Looking back at 2016 – England Roses!

It’s been a year of exciting change for England’s Roses with the introduction of new faces and a full-time programme put in place.

With a mixture of results internationally, the England squad are building new combinations for a stronger future as a crucial time in the four-year cycle takes shape.

There’s much to look forward to for the future of the Roses, but for now let’s take a look back at 2016…

The Roses host the Diamonds

The year kick-started quickly for the Roses as they faced the world’s best netballing nation in January.

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The Australian Diamonds came to England for a three-match Vitality Netball International Series starting at Liverpool’s Echo Arena.

The atmosphere inside the Arena was electric as two of the world’s top three sides took to court to do battle.

This test was to be the closest of the three games as England pushed Australia all the way, but the Diamonds didn’t budge as the game finished 52-58.

The series moved on to London and the Copper Box Arena for the final two fixtures of Australia’s visit.

It wasn’t to be for the Roses as the Diamonds won 44-60 and 41-55 respectively to take the series 3-0.

There were many impressive performances on display from both sides, especially in the defensive ends where Ama Agbeze and Sharni Layton shone for their teams to pick up Vitality Netball Player of the Series for their respective nations.

The Roses squad selected for this series were as follows;

Ama Agbeze, Sara Bayman (C), Eboni Beckford-Chambers, Jade Clarke (VC), Sasha Corbin, Rachel Dunn, Jodie Gibson, Natalie Haythornthwaite, Helen Housby, Hannah Joseph, Lindsay Keable, Laura Malcolm

Netball Europe domination!

With May came Netball Europe at Sport Central, Northumbria University and a chance for the Roses to give fresh faces some court time.

Congratulations went to Eleanor Cardwell, Ella Clark and Leah Kennedy for earning their first call-ups and caps and also to Ama Agbeze for taking on the captaincy for the first time.

The squad put in ruthless shifts to win convincingly against Northern Ireland (83-32), Scotland (70-26) and Wales (81-42) and take the Netball Europe title once again.

The Roses squad selected for this series were as follows;

Ama Agbeze (C), Sophia Candappa, Eleanor Cardwell, Ella Clark, Sam Cook, Kadeen Corbin, Jodie Gibson, Natalie Haythornthwaite, Helen Housby, Hannah Joseph, Leah Kennedy, Laura Malcolm (VC)

Let’s go full-time!

Back in April, England Netball announced that after a meeting on 23rd March 2016, the board formally ratified transitioning players to full time status from 1st June.

As part of the mission to reach the 2019 Netball World Cup Final, England Netball looked at all parameters of the performance programme and how it’s approached, leading up to 2019 and beyond.

The athletes who are part of the full-time programme are as follows;

Ama Agbeze, Rebekah Airey, Summer Artman, Eleanor Cardwell, Jade Clarke, Beth Cobden, Kadeen Corbin, George Fisher, Jodie Gibson, Natalie Haythornthwaite, Hannah Joseph, Leah Kennedy, Laura Malcolm, Natalie Panagarry, Jessica Shaw, Rachel Shaw, Joanne Harten

The inaugural Netball Quad Series

With August came the beginning of a thrilling new competition between four of the best netballing nations in the world.

In December 2015, England, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa announced the ground-breaking SANZEA partnership which was designed to set-up a regular top level international competition.

It was revealed in March that the inaugural Netball Quad Series would take place in Australia and New Zealand in August and September.

Starting in Auckland on the 27th of the month, the Roses lined up against the Silver Ferns in what was to be Ama Agbeze’s second competition as captain.

The Ferns took no prisoners as they finished the match with a 26-goal winning margin of 65-39.

The Roses showed patches of brilliance but couldn’t match up to the Silver Ferns’ consistency throughout the game.

This was Beth Cobden’s first senior match in the red dress as she picked up her debut cap for the Roses.

That same day, the Diamonds beat the Proteas 68-43 in clinical fashion.

All four sides moved to Hamilton on the 31st August where New Zealand took on South Africa, winning 65-46.

It was then on to the Roses clash against the Diamonds in Adelaide, facing each other for the fourth time in the year.

The Diamonds were in imperious form as they overcame the Roses 66-46 to clinch a second successive victory.

It was a much improved performance from England moving on from their defeat against the Ferns as they stayed close to their hosts, trailing by just six goals at the half-time interval.

However, Australia stole the momentum in the third quarter to pull away and take an unassailable advantage.

The competition moved into its final day in Melbourne on the 4th September with the two hosts vying to take the title.

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 England defeated South Africa 57-44.

After a shaky start, it was a shooting masterclass from England as Jo Harten led the way in a convincing victory to help the Roses end their campaign on a high.

The final game of the tournament between Australia and New Zealand was a thriller – the Diamonds edged out their antipodean rivals 60-55 to take the inaugural Netball Quad Series crown.

