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  • Writer's pictureBethany Barker

Final Game in the Vitality Roses test series

Updated: Mar 8, 2023

The end of a three-game series resulted in the England Roses taking the victory after the intense three-game action

Sunday 15th January 2023


The series-deciding game commenced at a sold-out Copperbox Area earlier today and saw a focused Roses side who were resilient to claim back the victory after yesterday's narrow defeat to the Sunshine Girls, who were the Commonwealth Games silver medallists. With England ranked as the world's number three and Jamacia at number four- with one point between them- the series was always going to be a close one; the three games were shown on BBC to widen the audience. The CEO of England Netball Fran Connolly stated “We are delighted to be working with the BBC again, elevating the visibility of our sport ahead of what will be an important year for us with the Netball World Cup taking place in the summer." now with that coverage, more people saw the Roses celebrate a triumph series win.

The Roses starting seven saw Helen Housby return to GA after a knock to her knee in yesterday's game and with Jo Harten still not available due to an injury Olivia Tchine stepped up to GS. Tchine played a full with a 100% shooting statistic in yesterday's game and said, "we're going to come out strong we're going to come out fighting" when talking about today's match after the loss yesterday. Returning to the starting seven was the experienced and influential Geva Mentor in GK after missing out on the last two games. Connie Francis named an unchanged team with Jhaniele Fowler (GS and captain) looking to shoot another 100% game.


The first quarter started with Jamacia making some early changes and Imogen Allison (Roses Centre) making an early intercept to get the Copper Box crowd excited. Defensively Mentor was determined to make her mark on the Jamaican shooters and did so by making a key intercept against Fowler. A late goal from Fowler was not counted which lead to the Roses winning this quarter 20 to 16 and the England shooters at 100% shooting statistics the start was a positive one for the Roses.


In Q2 the Jamaican defence stepped up which lead to an uncharacteristic miss from Tchine; which resulted in a cagey start from both teams. Allison produced another big intercept and Metcaff found herself in an intense battle with her midcourt counterpart. This led to Crystal Plummer (Jamacia's WD) receiving a caution for persistent contact. With a few errors building up the Sunshine Girls capitalised and took the lead, but with Tchine collecting a long feed the score was brought back to within one. This quarter ended in England 30 - 31 Jamacia.


The third quarter saw both sides going goal for goal with Fowler no longer on the court the England defence found they could make more intercepts. Plummer received a further caution as she made more contact with the Roses but that didn't stop the hosts from drawing. Shortly after this goal, Layla Guscoth (GD) came on and got the crowd going adding to the Roses' intercepts meaning they were able to get back in front. A centre change in this quarter -for England- saw Elle Mcdonald's international debut and after a number of further warnings, Plummer was suspended (for 2 minutes) as the hosts made it 48 - 44.


The final quarter saw Fowler back on as GS but the Roses started quickly and with Fowler unable to collect a feed from her teammate Mentor was able to delight the home crowd to get it back to her teammates. With Tchine playing another full sixty minutes she remained composed under the post ignoring the pressure of Kadie-Ann Dehaney as the shooter (for London Pulse) stretched the Vitality Roses' lead to five. With time running down the Roses and the fans engaging in supportive chants, there was just enough time for Fowler to have one final shot. But she was unable to land it and the Roses celebrated a 63-59 win.

The Vitality Player of the Match was the Roses captain and WA Natalie Metcalf who stated she was "really proud" and added "I feel really emotional, to secure the series on home soil I'm really proud. This is massive - Jamaica are an incredible team, playing against them is so hard every time so for us to have this opportunity to play them and test ourselves for the last time before the World Cup, it's been crucial for us." The Vitality Player of the Series, chosen by the BBC was Layla Guscoth.


England finish this series with the win (2-1) and in the lead-up to the world cup (this summer) show just how resilient they can be. Next up for the Roses is the quad series in Cape town where they will play South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, starting on Saturday 21 January.

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