England Head Into The Netball World Cup On A High
January 29, 2019
As a sport, netball is hitting an all-time high of popularity in England. From grassroot participation to the golden glory of the international team, it is hard to ignore the recent success of the sport. For the first time the recognition of netball is going beyond the court with the girls scooping up two awards at the Sports Personality of the Year celebrations – Team of the Year and Sporting Moment of the Year, following their historic 2018 performances.
The Quad Series has set the tone for the big year that faces the England team. The Netball World Cup is taking place in Liverpool in July, with all England matches sold out already, the country is well and truly behind the girls taking their second major title.
Although the Roses finished the Series without the title after a shock defeat to a strong South African side, the girls beat both New Zealand and Australia in their last International matches before the World Cup.
England, currently ranked World Number four, beat the Silver Ferns by equalling their best win over the side by thirteen goals, 54-41. England’s shooting partnership of Joanne Harten and Helen Housby is becoming a force to be reckoned with 86% shooting success between them for the match.
Yet following their win against New Zealand, England suffered a shock defeat against South Africa at the Copper Box, making a number of unforced errors in the process which allowed a resilient South African team to pull ahead. In what was the Roses first defeat since October, the girls had to bounce back for their last match of the series.
And bounce back they did finishing the series by beating Australia 52-49. However, to claim the trophy, The Roses had to win by five goals to take their first Quad Title, and while they had led by this margin at a number of points throughout the match, England couldn’t keep their desired lead. A bitter-sweet ending to a captivating tournament.
Indeed, it was only the seventh time in 76 matches that England had beaten the World Number One ranked side, but the third time in their last four encounters which shows just how far England have come on recent years.
The Roses will now focus on their club netball until coming back together on the International stage in July. Most of the team will compete against each other in the Superleague series, while some head to the domestic league in Australia.
The England team led by the most capped Neville of the Neville family, Tracey, are going from strength to strength. For the first time in a number of years, teams are hesitant to play against a successful England side. We’re no longer a team that make up the numbers in competition but a team that have the ability to compete, have the ability to win, and have the ability to cause an upset. A Nations favourite: an underdog.
Australia and New Zealand have dominated netball for the last forty years on the world stage. Between them, the two teams have won every Netball World Cup since 1979, and the upcoming World Cup is the first time in recent years that the final is not an almost guaranteed Australia v New Zealand match.
With growing success on and off the court the England team have not only managed to capture the hearts of the British public, but gain new fans, new sponsors, and a new found love of the sport. The Golden Girls have captured the Nations heart and have a home crowd behind them to help steer them to victory in July, for the first time in a long time, the competition is heating up.
England have made their mark on the International stage, and July’s World Cup is set to be a historic event. Plus, it’s all on home soil.
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Author: Beth Gunter
Beth has a First Class Degree in Sports Journalism from the University of East London, and has done work experience for Leyton Orient Football Club, Dagenham and Redbridge and filmed for BT Sport. She currently volunteers with Volleyball England at major events and is based in Southampton.