21 March 2017

Netball: England inflict Series whitewash on Australia in Birmingham

January 28, 2013

England gave their visitors an Australia Day they wouldn’t forget on Saturday, for all the wrong reasons.

The hosts piled on the misery for an already deflated Australian Diamonds as they secured a third win in the space of a week to leave the World Champions heading home winless and demoralised.

In scenes never witnessed in netballing history, the hosts fought back from eight goals behind to secure a 58-51 victory in Birmingham and inflict a Series whitewash on their visitors.

The early stages of the contest were scintillating to behold with each attack instantly firing. Joanne Harten and Pamela Cookey providing the end product to some flowing moves through the mid-court for the hosts.

Turnovers were at a premium as both sides traded blows, attack was definitely the best form of defence. The first miss of the match saw Harten bounce one off the ring from range and the Australian side converted the turnover. This had the Diamonds tails up and they punished a further mistake as Sasha Corbin’s feed into Harten strayed long. The visitors capitalised to move 15-11 in front at the end of the opening quarter.

It was the Diamonds who continued where they had left off with some excellent play around the shooting circle, Madison Browne pulling the strings. The gap moved to eight and there was a chance that England would be overrun.

A medical time-out halted the reply but it failed to distract Harten who clawed England back to within one. Suddenly the hosts had the chance to pull level with Australia but a feed into Cookey was behind the captain and the Diamonds were able to convert the turnover. At half-time it was the most slender of advantages for the visitors, 26-25.

In a bid to freshen things up, Anna Mayes introduced Kadeen Corbin after the interval. The youngster made a positive impact at Wembley Arena on Wednesday and she was called into action to replace a tiring Harten.

With scores being traded, England managed to pull level from their centre pass.

However, with the Diamonds reeling from letting an eight goal lead slip, England started to pass the ball around more positively in the mid-court.

An exceptional intercept from Sara Bayman for a late turnover which was converted gave an indication to the change in momentum. England held a 43-38 advantage heading into the final quarter.

The inevitable Diamonds fight back was made at the start of the fourth quarter as they instantly pulled themselves to within two.

Eboni Beckford-Chambers and Francis led the defensive line superbly. Unlike the Wembley encounter, there would be no grandstand finish, as with two minutes to go the hosts were practically coasting with a six goal gap.

There was more of a certainty to the end of the match in Birmingham. This didn’t detract from the remarkable noise and jubilant cheering at the final whistle but perhaps this Series has been a watershed moment for the side.

Consistency has been a key word used by Mayes in the previous 18 months, unlocking this devilish quality would lead to more success. The Head Coach has been quick to comment that despite the Series whitewash, there was no game in which four consistent quarters were produced. However, it was a third straight win over the Diamonds, and you don’t get more consistent than that.

England Netball report
Sportsister, The Women’s Sports Magazine

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