April 11, 2018 / 1:32 AM / 5 months ago

England loss means New Zealand's netball medal chances hang by thread

GOLD COAST, Australia (Reuters) - Jo Harten and Helen Housby were clinical in the shooting circle as England beat New Zealand 54-45 in their final Pool B game at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games on Wednesday, leaving the Silver Ferns’ medal chances hanging by a thread.

The victory, built on a strong second and third quarter where Tracey Neville’s team outscored the two-times champions 28-22, was their first win over New Zealand in a major championship. It was also their largest victory margin.

The New Zealanders are on six points and now in danger of not qualifying for the semi-finals, having already been beaten 57-53 by Malawi, and could be forced to rely on goal percentage to advance.

Uganda, who are third in Pool B on four points, could still finish second if they beat Scotland heavily later on Wednesday.

The second-placed team in the pool will likely have to face world and Commonwealth champions Australia in the semi-finals.

The unbeaten Australians face Jamaica, who also have a 4-0 record, later on Wednesday for the top-spot in Pool A.

New Zealand have only ever finished first or second in the Commonwealth Games netball tournament since it was introduced at Kuala Lumpur in 1998.

Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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