England Netball

England beat New Zealand for the first time in Commonwealth Games history on Wednesday to top Pool B and go through to the semi-finals unbeaten.

The Roses will now face the runner-up in Pool A – either reigning champions and hosts Australia or Jamaica, who meet later on Wednesday – at the Coomera Indoor Sports Centre on Saturday.

Tracey Neville made one change to the starting 7 from Monday’s win against Wales with Chelsea Pitman taking the WA bib.

Serena Guthrie took first centre-pass and there was calm build-up play from England before Harten opened the scoring.

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Down the other end, the ball bounced out for Selby-Rickit but New Zealand managed to keep posession and Folau made it 1-1.

Selby-Rickit appeared to be struggling to settle and missed another opportunity with Ama Agbeze grateful to pick up the ball.

The England captain set her team on the attack with Housby finishing the move before Harten added another to put the Roses 4-1 up.

Folau settled early for the Silver Ferns and displayed her class with two trademark long bombs to make things all square at 4-4.

With just over seven minutes remaining in Q1, Fakahokotau flew in to set New Zealand on the attack and they took the lead for the first time in the match.

Grant and Fakahokotau were applying intense defensive pressure and making Harten and Housby work hard for chances.

At 8-8, England wasted the opportunity to retake the lead but then, as a couple of errors started to creep into play, New Zealand were then penalised for held ball.

It was a dramatic and absorbing end to the opening 15 minutes – an England centre-pass came to Housby, who brought the Roses to back within one, followed by a Cobden turnover and Housby penalty meant nothing separated the two sides.

Neither side made any changes at the start of the second quarter.

Good pressure from mid-courter Sinclair resulted in a loose England ball and New Zealand were back on terms at 13-all – it was shaping up to be another classic between the old foes.

Selby-Rickit was on target for New Zealand before Folau added another to their tally, but with five minutes of the quarter remaining, it was the Roses who had the slender advantage.

Midway through the second 15, Jade Clarke took to court in place of Beth Cobden and New Zealand also sent on Bailey Mes.

Folau expertly picked out Mes with a well-weighted ball and the latter made no mistake from close in.

However, a late turnover edged England to a 26-24 lead with everything still to play for at the break.

Beckford-Chambers entered the action in Q3, while Cobden also rejoined at WD.

Grant was an imposing figure in the New Zealand side, defending resolutely – and making numerous intercepts – with Fakahokotau.

Folau was on form with goal after goal but Harten prevented the Silver Ferns from closing the gap too much – and the Roses actually extended their lead to five.

New Zealand were applying strong defensive pressure and the Roses had to be patient in getting the ball into the circle.

Inside the final minute of the third quarter, contact was called against Cobden, the ball went into Folau and she pulled one back for New Zealand.

But England beat the buzzer with an impressive turn-and-shoot from Harten to finish the quarter 40-34 in front.

With everything still to play for in the final 15, it was an intense and frenetic period with errors on both sides.

Selby-Rickit missed from close in but England failed to convert the turnover.

But a goal a piece from the New Zealand shooters reduced the gap to just three with seven to play.

As in previous games, Harten and Housby combined well – the former picking out the latter under the post and the NSW Swifts star pushed England out to an eight-goal cushion.

Harten crowned the performance with some seriously slick skills in the closing stages as the Roses secured a famous 54-45 victory.

For full match stats, click here.

To vote for your player of the match, click here.

England starting 7: GS – Harten, GA – Housby, WA – Pitman, C – Guthrie, WD – Cobden, GD – Agbeze, GK – Mentor

New Zealand starting 7: GS – Selby-Rickit, GA – Folau, WA – Kara, C – Francois, WD – Sinclair, GD – Grant, GK – Fakahokotau

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