England made it three from three in Pool B at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games on Sunday morning with a hard-fought 55-49 win against Uganda.
Tracey Neville made a couple of changes to the team that started in Friday’s win against Malawi.
Ama Agbeze was back in the 7 at GD and Serena Guthrie began with the C bib.
The Roses opened the scoring with a converted turnover from Uganda’s first centre-pass, thanks to an intercept from mid-courter Guthrie.
The squad looked confident and calm on court, taking an early 4-1 lead.
Slick shooting from Jo Harten made it 7-3 before a dominant spell, including another Guthrie interception and more silky skills from the shooters, took England out to 11-3.
After an assured and effective display, the gap was 10 goals – 18-8 – at the end of the first quarter.
At the start of the second quarter, Eboni Beckford-Chambers (GK) and Kadeen Corbin (GS) both came on for England.
The Roses appeared to take a little bit of time to adjust to the changes but soon got back into their rhythm.
Uganda upped the intensity and pressure which at times forced Neville’s side into some errors.
Corbin got her first goal of the game to make it 19-9 after Beckford-Chambers won the ball from Peace Proscovia under the post and England transitioned well through the court.
The Team Bath star was then on hand to restore the Roses’ 10-goal advantage but Uganda closed the lead to 24-17.
After a missed opportunity in the shooting circle, Beth Cobden won the ball back and England pulled back out to 28-18.
It was a strong second 15 from the She Cranes, who won the quarter, but England still held an eight-goal lead at half time.
Neville made more changes at the start of the second half with Jade Clarke on as C, Guthrie moving to WD and Natalie Haythornthwaite to WA.
Uganda, who are playing in their first Commonwealth Games, picked up where they left off and continued their momentum after the break.
With 10 minutes to go in the third quarter, Housby moved to GS with Haythornthwaite at GA and Pitman re-entering at WA.
England kept the scoreline ticking over at 36-30 but, with the She Cranes enjoying considerable success in attack, Geva Mentor was brought back on at goal keeper.
Uganda got called for contact outside the English shooting circle and the Roses capitalised to make it 38-32 before fantastic work between Housby and Haythornthwaite saw England go into the final 15 with the score at 42-36.
At the start of the fourth quarter, Cobden moved into WD and England were immediately up and running to add another to their tally.
The gap was down to just five goals with just 12 minutes of the match remaining.
Jodie Gibson came on in place of Agbeze, meaning all 12 players took to court like in Thursday’s opener.
The Roses pulled away to 46-39 but Uganda were still fighting and making England work hard to grind out the win.
Mentor turned it over in defence and Haythornthwaite rewarded the experienced keeper’s hard work to make it 49-41.
It looked like an opportunity wasted when England overcooked a pass across the shooting circle but the most-capped Rose, Clarke, won back the ball and Haythornthwaite could convert to bring England up to 50-43.
The atmosphere inside the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre was tense in the closing stages.
Housby held her nerve though to take the score to 54-45 and, despite a final push from the She Cranes, England maintained their 100 percent record.
The Roses’ next, and penultimate, Pool B match is against Wales on Monday morning.
Full match stats can be found here.
England?????? starting 7: GS – Harten, GA – Housby, WA – Pitman, C – Guthrie, WD – Cobden, GD – Agbeze, GK – Mentor
Uganda starting 7: GS – Proscovia, GA – Nakabuye, WA – Nakachwa, C – Meme, WD – Nanyonga, GD – Lilian, GK – Nanfuka
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