Today (19/01/21), we celebrate the birthday of world-class attacker Helen Housby as the Vitality Rose turns 26!
Although 2020 failed to deliver as much success for Helen as the previous year, she remained crucial to New South Wales Swifts’ efforts to defend their Suncorp Super Netball title scoring 179 goals en route to a fourth-place finish.
She was an integral part of the squad which claimed a bronze medal at the Vitality Netball World Cup 2019 in Liverpool and followed that up by clinching her first league title with the Swifts since moving to Australia at the end of 2016.
But her most famous moment in the red dress came in the dying seconds of the gold medal match at the 2018 Commonwealth Games against hosts Australia when she sunk the final shot of the game to secure a historic triumph for England.
The success resonated beyond the sport of netball and the Vitality Roses’ gold medal was voted Sporting Moment of the Year at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards later that year.
And speaking on Virtual Netball Club show Netball Natter with presenter Zara Buck, Helen was asked about her greatest sporting achievement. “Well I think I’m obviously going to say the Commonwealth Games gold, I think I’d be silly not to. That whole thing, not just on a personal level but I think for England Netball was kind of groundbreaking,” she said.
“You know we’d never even been in a final before and I think to beat the Aussies by one goal on the buzzer and it’s their home crowd, it was pretty special. And I actually had seen something before the games that said in the Australian press that netball was the only gold medal Australia were guaranteed at the games just because of how they were favoured going into the competition.
“And I think all the way through the competition they kind of proved it, they were beating teams by huge amounts and then we just showed up on the day and took it away from them so that was pretty sweet. I think I’ll always remember those memories.”
Helen made her England debut three years prior to that against Trinidad and Tobago in Bath in 2015 and truly announced herself on the international stage later that year at the World Cup in Sydney where she featured in every game up to the semi-finals, culminating in winning her first bronze medal.
She also achieved success domestically on these shores winning the Vitality Netball Superleague with her first franchise Manchester Thunder as a teenager and remaining there for a further two years before heading to Australia.
Having taken a break from the England setup after the Vitality Netball World Cup 2019, Helen hasn’t added to her 66 caps since the bronze medal match victory over South Africa and has yet to feature under current Head Coach Jess Thirlby but is back with the team preparing for the Vitality Netball Legends Series!