Commonwealth Games 2022: The Team England journey so far

Team England have started their title defence in the best possible way, winning their pool convincingly and making history along the way.

Starting their campaign against Trinidad and Tobago, Team England beat the side 74 -22, recording their highest ever win margin against the side. They made their mark against Malawi and Northern Ireland, and although faced challenges from Uganda’s national side, all 12 athletes put forward impressive performances to take the win. In their final pool game against New Zealand, Team England rose to the occasion against the reigning world champions, securing the pool winners title.

But for this side, and the nation behind them, the last eight days have been about so much more than the scorelines. Here are some highlights from Team England’s journey so far…

Debutantes delight for Team England

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Over the last eight days, five England debutantes have dazzled on the international stage, making their first appearances at a Commonwealth Games. Eleanor Cardwell, Sophie Drakeford-Lewis, Layla Guscoth, Imogen Allison and Laura Malcolm all took to court in England’s opening game of the tournament. Each have played a crucial role in the side’s victories, utilising their experience of success in the UK’s domestic league (the Vitality Netball Superleague) to rise to the occasion.


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Metcalf makes stunning captaincy debut

Alongside the five first timers at the Games itself, Natalie Metcalf made her first Commonwealth Games outing as captain. Metcalf’s first Commonwealth skipper title coincidentally came against Trinidad and Tobago, the same side she made her senior debut against seven years ago. She has been central in orchestrating the attacking end of the court from a play perspective and central in rallying the Team England side to victory. Although the greatest tests of Metcalf’s captain career may be to come with the impending semi-final, she has certainly made her mark on this team in Birmingham.

It’s a first for Head Coach Jess Thirlby

It wasn’t just the players in the Team England squad who have made Commonwealth Games history with some first time appearances. Head Coach Jess Thirlby also made her Commonwealth Games debut as coach, starting successfully with a five from five record.

Clarke achieves monumental 190 caps

From Commonwealth debuts to seasoned professionals, Jade Clarke achieved another phenomenal milestone in the netball world, hitting 190 caps for England. Clarke hit the 190 mark in England’s match vs. New Zealand on Wednesday, coincidentally against the team she first made her debut against 19 years ago.

Clarke on her 190 caps for England…

… “I just I love being a rose, and I would play till they kicked me out! But I’m just enjoying the journey and I’m learning a lot.

We’ve got amazing coaches here and I’m just soaking it all in and just love being part of the team and taking inspiration from Geva who’s been playing even longer than me.”


Birmingham brings the vibes

Home advantage for defending champions. A feeling that can’t be replicated and has never been felt by Team England before the 2022 Commonwealth Games. The atmosphere has been described across the board as electric and adored by fans and team members alike. Birmingham born Stacey Francis-Bayman and Layla Guscoth have lauded the buzz of the crowd and the joy of returning to their home to play at this momentous occasion.

Support for the team has been felt up and down the country. Many have taken advantage of the partnership between England Netball, South London’s iconic Pop Brixton and popular pub chain, The Botanist in BirminghamAlderley Edge and West Bridgford, Nottingham. They have worked together to create a series of designated ‘screening hubs’ where fans can come together, watch the sold-out games and enjoy the tournament as it unfolds. Grab your teammates and find out how to book here.


Famous faces join the action

Netball fever is building across the country as part of the Commonwealth Games. From sporting royalty to the Royal Family, we’ve seen famous faces all loving being part of the action.

The Countess of Wessex enjoyed some action in the sun at our ‘have a go’ activation at the NEC, Birmingham.

Sporting legend Denise Lewis paid Team England a visit to wish them luck.


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And Olympian Lutalo Muhammad is looking forward to joining Team England and watching them make their mark on the Games.

Team England come up against Australia next with first centre pass at 2.30pm (UK time) on Saturday 6 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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