England Roses began their Quad Series campaign in thrilling fashion on Saturday, beating four-time world champions New Zealand 64-57 after extra time to kick-start their Commonwealth Games preparations in front of an elated home crowd in London.
Using this Quad Series against New Zealand, Australia and South Africa as build-up for the biggest event in the netball calendar, Tracey Neville’s side looked to be staring at defeat in their opening match as they slipped to a six-point deficit when trailing 37-43 with one quarter remaining at a sold-out Copper Box.
But the Roses refused to succumb against the world No 2 side, clawing their way back to 49-49 at the final whistle and dominating extra time to claim a win that will doubtless inspire huge confidence ahead of their trip to the Gold Coast for April’s Commonwealth Games.
Ranked third in the world, England are determined to muscle in on the duopoly of New Zealand and Australia, who are the only two nations to have ever claimed gold at a major international competition, and Neville said the result shows how tight things are between the top teams.
“It was pure heart and soul,” said the England head coach. “I was so proud with the way the girls ended that game. We are Roses that go to infinity.