Roses mid-courter Jade Clarke became the most capped England netballer of all time as she took to the court for the 129th time as the Roses defeated South Africa 57-44 this morning.
It was a shooting masterclass from England as Jo Harten led the way in a convincing victory as the Roses end their inaugural Quad Series campaign on a high.
The match wasn’t without it scares for England as once again their opponents showcased that they are continuing to close the gap on the traditional ‘top four’.
Unlike in their fixture against Australia on Wednesday, the Roses got off to a terrible start and midway through the quarter England found themselves trailing 7-2.
With the momentum firmly in the hands of the Proteas, Tracey Neville introduced Kadeen Corbin for Helen Housby.
The change had the desired impact and England started to find more cohesion in the attack end and after the opening fifteen minutes, the arrears had been cut to 13-11.
Within the blink of an eye England were level at 14-14 in Q2. A tenacious South Africa could have lost their heads but it remained even for the next few minutes with several turnovers keeping the scores tight.
A late surge from the Roses gave them a four goal lead heading into the half-time, a 25-21 score line reflecting the excellent response to their slow start.
The goals continued to flow early in the third quarter as Harten started to find the net from across the circle. A shooting accuracy of just under 90% for the opening three quarters displaying just how clinical England were in the attack end.
At the end of the third quarter, the Roses had pushed the lead out to 41-33.
The England mid-court had found their rhythm and they failed to relinquish the advantage in the final quarter as they continued to connect brilliantly with their shooters.
Despite an energetic Proteas response, the Roses held firm and more accurate shot making extended the lead and ensured that Jade Clarke had a more than one reason to celebrate in Melbourne.
Roses starting 7: GS – Harten, GA – Housby, WA – Guthrie, C – Clarke, WD – Cobden, GD – Francis, GK – Agbeze
South Africa starting 7: GS – Potgieter, GA – Stoltz, WA – Msomi, C – Burger, WD – Mthembu, GD – Mostert, GK – Maweni
Catch up with England’s match against South Africa at the Quad Series when it is repeated on Sky Sports Mix at 6pm on Sunday evening.
The Roses take on New Zealand in February at the Echo Arena, Liverpool as the Quad Series comes to England. Purchase your tickets and #RisesForTheRoses!