Netball: Silver Ferns scrape past newcomers Uganda in Nations Cup at London

The Silver Ferns have scraped past a rapidly improving Uganda 65-60 at the Nations Cup in London.

Both teams played with accuracy and ambition, with turnover opportunities few and far between. 

After trailing by two goals at halftime, the Ferns' shooting tandem of Grace Nweke and Georgia Heffernan clicked into gear to ensure New Zealand bounced back from their heavy defeat to Australia in the tournament opener.

 Nweke converted 53 of her 54 attempts on goal, while Heffernan added 12 of 13.

Grace Nweke soars to take a pass.
Grace Nweke soars to take a pass. Photo credit: Getty Images

The Silver Ferns shuffled their pack in the midcourt, which was highlighted by the return of wing defence Michaela Sokolich-Beatson to international play for the first time in five years, after two ruptured Achilles tendon injuries. 

Midcourter and oncourt captain Kate Heffernan got the start at wing defence, with twin sister Georgia following up her first-round international debut with a second successive start. Whitney Souness lined up at wing attack.

"We knew that they were going to be a tough team to come up against and we needed to be on our game," said Silver Ferns defender Karin Burger.

"We were prepared physically to grind out the match, but a lot of the time, it's the mental stuff, and we wanted to fix yesterday's errors [against Australia] and make sure every pass was played for what it is and that every pass is crucial.  

"We made some growth, but I think there's a little bit more growth to happen going into our game against England. We've had a lot of young players coming into this group, but everyone deserves to be here, and it's going to take a bit of time to gel and get those connections 100 percent.

"It's exciting to see what the future of our netball looks like.''

The Silver Ferns move on to face hosts England in their final round robin match on Sunday.

Silver Ferns 65 (Nweke 53/54, Heffernan 12/13) Uganda 60 (Cholhok 45/49, Eyaru 11/11)