The Roses squad selected for this series were as follows;

Ama Agbeze (C), Summer Artman, Eleanor Cardwell, Jade Clarke, Beth Cobden, Kadeen Corbin, Stacey Francis, Jodie Gibson, Serena Guthrie, Joanne Harten, Helen Housby, Hannah Joseph, Laura Malcolm, Geva Mentor, Natalie Panagarry

Congratulations went to Beth Cobden and Natalie Panagarry for receiving their first ever Roses caps during this series.

England Fives take on the Fast5 Netball World Series

It wasn’t long before England were back on Australian soil as they travelled to Melbourne in late October for the Fast5 Netball World Series.

This was a tournament filled with thrills and spills with England experiencing a mixture of results.

The tournament started for England against New Zealand as the only two teams to have ever won the Fast5 competition faced each other in their opening games.

To win, England had to break a remarkable streak that has seen the Silver Ferns go undefeated since they lost the 2011 final to the Fives.

In the end it was an agonising 35-36 defeat for England as New Zealand edged the victory.

The first day got better for England as they went on to beat the unpredictable Malawi 43-22 but it finished in a last second equaliser from South Africa to draw 29-29 – a result our side definitely didn’t want.

The second, and final day of the Fast5 tournament began with a clash against Australia – a clash that England lost 20-26.

It was then on to Jamaica and a fixture that would confirm that England would be playing for the bronze medal as they beat the Sunshine Girls 32-19.

But it was Malawi, the surprise package that upset England’s quest for third place as the Queens won 32-35 in the third-place match.

A late Malawi goal left England with ten seconds to score a Super Shot and take the game to extra-time. The ball was worked to Kadeen Corbin but her effort agonisingly bounced out on the final whistle.

The tournament did, however, finish on a high as super shooter Joanne Harten was named the Fast5 MVP.

The England Fives squad selected for this series were as follows:

Ama Agbeze, Eleanor Cardwell, Beth Cobden, Kadeen Corbin, Joanne Harten, Helen Housby, Leah Kennedy, Laura Malcolm, Geva Mentor, Natalie Panagarry

The Roses outshone by Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls

In late November and early December, the Roses welcomed Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls for a three-match Vitality Netball International Series.

The series started on the 29th November in London, and a shooting masterclass from Jhaniele Fowler-Reid and a wonderful defensive display led by Shamera Sterling, saw Jamaica take a dominant 66-49 victory over England in front of a stunned Copper Box Arena crowd.

The Roses were determined to turn things around in Manchester as the two sides took to court at the Belle Vue Arena.

This was definitely a Friday to remember for England as they responded to their first match loss in emphatic fashion.

Tracey Neville’s side looked dominant and in control from the first quarter onwards and more than deserved their convincing 63-50 win over the ever-tough Sunshine Girls.

The series then moved to Coventry and the Ricoh Arena for the deciding match of the competition.

Despite an astonishing eight-goal turnaround at three-quarter time to pull the game back to 46-46, the Roses lost out to Jamaica 57-64.

A fiercely fought series finished in disappointment for the Roses but there was much to be excited about – an inspired Beth Cobden showed the crowd at all three venues what she’s made of, and a variety of combinations showed moments of excellence.

Ama Agbeze was named as Player of the Series for England while Jamaica’s shooting machine Jhaniele Fowler-Reid picked up the overall Player of the Series award.

The Roses squad selected for this series were as follows;

Ama Agbeze (C), Jade Clarke (VC), Joanne Harten (VC), Eboni Beckford-Chambers, Eleanor Cardwell, Amy Clinton, Beth Cobden, Kadeen Corbin, Stacey Francis, Serena Guthrie, Natalie Haythornthwaite, Leah Kennedy, Laura Malcolm, Chiara Semple

The 2017 Netball Quad Series is on the horizon!

In January and February of 2017 we will see the second instalment of the Netball Quad Series come to England in Liverpool and London.

The selected squad sees some new and returning faces as the Roses work on rotation for their best possible combinations in this crucial time in the four-year cycle as they look towards the Commonwealth Games in 2018.

The Roses squad selected for the 2017 Netball Quad Series is as follows;

Ama Agbeze (C), Eleanor Cardwell, Jade Clarke (VC), Beth Cobden, Kadeen Corbin, Jodie Gibson (Subject to fitness), Natalie Haythornthwaite, Helen Housby, Chelsea Locke, Geva Mentor, Natalie Panagarry, Rachel Shaw, Summer Artman*

Reserves: Amy Clinton*, George Fisher*, Hannah Joseph, Leah Kennedy, Laura Malcolm, Chiara Semple*

* Available for selection for both the Senior squad and the U21 Roses’ tour to South Africa

You can still buy tickets here for the Netball Quad Series in Liverpool and London HERE!

The U21 side have an action-packed year to look ahead to after an extremely busy 2016 building momentum for the Netball World Youth Cup in Botswana.

It’s exciting to see a promising young side full of talent develop as a unit – and no doubt each player will be pushing for their senior call-up…

With much to come and loads to look forward to in 2017, it’s onwards and upwards – let’s #RisefortheRoses in a brand new year!

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