England are one step closer to bringing the Netball World Cup home
Words by Kirsty Hoggins
With Jamaica ranked as number 2 in the world, and England ranked as number 3, a game of this calibre would have been better expected as a World Cup Final. However, in stage 2 of the preliminaries, we saw England and Jamaica face off in netball of the highest quality. We previously saw these 2 teams compete in the 2018 Commonwealth Games semi-final, where England took the win by only 1 goal, and went on to win the Gold Medal for the first time in Netball History.
Coming off the back of a surprising loss to South Africa, and an unexpectedly unpolished performance throughout this World Cup, Jamaica arrived ready to re-establish themselves as one of the best teams in the world. England were on a dominant 3 game winning streak having beaten Samoa with a 66+ goal difference. However, The Roses were one player down, with Goal Defence and starting player, Layla Guscoth, rupturing her achilles a few days previous. This game would be an indicator of which team has what it takes to make it through to the semi-finals, with all to play for for Jamaica, who could not afford another loss.
Both teams came looking for a win, with a match-up of some of the best players in the world. England Roses coach, Tracey Neville, played her starting 7 players for the whole 60 minutes for the first time in this World Cup; she knew England would need their absolute best performance to rival Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls. In Jamaica’s attack end, we saw Jamaica captain, Jhaniele Fowler, put in an outstanding performance with a 100% shooting success rate, with 43 out of 43 shots going in. Also excelling was the Jamaican defence, with GK Sterling, and WD Williams making it incredibly difficult for England to get the ball into shooting position. Although England attackers, Housby and Harten had to battle to get the ball into the D, they were well supported by the phenomenal centre-court play of England Captain, Guthrie, and WA, Pitman, who seamlessly fed the ball to the shooters against tough opposition and many knocks from the Jamaican side.
In a game that was at times, neck and neck, England managed to soar ahead in the 4th quarter, propelled forward by the support of a home crowd in the Liverpool M&S Arena. With a strong finish of 56-48, England have 2 more games to conquer in this group and with a win yesterday against South Africa, they’ve booked their place in the World Cup Semi-Final.