England Netball

England got their Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games campaign off to a strong start on Thursday morning with a 74-28 win against Scotland.

All 12 players took to court as Tracey Neville’s side saw off a vastly improved and battling Scottish Thistles team.

Captain Ama Agbeze was pleased with the Roses’ performance: “It actually felt quite good. I think games against the home nations are always quite hard and gritty and I was actually quite impressed with our girls at how we pushed on.

“We didn’t take our foot off the pedal at any time and it was just nice and it was actually fun.

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“A lot of the girls said they had fun and they enjoyed it and that’s how we want to keep going through the tournament so whoever we’re playing if we’re enjoying it, we’re quite relaxed and it comes almost naturally to us.”

Kadeen Corbin believes that the performance has laid down a marker for the rest of the competition.

She said: “It sets the tone for our Commonwealth campaign.

“Even though we were up, we were still fighting for more so it’s never about just letting it go and just letting them come back at us.

“It’s about how do we push on because when it comes to critical times, can we still do that?

“And today it just showed that we can actually still push on even though the margin was getting bigger.

“I thought the whole game in general was really good – we all kept to the task that we were supposed to do and our game plan worked.”

Chelsea Pitman, Beth Cobden, Natalie Haythornthwaite and Jodie Gibson made their Commonwealth debuts as all of the squad got some game time.

But how important was that both mentally and physically?

Ama said: “I think it’s definitely important. There’ll be games where some people don’t play but I think it was good that everybody got a run today.

“Hopefully the more games that go on, the more people who can get on the better because we don’t know what’s going to happen so it’s important that people stay in touch with what’s going on and keep fresh in terms of being on court.”

Kadeen added: “It brought so many memories back from 2014 but it was absolutely amazing! It was great that everyone got on court.

“I mean everyone was pretty nervous for this first game. We were all saying it’s ok to have nerves as it’s a big stage.

“For some, it’s their first time and for others, it’s their fifth and everyone was still nervous but good nervous so we just used that as our energy to put on court.

“There’s been a really good vibe among the team and it showed on court today. We just kept to task as the result shows.”

And Ama believes that Thursday’s opener stands the Roses in good stead ahead of their remaining Pool B fixtures.

“Well I don’t want to take away from Scotland because, despite the score line, when I was off I was saying to the girls on the bench that it’s actually a challenge.

“It’s not like we’re just walking through them or cutting through them like a hot knife through butter.

“We still had to work for it and work to get the ball down so it wasn’t just basic and simple so I think that was a good thing in terms of how we move forwards.”

England’s next Pool B fixture is against Malawi on Friday morning (first centre-pass at 09:30am).

The Roses previously faced the Queens in a three-match Vitality Netball International Series in November 2017, when they sealed the Series 3-0.

For details on BBC’s coverage of the Commonwealth Games, check out their schedule.

Make sure you’re following England Netball on FacebookInstagram and Twitter, and show your support on social media by using the hashtags #WeAreRoses and #TeamAndCountry.

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