The Vitality Roses triumphed at Netball Europe Open on goal average after going undefeated in all three of their games in Belfast.
The young side produced three excellent performances against Europe’s elite to win gold for the fourth Netball Europe Open in succession.
A tightly-contested competition saw the Vitality Roses and Wales end level on points. Sam Bird’s side pipped the Welsh to the title as they were separated by goal average (1.704 to 1.622).
The squad, with an average age of 19.3, travelled to Northern Ireland looking to gain exposure of senior international netball and displayed desire, commitment and maturity beyond their years.
Two wins over Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and a draw with Wales secured the gold medal.
The players were crowned champions in the ceremony which followed their win over hosts Northern Ireland on Sunday.
England Netball Futures Head Coach Sam Bird said: “I’m delighted for this young squad to win this championship. It’s a pleasure to work with such talented and dedicated young Roses. Thank you to Netball Europe for hosting and for all of our support this weekend.”
Captain Yasmin Parsons added: “Netball Europe is a fantastic competition and a great way to showcase international netball. This weekend has been exceptional and super exciting with very close games! I feel very privileged to have captained my country and proud of the squad and our performances over the three days. The future is bright for both the U21 and the full-time Roses. This is a memory I’ll treasure for life!”
The Vitality Roses began their campaign with a convincing 73-16 victory over the Republic of Ireland on Friday afternoon in a match which saw the champions play exciting, clinical netball.
Bird said her side would have to improve against an experienced Wales team which included Vitality Netball Superleague starters in the form of Severn Stars’ Nia Jones and Player of the Tournament Kyra Jones among others.
The English started exceptionally against a physical Welsh side and found themselves nine goals ahead going into the last quarter. However, Wales rallied and the pulsating game ended 51-51 to set up a tense final day at the Antrim Forum.
The Vitality Roses showed great mental resilience to come out in the final game of the competition to dismiss hosts Northern Ireland 60-41. The likes of Funmi Fadoju and Zara Everitt impressed against Dan Ryan’s side, who recently participated in the Vitality Netball World Cup.
The win confirmed it would again be gold for Vitality Roses at the Netball Europe Open due to their superior goal average compared to Wales.
A number of this young but talented squad will now look to take this momentum with them into U21 Netball Europe in a week’s time.
Congratulations to all the athletes involved for their brilliant performances and a huge thank you to everyone behind the scenes at Netball Europe, the volunteers and all the supporters for another fantastic competition.
Vitality Roses Netball Europe Open results:
- Friday 27 September: Vitality Roses 73-16 Republic of Ireland – watch full game
- Saturday 28 September: Wales 51-51 Vitality Roses – watch full game
- Sunday 29 September: Northern Ireland 41-60 Vitality Roses – watch full game
The full standings are listed below:
|Republic of Ireland