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Australia downs NZ in netball final

Australia’s netballers confirmed their status as the world’s best on Sunday, storming home to beat New Zealand 58-57 in extra time in a thrilling final of the world championship in Singapore.


In another chapter between the game’s greatest rivals, the match went into over-time after the Diamonds clawed their way back to tie up the game 46-46 at the end of regular time.

Young shooter Caitlin Bassett was the hero for the Australians, slotting a goal in the dying seconds to steal the win.

The teams went goal for goal in extra time, which is seven minutes each way, and were locked at 52-52 when they changed ends.

Silver Ferns shooter Maria Tutaia had the chance to win but missed her goal and Bassett made no mistake down the other end.

After trailing for much of the game, Bassett slotted two goals in the final minute to bring her side back to level and then missed another in the dying seconds which would have given the Diamonds victory.

It was sweet revenge for the Diamonds after losing the Commonwealth Games gold medal to the Silver Ferns last year in Delhi in double overtime.

The win gave the defending champions their 10th world title, after winning the 2007 crown in Auckland over the Kiwis.

Trailing 26-20 at halftime the introduction of young sharp-shooter Bassett proved the difference for the Australians.

They went on a unchallenged run of five goals to get within a point before New Zealand coach Ruth Aitken called time out.

Heading into the final 23-year-old Bassett, who only had five Test caps prior to the tournament, was shooting 100 per cent through five games according to official statistics, although she believed she had one miss.

The 192cm Bassett replaced Catherine Cox and her extra height gave the Australians a better target against the physical defence of Silver Ferns skipper Casey Williams.

New Zealand led until the 39th minute, when Australia briefly stole a 30-29 lead, before the Kiwis again hit the front and were up 36-35 at three-quarter time.

It looked like the Silver Ferns would take the title before Bassett’s late flourish.

Veteran shooter Irene van Dyk was pivotal in the first half for the Kiwis.

Van Dyk, 39, shot 100 per cent in the opening half, with 17 goals from 17 attempts to help set up the six goal lead at the main break.

But she was kept quiet in the second half, as the Aussies forced their way back into the match.


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