The Vitality Roses lifted the Vitality Roses Reunited Series trophy despite a 53-63 defeat at the hands of Jamaica on Sunday afternoon.
Jamaica won the final game of the three-match test but it was England who celebrated at full-time having secured 55-45 and 66-47 victories across the last seven days.
It is the hosts’ first series win over Jamaica since 2013 and rounds off another progressive year for Jess Thirlby’s side, who also won a series in New Zealand for the first time in October.
Thirlby made several changes to her starting VII after securing the trophy the previous day. This included a first for Laura Malcolm who came in at centre in place of Beth Cobden.
The visitors got the game underway and Jhaniele Fowler quickly sunk the first goal before Eleanor Cardwell immediately levelled things up in Nottingham.
Thousands inside the Motorpoint Arena were treated to a feisty, physical encounter on Saturday and the final match proved no different as the Sunshine Girls sought redemption.
After 10 minutes, Connie Francis’ side found themselves two ahead thanks to a number of turnovers made by an impressive defensive unit of Kadie-Ann Dehaney and Shamera Sterling.
The team in yellow only extended this advantage and, at the end of the first 15 minutes, found themselves 11-14 up.
Despite having already secured the series, England were determined to end 2021 with yet another victory. In response, Thirlby brought on Helen Housby for Harten at goal attack.
Like the first game, this change in the shooting circle paid off immediately for the Vitality Roses. In less than five minutes, they had wiped out their opponents lead and were level at 16-16.
Things were not balanced for long, however, and the team fourth in the World Netball rankings were soon racing away from the team ranked a place above them.
The outstanding output of their defenders were now being matched by those in their final third which resulted in an impressive eight-goal lead which they would take into half-time.
Jamaica had the momentum when the two sides returned to court after the interval and, despite further substitutions, this trend continued in the ensuing 15 minutes.
The Caribbean outfit were in full flow and, at one stage, looked out of sight. They had extended their lead to 12 goals but England clawed it back to eight prior to the final quarter of the series.
Jamaica’s bench were now cheering every turnover as they drew ever-closer to a first win over the English since 2020.
Ultimately, the gap proved too large for the Vitality Roses to mount any kind of discernible comeback. The final score ended 53-63 to the Jamaicans.
Prior to this fixture, a young England Development side and Knights Men’s Netball went head-to-head with the latter coming out 47-54 winners.
England starting VII: Eboni Usoro-Brown (GK), Layla Guscoth (GD), Serena Guthrie (WD), Laura Malcolm (C), Natalie Haythornthwaite (WA), Jo Harten (GA), Eleanor Cardwell (GS).