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Jess Thirlby:

The Vitality Roses secured back-to-back wins against Jamaica on Saturday in front of a passionate crowd at Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena.

Jess Thirlby’s side will now look to maximise the opportunity to further grow, develop and learn in game three.

Here she shares her thoughts on…

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Sealing the series with a game to spare

“I’m not affording myself to get too carried away, but I do think it’s important to pause in these moments and acknowledge what the team are putting out on court and what they’ve just achieved.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve won a series against Jamaica and at home but it’s great to just see this group get their heads down and keep chipping away.

“We’re not a group that get too carried away too soon, but we’ve been looking and wanting a start like that in a while and off the back of the New Zealand series, it was certainly something we wanted to try and get and having set ourselves up last Sunday for what could be a series decider today I couldn’t be prouder and more pleased in how they came out in that opening 15.

“I’m overwhelmingly proud but I’m also just on the hunt now for how we get that complete 60-minute performance and I’m determined that we finish strongly tomorrow and don’t just rest on our laurels. What a privileged position to be in having taken the series today.

“There’s a bigger picture here and we’re just trying to tick some things off the to-do list as we head towards Birmingham. There are a couple of things we’ve achieved today that we’ve been looking for, so I’m really pleased with that.

“We’re tracking really well but I’m not the sort of coach that gets carried away so we’ll quietly celebrate the series win this evening and get ourselves ready for tomorrow and hope we can make it three from three.”

The team’s impressive start

“We’ve been doing great in building performances and responding when we’re down. It was really important today that we could establish ourselves and get that psychological edge and in that opening quarter, we know that that normally bodes well against a side like Jamaica.

“I’m pleased with how the girls applied themselves and translated a lot of what we debriefed after last week’s game.”

Individual performances and the strength in depth

“I’m pleased with El [Eleanor Cardwell] as I am with others – I thought Jo [Harten] did a great job out in front today and I thought Helen [Helen] was definitely back to more like Helen today. Really pleased with their performance improvements from last Sunday to this week.

“With regards to the bigger picture, I’m definitely not fixed on combinations; we haven’t been able to go across to Australia on the back of the New Zealand tour and there are some unfinished things that I needed to explore in this series and we’re doing that both on the training court and using these matches.

“The challenges are bigger than ever now with the likes of Sophie [Drakeford-Lewis] and G [George Fisher] still in the mix at that end of the court so certainly not fixed and I don’t need to be at this point.

“I’m in a great position where I do believe I can turn to the bench, and it wouldn’t come at the cost of the outcome nor performance.

“I think the group that started the game afforded their teammates the chance to be inserted and make a positive impact.

“I felt the changes today were positive and we weren’t talking about things that needed to be fixed or others to come on because some weren’t performing so we tried to get ahead of that and anticipate where the momentum in them game was and shift it.”

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