England came out on top in a Home Nations clash to seal a 62-37 win and move into the second stage of the competition.
Chelsea Pitman played a full 60 minutes for the first time for the Roses since the last World Cup and was awarded Player of the Match after an outstanding game at wing attack.
Vitality Roses starting seven: Geva Mentor (GK), Francesca Williams (GD), Layla Guscoth (WD), Imogen Allison (C), Chelsea Pitman (WA), Helen Housby (GA), Olivia Tchine (GS)
Substitutes: Eleanor Cardwell, Jade Clarke, Funmi Fadoju, Laura Malcolm, Natalie Metcalf
Scotland starting seven: Rachel Conway (GK), Emily Nicholl (GD), Claire Maxwell (WD), Hannah Leighton (C), Iona Christian (WA), Niamh McCall (GA), Bethan Goodwin (GS)
Substitutes: Emma Barrie, Cerys Cairns, Cerys Finn, Hannah Grant, Emma Love
Both teams started brightly but it was Scotland who got the first turnover just three minutes in. Emily Nicholl picked up a low ball to deny Chelsea Pitman. But the England wing attack, starting her first match in this competition, responded immediately and helped regain the ball to put her side back on their centre pass. Scotland continued to put pressure on England, picking up a couple more turnovers but they were unable to capitalise on their gains as the Vitality Roses pulled away to take a five-goal advantage.
As Scotland made a raft of changes, England tightened up their defence and made it difficult for their Home Nation rivals to move the ball down the middle. Olivia Tchine was showing no nerves on her first start in an England dress in this competition and combined well with Housby to clock up 19 goals from 21 attempts in the first half. Just before the break, Imogen Allison made way for Laura Malcolm after colliding with a Scotland player in the middle of the court.
Head Coach Jess Thirlby made three changes at the break bringing Funmi Fadoju on at goal keeper, Jade Clarke at wing defence and Nat Metcalf at goal attack. Similar to what she did in game one, Fadoju made an immediate impact picking off a high ball on the back line to deny Iona Christian before Laura Malcolm showed great vision just outside the circle edge to find Tchine under the post. England lost their rhythm midway through the quarter and Scotland capitalised to level to the quarter score. But the Vitality Roses responded in the last five minutes as Fadoju and Williams made two more great intercepts to help their side get back on the front foot.
Eleanor Cardwell came on for her first appearance of the match in the last 15 minutes as Tchine went to the bench. Scotland tried to come shorter for the ball but were pressed into unforced errors by England’s defence. Chelsea Pitman, who registered 24 goal assists, proved to be an effective connecting link in the Roses attack and was awarded Player of the Match as England saw out the victory that confirmed their place at the top of Pool B.
Reflecting on her journey back into the Roses squad, Chelsea Pitman said: “I didn't shy away from the fact that this was a goal of mine to work my way back into the Roses and get to the World Cup. To be here and just be around the girls and in this environment is something really special.”
Commenting on the game, Head Coach Jess Thirlby said: “I thought we stamped some authority in moments in the game, which was really encouraging. I know the girls really wanted to do that at the front of the game, and I thought we weathered it a little bit more in that opening quarter. We opened space up nicely in attack in quarter two, put some distance between us and them and we found more ball as the game went on, which was encouraging.”
On-court co-captain Layla Guscoth added: “Every game we have managed to get all 12 on court and we've seen so many different combinations and people playing in different positions and that can only hold us in good stead going into the next round where we face even more different styles and nations and we need versatility to get there to the end.”
All of the games from the Netball World Cup are being shown live on Sky Sports, with one match per day available to all on Sky Sports YouTube. The BBC will have live coverage of matches from Monday 31 July up to and including the final across BBC Television, iPlayer, Sounds and the BBC Sport website.
The Vitality Roses will now move into Preliminary Stage Two and will take on Tonga (ranked seventh in the world) in Pool F at 5pm (UK time) live on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer, and Sky Sports Arena and Mix
You can watch the highlights from this match here: https://youtu.be/2b3sCoBW89g