2007 – 12TH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS (AUCKLAND, NZ)
The 12th World Championships headed to Auckland. New Zealand had taken up the slack to host the tournament after it was taken away from original hosts Fiji due to political turmoil. And Auckland did a great job at short notice. For the first time, the number of competing countries was capped at 16, with qualifying events held around the world.
One of the big highlights was the performance of Malawi. They had come to prominence at the 2006 commonwealth games with their exuberant celebration after beating South Africa, and here they climbed to fifth in the world after defeating the Proteas once again, thanks in no small part to the ageless Mary Waya.
The playoff for third was also a classic game. Jamaica dominated most of the match until an extraordinary late fightback from England that ultimately came up just short, Jamaica winning 53-52.
The final was a strange game. Australia was seemingly in control for most of the match, but misfiring shooters kept the Kiwis in the hunt. Australia led New Zealand 27-20 at half time, with sisters Nat and Laura von Bertouch in hot form in the midcourt.
The Australian shooting circle was a bit chaotic in the second half, up against a strong New Zealand defence led by Casey Williams. They scored just eight goals in the third quarter as the Silver Ferns narrowed the gap to three. Then came an extraordinary last quarter.
Australia managed just seven goals, but somehow that was enough as New Zealand only scored six. In what would be her last match, champion goal keeper Liz Ellis turned in a superhuman effort to continually deny Irene van Dyk and the Silver Ferns’ attack. The final score was 42-38 and Ellis, in tears, bowed out a winner with an amazing tally of 3 world and 2 commonwealth titles to her name.
It was also a great victory for Norma Plummer who had guided the Australian team through one of the toughest patches in its history and now had them back on top.