Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games: Team England vs. Northern Ireland reaction

Team England maintained their strong start to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games with a 71-27 win against Northern Ireland.

Jess Thirlby’s side flew out the traps against their home nations rival and never looked back with Helen Housby shooting at 100%.

After the game, we spoke to Head Coach Jess Thirlby and Jade Clarke…

Jess Thirlby on…

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…the opportunity to try new combination

“For the fans watching, they most probably wonder what we’re doing but every change that we put out there is really purposeful.

“We’re trying to manage a squad effectively in tournament conditions and that is part of my role whilst trying to also build confidence and I think game on game we are definitely building confidence in terms of what we’re able to put out tactically as well as how we’re able to counteract the strengths of the opposition that we’re coming up against, and we’re still able to do that having rolled out all twelve players in three matches.”

…the team spirit and culture

“I think there’s a real sense of togetherness, connectedness and trust in each other that you can go on and do a job.

“You see the girls celebrating on the sideline – they’re the biggest cheerleaders of each other and they’re really championing that and I think that it’s really important there’s a real buoyancy amongst the squad.”

Jade Clarke on…

…the team’s performance today

“We knew we were going to hit a really fast, aggressive Northern Ireland. They have a more similar style to us so we had to really switch that mindset from playing Malawi in the game before.

“I think what was good about today is we built every quarter. A lot of things that we talked about in defence, you could see that on court so we’re really pleased.

“There were some really good performances and Sophie Drakeford-Lewis started her first game in the Commonwealth Games so that’s amazing.”

…coming up against familiar faces from the Superleague

“It was really good. I love playing Caroline O’Hanlon – I think she’s one of the best centres in the world so a great challenge for me to come up against her.”

Team England come up against Uganda next with first centre pass at 6pm (UK time) on Tuesday 2 August. Here’s a guide to the competition, including how you can follow all the action.

If you’re new to our sport and want to have a go yourself, we have programmes for everyone aged 5 to 95 from Bee Netball for children, to Back to Netball for those returning, to Walking Netball, a slower version of the game we love. Through the netball finder on our homepage, simply select play and enter your postcode and you’ll find a variety of sessions in your area.

Loved being in the crowd or watching from home? There’s more live netball coming your way in England this October – book tickets now.

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