England Netball

England beat Jamaica 56-55 to make history and reach their first Commonwealth Games netball final.

Trailing by four going into the final quarter, Jo Harten scored with a second remaining to complete a dramatic comeback.

The Roses will now face Australia in Sunday’s final (4am first centre-pass).

Read post-match reaction from Beth Cobden, Helen Housby, Tracey Neville, Geva Mentor, Jo Harten and Ama Agbeze.

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Beth Cobden

I can’t really describe how I feel, it just doesn’t seem real. When we went into the changing room after we were saying ‘did that just happen?’, ‘have we definitely got a medal?’, so it’s so exciting.

It’s amazing to have my family here and I was dying to see them.

We struggled at first to break down Jamaica, they were so good with the ball, they weren’t throwing anything away – it was our constant pressure in the end that got to them.

We’re going to try and calm ourselves down, get lots of food, rest up, lots of sleep between now and tomorrow. It’s one of those situations now where you’re in the final so you’ve just got to go and enjoy it.

Helen Housby

To be honest, I can’t put it into words. This group have wanted this for so many years and have made history today but the job’s not over. We want the gold medal, not silver, and I’m really pleased that we’ve got into the final.

Jamaica played amazingly today. I think that’s probably the best they’ve ever played in this tournament. We had to be at our best to beat them and to be honest I don’t think that we ever hit our best netball today. We got through it and we won ball and we were clinical when we needed to be but I think there are so many places where we can pick up and be a bit smarter with the ball. But I don’t really care how we did it, we’re into the final now and that’s what we’re going to concentrate on.

The support has been incredible – online, back home and from the crowd especially – and I’m enjoying my netball at the minute and I feel great with this group. The team performance is what I care about – we’re into the final of the Commonwealth Games and I couldn’t be happier to be honest.

Tracey Neville

What a comeback for our girls – I actually thought ‘are we the old Roses?’ with the way we were making errors in difficult parts of the game where we needed to get ahead but  these girls have gone beyond. I just said it to them now that as a player, I could have only dreamed to have been in this position but I was never good enough and it’s great to live my dream through these girls – they’ve done so well.

What we wanted from Eboni was for her to get the ball lifted. Serena worked better in the air and Geva, at the time, the balls were coming in at a really good level for Jhaniele to take so we needed to change that up. Eboni’s impact was great. I’d like us to be more clinical – there were opportunities in that third quarter where I actually think we could have got us back into a draw.

I was really upset with the way they presented themselves during that first half and I don’t think there was any point during this international calendar where they’ve come out and started against a team very, very well and I actually said to them ‘I don’t care how this score goes, I want you to finish like a Rose. I want you to go hard, I want you to win this last quarter and you finish how you started this tournament’ – and for me, it won them the game.

Geva Mentor

It was never going to be easy, Jhaniele is a phenomenal player, but I’m so, so proud of the girls – they showed they can hang in there even when we went six or seven down, knowing that we just needed a turnover.

I think it’s impossible (to guard Jhaniele), there was not much literally I could do in there, I really relied on the other girls to do things so any tips or deflections – those were small wins, and if my teammates can pick them up and get a turnover for us. I definitely had my work cut out but thank god it’s not an individual sport and I’ve got teammates out in front of me!

I think it was just applying that pressure and I think I managed to get a rebound in there which was unheard of against Jhaniele. It was just about building that pressure all the way through and believing in ourselves.

This is massive. Each game we take we’re trying to tick boxes as we go and this was a major one for us, probably more than the actual medal final tomorrow in terms of that believe and confidence. That’s now riding high and we can take that into tomorrow’s game.

Jo Harten

To win the gold medal takes a great performance, whoever you play, whoever’s trying to win that medal. That’s a really good game to play going into a final because it shows great determination, being clinical and finishing off the turnover and making every ball count.

We’re going to go at it all guns blazing.

Ama Agbeze

I did the job that I had to do when I was on, and the coaching decisions and the changes that they made were perfect. So hats off to the coaches, my voice is a little bit croaky because on the bench it’s quite stressful, you can’t control the game but the people on the court did the job they had to do when they were on.

We do have a squad of people who can play any game in any pressure. Our team thrive on being relaxed and having fun.


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