The Vitality Roses defeated the Samsung Diamonds 52-49 on the last day of the Vitality Netball International Series, as part of the Netball Quad Series, but Australia did enough to take the title.
Australia’s Elizabeth Watson took the first centre pass, but England quickly won back the ball and Helen Housby showed off her shooting skills by netting the first goal of the game at the packed-out Copper Box Arena.
The Vitality Roses made a strong start and scored two consecutive goals in the first minute of the game, but the Samsung Diamonds swiftly followed suit and added two goals to their tally.
The Diamonds began to accelerate away and were leading 14-9 at the end of the first quarter.
England came back on court with Rachel Dunn on as GS as Jo Harten moved to GA and Housby came off.
Dunn set the tempo at the start of the second quarter by scoring three in a row for England, until Thwaites ended the Vitality Roses’ run of goals.
Fantastic defensive pressure from Geva Mentor meant England reclaimed possession and worked it down court for Dunn to continue her shooting streak, meaning England took the lead in the last four minutes of the second quarter.
England didn’t relent and ensured they maintained their advantage, taking a slender three-goal lead (27-24) into half-time.
Serena Guthrie, England’s captain, took the first centre pass of the second half of the game, which was quickly proving to be an exhilarating match between the two sides.
Harten kept on target and sunk the first goal of the second half but Australia reacted and secured one of their own in response.
Some clever manoeuvring from England saw them continue to build on their score but the Diamonds kept on hot on their heels making sure they were never far behind.
The Vitality Roses proved too strong for the Diamonds though and were out in front (41-37) at the end of the third quarter.
Australia came out with purpose during the last quarter and closed the gap between the two sides.
Rising star Fran Williams came on as GD in place of Eboni Usoro-Brown, and Natalie Haythornthwaite came off as Chelsea Pitman came on as WA.
The Samsung Diamonds crept out in front with eight minutes to go but the Roses pulled it back through Dunn and Harten.
England continued to show incredible persistence and resilience throughout the final quarter, securing a 52-49 win from the high-octane match.
After their win, the Vitality Roses placed second in the Netball Quad Series as the Samsung Diamonds took home the title – their third in succession – following their strong performance throughout the Series.
England’s starting 7 – Harten (GS), Housby (GA), Haythornthwaite (WA), Guthrie (C), Guscoth (WD), Usoro-Brown (GD), Mentor (GK)
Australia’s starting 7 – Thwaites (GS), Tippett (GA), Watson (WA), Moloney (C), Price (WD), Weston (GD), Mannix (GK)