Team England made it four from four and secured a semi-final spot at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games after running out 56-35 winners against Uganda.
All 12 players took to court as Jess Thirlby’s side continue to build through the competition, roared on by an incredible home crowd.
After the game, we spoke to Eboni Usoro-Brown and Helen Housby to get their reactions…
Eboni Usoro-Brown on…
…the game vs. Uganda
“I think it was a really positive performance from us. I think Uganda was always going to be tough – they’re sixth in the world and in terms of having Mary Cholhok and Proscovia Peace in the Superleague and having played in SSN, we knew that they would be big targets in the back.
“I think the girls went about their work brilliantly. They were really patient on the ball and ahead of New Zealand on Thursday, it was great preparation for us.”
…building through the competition
“I think as you’ve seen we have tried a number of combinations and within those combinations, we have recognised the strengths that each individual can bring.
“We are now looking at the real business end of the tournament and it’s great that we have got a full squad that can bring a mix of playing styles to combat any strategy so I’m really excited to continue on Thursday and then hopefully into finals at the weekend.”
…securing a semi-final spot with a game to spare
“It feels excellent to have a place in the semi finals but that’s where we expect to be. It is when it counts now so it’s a measure of how well put together we are as a twelve with the off-court stuff and that sense of belief.
“That’s what got us there in 2018, in terms of believing in ourselves, taking it quarter by quarter, building on each other’s strengths and then using the crowd as well.
“The support we’ve had in the arena and over social media has been excellent. Just bringing all of that with us will hopefully get us across the line.”
…on her fourth Commonwealth Games and first as a mother
“I’m so proud, I still get emotional. It’s been such a long journey that I’ve been on in this dress and to have this chapter at this Commonwealth Games with my daughter sitting in the crowd is a feeling like no other.
“I hope this is also inspiring her one day for her own journey, inspiring future Roses who want to be in a Roses dress and who still want to consider motherhood, but also hopefully inspiring other women out there that after childhood and postpartum there is still a road for you.
“So hopefully it is sending a message, and hopefully I’m doing everyone proud and I’m looking forward to the games ahead.”
Helen Housby on…
“To be honest, I felt a bit up and down. It took me a little bit of time to settle into the game.
“They were quite physical and it’s sometimes difficult to adapt to that; you have to change your structures and timing a bit.
“They’re a quality side and to have that margin [21 goals] is quite impressive – I think it’s higher than the margin we had at World Cup.
“They’re a very good side and they bring it to you. There’s definitely things we want to work on but overall we’re pretty pleased with that.”
…the competition so far
“I feel like we’re building. It was a good thing for us to feel that pressure and physicality today – that’s posing a lot of challenges for us which is a good place to be.
“It’s nice to get everyone out on court and try a load of different combinations too.”
…rest day plans
“Ice baths, massage, compression – just trying to do anything we can to stay fresh.
“We’ve still got New Zealand, then semi-finals and hopefully the final. There’s a lot of games in a short period of time so we try and maximise any type of recovery we can get.”
Team England come up against New Zealand next with first centre pass at 9pm (UK time) on Thursday 4 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.