The inaugural netball competition at the Commonwealth Youth Games got underway on Tuesday 8 August as Team England played their opening two Group B matches.
South Africa proved too strong for Sheonah Forbes’ side in their opener as they were beaten 30-40 at the Shaw Park Cultural Complex.
A dominant second-quarter display by South Africa (won 3-15) proved decisive and despite a spirited second-half fightback from England, in which they won both quarters (12-9 and 9-6), they couldn’t close the gap enough.
After taking to the court in the team’s first fixture, goal shooter Sophie Egbaran celebrated the milestone of winning her first cap for England at age group level.
Reflecting afterwards, Forbes said: “It was a good game. Obviously disappointed with the result but it’s just game one. We’re just trying to stick to processes as we’re here over the next couple of days. We’ve got some unit targets and goals ourselves so just reminding the girls about sticking to process and the outcome will sort itself out.”
Captain Darcie Everitt added: “I think for the most part we did stick to strategy and think when we did it, it did work. It’s our first match, we’re just building into it – second match, we’ll probably stick to the strategies a bit stronger and be a bit more connected on it. I just think first match we had more to give, we’re just going to be building on it the next three days.
“We’ll probably just talk to each other a lot [before our next match], hype each other up, motivate each other, go over the game plan again and just make sure everyone understands our goals and targets, and just making sure everyone knows we all have confidence and trust in each other.”
Hours later, the young Roses were back out on court and ran out 42-14 winners in an impressive display against St Vincent & the Grenadines.
Forbes’ side flew out the traps and were consistent as they came out on top in all four quarters to notch up their first win of the competition.
Discussing the team’s performance, vice-captain Ella Williams said: “It was absolutely brilliant to get a win under our belt, especially since we lost this morning. We focused on sticking to structures and I thought that we did that today and came out with the win which is amazing for us. It gives us confidence going into the next game which we’re looking forward to.
“So we told ourselves to keep calm in the Power Play, stick to what we know and don’t do anything crazy because in the Power Play, it can get quite intense and you can get really impatient with the ball so I think today we really wanted to focus on that.”
England’s final Group B fixture sees them face Botswana (20:15 UK time) – the result of which will determine whether they proceed to the placing matches or into the semi-finals and medal matches. You can find out the full fixtures list here.
Wednesday 9 August (UK time):
- 20:15 – England vs Botswana
- 22:15 – Placing 5th-8th Match 1 – TBC
- 23:15 – Placing 5th – 8th Match 2 – TBC
- 00:15 – Semi-finals Match 1 – TBC
- 01:15 – Semi-finals Match 2 – TBC
Thursday 10 August
- 19:15- Placing 7th-8th TBC
- 20:15 – Placing 5th -6th TBC
- 21:15 – Bronze medal match – TBC
- 22:15 – Gold medal match – TBC
Where to watch
Live streams – and replays of each day’s matches – will be available on the Commonwealth Sport YouTube channel here.
Highlights from the day’s events will be available across the Team England social and digital channels, who will also be sharing wrap-ups of each day.