New Zealand’s netball team, the Silver Ferns, won the Vitality Netball World Cup in Liverpool this morning. Their final game was against Australia, and it was neck-and-neck right up until the last quarter of the game when three well-known senior players gained possession of the ball. The three players were Jane Watson, Casey Kopua and Katrina Rore. They are all defence players. The final goals were scored by Maria Folau and Ameliaranne Ekenasio. The Silver Ferns finished the game on a score of 52-51.
The Silver Ferns have not won the world cup since 2003, and last year the team was very unhappy that they did not win a medal in the Commonwealth Games and had been on a losing streak. Their wonderful success today is attributed to their new coach, Noeline Taurua, who brought Casey Kopua and Laura Langman back from retirement. This was Casey Kopua’s last game as she will now retire again.
neck-and-neck: this term is used to describe a competition where the competition is very close and we don’t know who will win. It describes the necks of horses in an even race.
a losing streak: a run of bad luck. If a team loses several games, they might worry that they are on a losing streak.
retirement: when you stop a career, this is retirement. Usually, we do this when we are 65, but for professional sportspeople, retirement is usually in mid-30s.