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Friday, 2 August, 2002, 21:15 GMT 22:15 UK

Top seeds reach netball final

Top two seeds Australia and New Zealand will meet in Sunday's netball final after both won their semis.

Favourites Australia beat England 49-38 while second seeds New Zealand saw off Jamaica 69-51.

World and reigning Commonwealth champions Australia were without their leading shooting pair Catherine Cox and Sherelle McMahon but still managed to hold off a brave England side.

"It was definitely our best performance of the week"
Fiona Murtagh
England

The match ebbed and flowed but Australia always held the upper hand.

England, who had beaten their opponents just once in the previous 35 meetings, were still alive going into the final quarter of the game.

But Australia then stepped up the pace, scoring five goals without reply as centre Rebecca Sanders eventually prevailed in her absorbing contest with England captain Olivia Murphy.

Meanwhile, New Zealand goal shooter Irene Van Dyk maintained her prolific form of the group phase, shooting 41 goals against Jamaica.

It was an absorbing encounter with New Zealand's physical power gradually proving too much for Jamaica's speed and agility.

Jamaica closed to within six points at the end of the third quarter but the Silver Ferns pulled away again thanks to some sharp shooting.

New Zealand have averaged more than 86 goals a game - 13 more than any other side.

Earlier in the day, South Africa thrashed Wales 71-27 to earn fifth place in the event.

Wales, who struggled to pierce the well-drilled South African defence, end the tournament in sixth.


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