England defeated Australia 56-55 in the Netball World Cup, their first-ever win over the world’s No 1 side in the tournament.
In one of the biggest matches of the Cape Town tournament so far, England opted for the ever-reliable combination of Eleanor Cardwell at Goal Shooter and Helen Housby at Goal Attack to start, Imogen Allison continuing to provide the threat from Centre.
Both sides tried to pile on the pressure early on, Cardwell dominating in the circle as she has done throughout the domestic season as Australia’s Steph Wood showed her class at the other end, England leading 15-13 after the first quarter.
Geva Mentor and Layla Guscoth exerted some real defensive pressure in the second quarter but the Diamonds quickly leveled the scores and finally took the lead with eight minutes left of the quarter, taking real control to go in 32-26 up at half-time.
The third quarter saw England mount a fightback and chip away at the score line, Cardwell and Housby combining with the attacking threat of Chelsea Pitman to take the quarter 18-13 and bring themselves within one goal of Australia.
England scored first in the final quarter to bring the game to 45-45 and then they began to fire, with intercepts and big passes giving them a 51-49 lead with seven minutes to play under a mountain of pressure.
Australia continued to come back and brought it to 54-53 with three minutes to play, bringing the scores level with just under two minutes on the clock.
With the score then at 56-55, England defended with everything they had, a penalty giving them possession which they kept hold of to take the one-goal win.
“I am a bit lost for words right now, my heart is beating so fast!
“I am so proud of the girls, that was an incredible game. I am really proud of the team today.
“I think we trusted the game plan, stuck to our processes and played our brand of netball.
“We have got to take confidence from that win.”
Player of the match Helen Housby…
“I am absolutely buzzing with that.
“We know that it is a huge game going into the semis.
“You know you have to be at your absolute best for 60 minutes.