The Vitality Roses put the disappointment of Saturday’s Vitality Netball World Cup semi-final defeat to New Zeland behind them to convincingly beat South Africa 58-42 and secure a bronze medal on home soil.
The team’s resilience and mental strength were tested but they rose to the challenge and World Cup debutant Fran Williams insists she never doubted her side: “Never had any doubts because of the culture and environment in our team.
“Yesterday’s defeat was always going to be gutting but we were always going to be able to come back stronger and we did that today. Last night we were all gutted but we stayed connected and kept the fun and togetherness within the group and managed to come out and put in an even better performance.”
She added: “I think the pressure was definitely on when we played in the semi yesterday whereas today we were just going out with nothing to lose really. We just wanted to go out there and enjoy playing and enjoy our last time in front of this crowd at a home World Cup and I think with that comes a really easy, flowing performance like today.”
Helen Housby achieved 100 per cent shooting accuracy against the Proteas on Sunday and she believes that the prospect of securing a medal was always going to motivate the team.
She said: “Obviously, we would’ve liked a different colour medal but it’s not to be and we said today was our gold medal, we had to treat it like that, we had to treat it like the biggest game of our life and I’m just proud of the girls because it could’ve been hard to find motivation for this game as South Africa could’ve wanted it a bit more but we went out there and we really wanted this medal.
“I think we’re very good, we stuck together, we had some jokes last night, we were able to smile and we stayed together as a team and we came out today and we knew we wanted this medal and we wanted to make our fans proud and most of all this is for us as a twelve and what we’ve done over the last four years, I’m really proud of us.”
In difficult moments a team needs its experienced members to stand tall and guide their teammates through adversity and Geva Mentor explained the importance of not dwelling on those disappointments.
She said: “I think for me it’s just important that I remember setbacks like the semi-final and if you get the opportunity again, you can rectify it or change things and then go through it.
“But I think it’s important that you can also bin things and make sure you can move on because if you go through life trying to fight for redemption the whole time, you’re not going to achieve too much. So for us, it’s important that you look forward and we’re happy that we’re able to come away with something with this team.