Northern Ireland’s miserable run at the Netball World Cup continued with a 77-28 defeat by New Zealand in Liverpool.
The Silver Ferns maintained their 100 percent record with a resounding victory which all but confirms their place in the semi-finals ahead of Thursday’s crunch clash with Australia.
They dominated with 86 shots compared to 44, with a 90 percent success rate, led by Ameliaranne Ekenasio’s 26 goals from 28 attempts and Maria Folau’s 31 from 36.
Dan Ryan’s Northern Ireland team were well beaten but will take encouragement from a strong finish to the game, with Ciara Crosbie scoring six goals from nine attempts, while Emma Magee was on target with 14 from 22.
“The last quarter was awesome,” Ryan told the BBC.
“When a scoreline blows out like that, sometimes it’s about how you conduct yourselves. They fought to the very end and that’s all you can ask for.
“Ciara Crosbie, who hasn’t seen much game time this World Cup, came onto the court and she got out there and opened up the circle, ran the base-line, pinged the ball around and some beautiful passages of play.
“I’m happy with how we finished the game, obviously some errors here and there as they put us under a lot of pressure, but I’m glad they finished it off with our highest-scoring quarter of the match.”
Northern Ireland’s final group match will be against Barbados as they seek to book a place in the play-off for ninth place.