male national rugby union counterparts.

This could have been the Aviva Stadium in Dublin rather than Hall Four of the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre in Glasgow, only this time the heartache inflicted by the New Zealanders was at the expense of England’s netballers rather than Ireland’s rugby players.


Last November the All Blacks were 22-17 down in the Irish capital with no time left on the clock when they managed to snatch a 24-22 overtime victory from the jaws of what would have been their first-ever loss to Ireland, Ryan Crotty squeezing home for a try in the left corner and Aaron Cruden landing the conversion.

Irish eyes turned from smiling to a flood of tears that might have caused the Liffey to burst. It was the same for England’s netballers on the banks of the Clyde yesterday.

They had a place in today’s gold-medal match within sight with some 15 seconds left on the clock as they stole possession and launched a counterattack. The ball came out to Kadeen Corbin, wide on the left, but England’s goal attack (like her sister and team-mate Sasha, a cousin of Asha Philip, the sprinter who finished fourth in the women’s 100m final on Monday) crucially lost possession.

New Zealand did not blow their chance. They worked the ball to Maria Tutaia, their substitute goal attack, and with two seconds remaining she dispatched her decisive shot.

There was just a second left when the ball passed through the hoop. When it bounced off the floor that was it. The final score on the board flashed up: New Zealand 35 England 34.

Instead of becoming the first side to break the Anzac stranglehold on gold and silver in Commonwealth Games netball (New Zealand and Australia have contested all four finals, the Kiwis winning the most recent two), poor Corbin and Co, who led by three goals at one stage in the final quarter, were broken women.

They left the arena in tears, just as they had done a week earlier. On that occasion the shot that consigned them to a 49-48 pool defeat against Australia had been sunk with 15 seconds left. Rather than going for gold and revenge against the Aussies today, England will be attempting to lift themselves for the bronze-medal match against Jamaica.

“Gutted is probably the word I’m going to use continuously but I am very proud,” England’s coach, Anna Mayes, said. “This is the best England side there’s ever been and we genuinely believed we could take the semi-final and be playing off for gold tomorrow. We need to turn it around and deal with the emotions that we have now, and that’s what we will be doing.

“The girls will come out all guns blazing tomorrow. I will guarantee you that.”

What can certainly be relied upon is that the Silver Ferns will bring an All Black mentality to the final against their trans-Tasman rivals, who overcame Jamaica 57-42 in the second semi-final

Asked whether she feared  New Zealand might have blown it when England attacked with the scores tied in that final minute, the Kiwis’ wing attack Liana Leota replied: “No, I never thought that. I knew we had the patience and still enough opportunity.

“We practise for situations like that in our training, so we know what the pressure is going to be like, how to absorb it and what structures to put in place. We  are prepared.”

As it happened, Leota’s husband was busy in sporting preparations of his own yesterday, getting ready for the new Aviva Premiership rugby union season.

“He’s in training in Manchester today but he’ll be here tomorrow,” she said.

Johnny Leota is a powerhouse centre with Sale Sharks, a team-mate of Danny Cipriani. Like his wife, he plays on the international sporting stage – but for the big-hitting Samoans rather than the ruthless All Blacks.

FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Volunteer Trustee opportunities now available at The Society for Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Volunteer your expertise as Tr...

Early Years Educator

£68 - £73 per day + Competitive rates of pay based on experience: Randstad Edu...

Nursery Nurse

£69 - £73 per day + Competitive London rates of pay: Randstad Education Group:...

Primary KS1 NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam