England are on the verge of confirming there place in the 2014 Commonwealth Games semi-finals following a one-sided 70-24 victory over Trinidad & Tobago this morning.
The match was the third milestone of an England player receiving caps in the tournament as ever-popular defender Eboni Beckford-Chambers was named in the starting line-up, playing in the red dress for the 50th occasion.
A wonderful and dominant victory also gave Anna Mayes the chance to provide court time to every member of the squad. Following England’s resounding 56-24 victory over Trinidad & Tobago in the TriSeries last October, the players in red were keen to reassert their class throughout court, which they did with confidence and skill.
England had an excellent start to the match with beautiful flow through court finished by dynamic circle rotations, allowing them to take early control of the game. Strong and constant defensive pressure by Geva Mentor, Beckford-Chambers and Sara Bayman meant that Trinidad & Tobago were yet to score after five minutes giving England a five goal advantage.
A brilliant draw to Jo Harten from Jade Clarke, saw a quick ball into Kadeen Corbin who further extended their lead to 15-5 at the end of the first quarter.
A beautiful mid-air off load from Harten into the charging Corbin set the faster pace of the second quarter. Clarke and Bayman made confident drives onto the circle edge before placing the ball in to shoot. Mentor showed class with a perfectly timed intercept to make the score 22-8 at the Caribbean side’s time out.
Despite the increase in loose balls and the opponents managing to find more space and time on the ball than in the previous quarter, strong passages of play and the defence controlling play to create countless turnovers meant that England were able to sustain their lead with the score at 27-12 going into the second half.
The England team was shaken up moving into the second half with Rachel Dunn and Sasha Corbin taking the GA and WA bibs respectively, Beckford-Chambers moving back to GK with Ama Agbeze as WD and Stacey Francis GD in front.
An unfortunate bounce in off the post in the Trinidad & Tobago circle meant the Caribbean side lead the quarter scoring by three after two minutes. A stunning intercept from Francis and fabulous defensive pressure was being rewarded as T&T errors saw the players in red increase their lead to 27 at the end of the third quarter.
Helen Housby took to the court as GA for the final fifteen minutes. Francis made a great tip, allowing the ball to transition directly through court with beautiful passages of play before the Thunder youngster netted with aplomb. Harten and Housby were displaying confident and dynamic circle movement, which were placed through the net with ease.
Strong defensive pressure meant the T&T attack had no options, forcing another held ball and increasing the lead to 35 going into the last 10 minutes. Great combinations with Bayman in attack continued England’s dominance through to the final whistle, therefore further tightening their grip on a place in the semi-finals.
Next up for England is an evening match against Barbados on Wednesday, the action gets underway at 7:30pm on the BBC red button or online. Follow the official England Netball twitter and facebook pages for live updates.