England rounded off the group stage of the Commonwealth Games 2014 with a convincing 69-27 win against Barbados to confirm their place in semi-finals. Awaiting Anna Mayes’ side on Saturday will be New Zealand after they defeated Jamaica earlier in the day.
England started off the game with the first centre-pass and got off to an early lead with a composed shot by Rachel Dunn. With beautiful flow down court and movement in attack, Jo Harten fed a fast ball into Dunn before scoring again to result in a seven goal lead over the Caribbean side after five minutes.
England expertly played the ball around the circle edge which allowed the shooters to get into a consistent rhythm. Wonderful pressure from Geva Mentor, Eboni Beckford-Chambers and Jade Clarke stifled the Bajan attack, meaning the score at the end of the first quarter being 19-7.
Sara Bayman took the WD bib from Clarke to start the second quarter. Great communication and switching within the defensive circle was rewarded with a Beckford-Chambers tip, before Serena Guthrie and Sasha Corbin worked the ball through court into Dunn who scored.
The players in red were able to capitalise off the Bajan’s errors, finding Harten in the circle who effortlessly placed the ball through the net to further extend their lead. With a last second shot from Barbados, the scoreboard read 34-13 going into the second half.
Once again, Mayes switched the line-up around going into the second half. Helen Housby came on as GA with Clarke and Bayman in front as WA and C respectively, Ama Agebze took to the court as WD, and Stacey Francis grabbed the GD bib.
With Harten asserting her dominance in the circle with fantastic shooting and circle rotations with Housby, England had extended their lead to 29 at the Barbados time out. Francis made a great tip after reading the Bajan’s passage of play to finish the quarter 55-18.
For the final quarter, Beckford-Chambers moved back to GK, Francis and Agbeze switched bibs, and Dunn came on as GS to replace Harten who had yet to take a place on the bench.
The strong defensive pressure and great combinations with Bayman and Clarke in attack allowed the ball to transition down court with beautiful passages of play through to the final whistle. England’s dominant performance over the Caribbean side saw them ease into the weekend action.
England play their semi-final game against New Zealand on Saturday on BBC red button or online. To keep up with the live action, follow the official England Netball twitter and facebook pages.
England starting 7: GS - Harten, GA - Dunn, WA - S.Corbin, C - Guthrie, WD - Clarke, GD - Beckford-Chambers, GK - Mentor Barbados starting 7:GS - L.Browne, GA - Piggott, WA - S.Browne, C - Croney, WD - Marville, GD - Blackman, GK - Azore