Roses rise to the occasion and topple the Diamonds

ENGLAND has done the unthinkable, defeating Australia by one goal in a thrilling final minute boilover which sees the Roses remain undefeated, while handing the Diamonds their first loss of the Netball World Cup.

Many thought that the Diamonds had this game in the bag with the Roses putting out some arguably scrappy performances of late. But the Roses proved those critics wrong with a 56-55 victory over the Diamonds who were challenged from the first whistle.

The Roses took the ascendancy heading into the first break, leading by two after a term which featured England’s only miss of the game. Truly a breathtaking performance by the English shooters.

It was also the defensive efforts from the Roses that shook the confidence of the Australian attackers, as England won three intercepts in the first term en route to finishing with seven overall.

Australia quickly responded, taking the second term convincingly by eight goals and flipping the story to put the pressure back on England. It was Steph Wood (19 goals) who stepped it up in the ring shooting 11 for the term while being the playmaker in attack to get it into partner in crime Cara Koenen (32) who had another solid game on the baseline and at the post.

England trailed by six going into the second half and it was time for the big guns to step up.

Ash Brazill wore Natalie Metcalf like a glove in the first half, heavily decreasing the amount of ball she touched and closing her off as an option in attack. Metcalf has an extremely quiet game to her standards, forcing Chelsea Pitman to be injected near the end of the third quarter, turning the game back in England’s favour thanks to her fresh legs and vision into the circle.

England was right back in the contest with an 18-13 third quarter, reducing the deficit to only one.

Player of the match Helen Housby was as consistent as ever this game shooting 22 goals at 100 per cent while doing plenty of work out the front. Her timing into the circle is impeccable and knew the exact moment when to make her presence felt in the circle while having a great eye into Eleanor Cardwell (34). Housby was somewhat costly with six turnovers, but that just goes to show how much she touched the ball and the amount of work she did with it.

Australia continued being the least penalised nation in the tournament with 47 compared to England’s 72, and just about had the better statistics than the Roses in every category other than intercepts and rebounds.

It was just the shooting percentage that let the Diamonds down, but it is hard to beat a side that only missed one goal. That just means the Diamonds needed to add more pressure in the midcourt and try to win back the ball further up the court and stop the ball from even getting into England’s shooting circle.

It was around near goal for goal in the fourth term, but who other than Cardwell to shoot the final goal to take the Roses in front and take the game leaving everyone on the edge of their seats.

Wales (70) defeated Trinidad & Tobago (55)

Wales made it two wins in a row with an impressive 15-goal victory over the Calypso Girls. The Welsh Feathers stepped up in the third term, outsourcing Trinidad & Tobago by 10 goals.

Joelisa Cooper had a big day Trinidad & Tobago in the attack end. She did the bulk of the work getting the ball into the shooting circle, with 33 feeds and 31 centre pass receives, and was able to notch 11 goals herself.

Phillipa Yarranton (17 goals, 22 feeds, 21 goal assists) really turned it around from yesterday having a shaky time out on court to earning player of the match this time round. She was constantly ticking over the scoreboard and did a lot of work outside of the circle as well while drawing the defence out to get better shooting positions in the circle.

Both sides had really good shooting percentages, both in the 90s, just going to show how focused the players were on the end goal of winning the game. The ball was on a string again for Bethan Dyke having a massive game with 53 feeds, 34 goal assists and 24 feeds. It was hard to stop Dyke and the Calypso Girls were unable to shut her down.

Jamaica (59) defeated New Zealand (48)

Jamaica defeated New Zealand by 11 goals, with the Silver Ferns being right in the contest until a disappointing final term where they were outscored by double.

The Kiwis slowly clawed back the lead to just two goals heading into the last break, but the Jamaican defence just smothered them and forced five turnovers.

The Sunshine Girls had zero turnover last term, just going to show how big of threats they are come finals and why they remained undefeated in the pool stages.

A 100 per cent shooting game from Jhaniele Fowler (49) was near impossible for the Silver Ferns to stop, but both nations did play a relatively clean game with their turnover account being within the acceptable range for an international standard.

Although, the Jamaicans needed to stay in play for longer with their 64 penalties letting them down, giving shooting sensations Maia Wilson (31) and Ameliaranne Ekenasio (17) way too many undefended and second chances at a goal.

New Zealand would be struggling to comprehend what happened over the last two days, with a draw and loss, but will hope to bounce back ready for a win tomorrow.

Fiji (46) defeated by Scotland (62)

Scotland earned a much needed win over Fiji, who would be disappointed with the results of the tournament, but having captured the imaginations of fans with great spark and entertainment factor.

It was the first and fourth quarter that really let the Pearls down, as they struggled to find the required four-quarter consistency. Iona Christian had a big game out in the midcourt for the Thistles with 41 feeds, 25 centre pass receives and 23 goal assists, just going to show that if she wanted the space that she could run into it for the ball and make it her own.

Bethan Goodwin was very impressive in half a game with 21 goals pairing up nicely with Niamh McCall (27) who found the rhythm again in the shooting circle, sweeping across the top of the circle and drawing a defender away for the ball to either go to her out the front or Goodwin out the back.

Kelera Nawai-Caucau did not make it easy though, using her footwork to confuse the space and win back a lot of ball for the Pearls with nine deflections, two intercepts and one rebound. Fiji will hope to improve on its performance, but can take a lot of positives out of this tournament.

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