2022 Quad Series team review: England
HOME nation England enjoyed an impressive 2022 Quad Series campaign, going undefeated through the round robin stage and playing three quarters of phenomenal netball against the world’s best nation. Though the fourth term might have left some Roses fans a little disappointed considering what could have been, when assessing the tournament as a whole, there was plenty to smile about ahead of a home Commonwealth Games later in the year.
WHAT WENT RIGHT?
Despite losing Jo Harten on the eve of the Quad Series, the Roses were able to make do with the shooting duo of Eleanor Cardwell and George Fisher alongside the experienced Helen Housby. Housby yet again stood tall in the group match against Australia, nailing the last second goal to draw level with the Diamonds. Outstanding leaders Serena Guthrie and Layla Guscoth were incredible, and the Roses showcased their rotational ability with the likes of Jade Clarke and Laura Malcolm able to rotate through the midcourt, and Natalie Metcalf hold up the wing attack position.
WHAT WENT WRONG?
Clearly the last quarter of the final. Up until that point, there was very little to fault from an England perspective. The Roses had comfortably beaten the Proteas, held off against the Silver Ferns, and come back from a deficit against the Diamonds to tie the group match. After three quarters, they also had the momentum and looked in control to win their first ever Quad Series. Unfortunately it seemingly came unstuck in the final term, scoring just five goals to 18 as the Diamonds ran away with what appeared to be a comfortable win. Many might have been a little surprised by the choice to bring on the less experienced Malcolm over Clarke, but the Roses learnt a lot from the match.
Guscoth and Guthrie were among the most outstanding players in the tournament, and consistent throughout each and every game they played. Metcalf was solid throughout the midcourt as well, with Housby’s reliability and versatility key. When on-song, Cardwell was hard to stop, and Eboni Usoro-Brown was able to be an impact player and give Geva Mentor a rest, further showcasing the depth the English have in the defensive goal circle.
There were no massive surprises given the Roses have been able to solidify their team in recent international series, but Malcolm was one who stepped up when required. Though she might have lacked experience compared to others on the court, she had a strong performance against Australia in the first game the Roses played against them, and was able to step into the centre bib to allow Guthrie to roll back to wing defence.
The last quarter of the final aside, England could finish up the 2022 Quad Series pleased with what they achieved. Though it did not get them the chocolates, the Roses came as close as they ever have before, and did enough in the first three quarters to know they can challenge the Diamonds. The wins over both New Zealand and South Africa will also give the Roses plenty of confidence into the future.