NWC 2023: Australia 55 – England 56
A historic win for England after they beat Australia in this years Netball World Cup..England followed South Africa’s stunning performance against New Zealand on Wednesday with one of their own when they scored their first-ever World Cup victory over 11-time champions Australia at the Netball World Cup 2023 in Cape Town. This is only the eighth time in total that the Roses have managed to beat the Diamonds in any competition since the teams’ first match in 1956.
It was England goal defence Fran Williams’ brilliant deflection in the final moments that prevented Australia from securing a draw. The win means England finishes top of Pool F with Australia second. Both teams are through to the semifinals which will be contested on Saturday.
It was England who gained an early advantage with shooters Eleanor Cardwell and Helen Housby capitalising on their opportunities. A late intercept by Funmi Fadoju on goal defence gave England a 15-13 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Superstar Australian defender Courtney Bruce was substituted by Sarah Klau and she immediately made her impact felt, helping Australia regain ground and overtake England for a 32-26 lead at halftime.
In the second half, England started chipping away at the Australian lead.
The third quarter saw changes for both teams, with Williams moving into goal defence for England and Fadoju moving to goalkeeper. For Australia, Jamie-Lee Price replaced Paige Hadley on centre.
With solid play and key turnovers, England won the third quarter 18-13 and headed into the final 15 minutes of the match just one goal behind Australia.
The Roses took the lead early in the final quarter with a goal by Cardwell. Australia stayed strong on defence while England remained calm in the pressure cooker situation.
The match ebbed and flowed in the final minutes, with neither side giving an inch. Ultimately though, Australia lost pivotal moments throughout the match, handing England the upset victory.
England goal attack Helen Housby was named Most Valuable Player. She sank all 22 attempts at goal, was involved in 12 goal assists, responsible for six turnovers in general play and grabbed an intercept to boot.
Australian coach Stacey Marinkovich said her team had their chances and they will have to take a look at how to be more direct.
“In terms of our discipline, I don’t think we were too bad. There were moments when we had to accumulate pressure a little earlier. Our second quarter was very good in terms of how we were able to get the ball to the shot. It was loud out there, no doubt, and we haven’t had that for a bit. I don’t know if the atmosphere unsettled us, but we didn’t stay calm and go through our structures when we needed to.”
When asked about the tag of “underdogs” coming into the World Cup, England coach Jess Thirlby said her side don’t pay much attention to what anyone else thinks.
“From a netball perspective, we know how good we are. From a technical point of view, we are on par with the top teams. The most reassuring thing we are taking away from today is to be able to come back from eight down and see a game out in the closing quarter, this is the most valuable thing we can take away.”
Q2: 32-26 (19-11)
Q3: 45-44 (13-18)
Q4: 55-56 (10-12)
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Helen Housby (England)