England’s Roses notched up a heart-stopping victory against Australia’s Diamonds at the Netball World Cup 2023, marking their first win over the world’s number one team at a championship. This eight-goal comeback victory secured England’s top spot in Group F in South Africa.
Roses Rise Against Diamonds
In one of the most intense matches of the tournament so far, England put on a display of tenacity and grit to overcome Australia. It is only the second time that the Roses have managed to beat Australia, with the last victory during the Commonwealth Games in 2018.
England started the game on the offensive, with the dynamic shooting combo of Helen Housby and Eleanor Cardwell helping England gain an early lead in the first quarter. However, in their quest to recapture the world title, the Diamonds changed their tactics and raced ahead at the end of the second quarter, leading by six goals at halftime.
Unfazed by the deficit, England, under the guidance of coach Jess Thirlby, restructured their team and strategy. Substitutions, such as the defensive pairing of Funmi Fadoju and Fran Williams along with wing-attack Chelsea Pitman, proved pivotal in the second half. These adjustments, combined with crucial interceptions from Imogen Allison, aided the Roses in turning the tide and gradually closing the gap on the Diamonds.
With the score 45-44 in favor of Australia heading into the fourth quarter, the Roses showed off their defensive prowess. A decisive tip from Williams in the last seconds helped England to keep possession, fend off Australia’s charges, and secure a historic 56-55 victory.
From Victory to Semi-finals
Following this historic victory, England will face New Zealand in the semi-finals, while Australia will tackle Jamaica. England’s Roses will approach their semi-final match with heightened confidence following their impressive comeback against the world number ones.
Coach Thirlby, on the other hand, was cautious in her post-game remarks, emphasising the need of focusing on the games ahead. “We know we’ve got two games left, and it means nothing if we can’t follow it up,” Thirlby said, highlighting the importance of consistency.
In other news, defending champions New Zealand suffered their most major World Cup defeat against Jamaica, setting up an intriguing semi-final meeting against the revitalised Roses. Despite their defeat, the Silver Ferns have done enough to go to the quarterfinals, where they will face an England side on a roll.
With the Netball World Cup 2023 reaching its final stages, the excitement grows. For the time being, the Roses are focused on their semi-final match and a possible first World Cup victory.