On 20th to 24th January the England Roses took part in a series of matches against the Superleague All Stars, a team made up of some of the best players in the Superleague. These replaced those that were meant to be against Jamaica. Three games made up this test series with England taking victory overall to win the Jean Hornsby Cup.
During these games players also wore a black arm band in memory of Sachel Grant’s (a respected netball coach) husband.
The first game started on 20th at 6.30pm. In a tense first centre pass, the All Stars took the lead. This set the scene for a competitive and good match of netball. However, as the game progressed, the Roses won back the lead to end the game winning 70 to the All Stars 54. This game saw Roses GK, Razia Quashie (Saracens Mavericks), rightfully earn Player of the Match. Her flies were strong and the pressure she placed on the All Stars attack was high. This was only possible with the support of her other defensive players. The game also highlighted key All Stars players to look out for in the coming season; Liana Leota (Severn Stars) at WA was a standout performance with ever-increasing challenging feeds into the attacking circle.
This second game on 22nd was a stronger performance for England. They took the victory 67-44 and so secured the trophy. Roses players Beth Cobden (Loughborough Lightning) and Layla Guscoth (Team Bath) also made their mark in this game after time out due to injury. Nevertheless, Player of the Match went to Roses co-captain, Nat Haythornthwaite (New South Wales Swifts, Suncorp League, Australia). She kept calm all game at WA controlling and balancing the attacking side for England. This victory of over 20 goals is what should be expected from the Roses as they prepare themselves for next year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
The last game of the series on 24th was another good game to watch. It was the closest of the three with England only taking the victory 55-43. This games Player of the Match went once again to Razia Quashie as she showed her skills in the Roses defensive end. However, All Stars GS, Joyce Mvula (Manchester Thunder), battled hard against the Roses showing why she plays internationally for Malawi. Other stand out performances from the match were the defensive pressure of All Stars defensive unit of Jo Trip (Saracens Mavericks), Sam May (Loughborough Lightning), Nat Panagarry (Loughborough Lightning) and Caroline O’Hanlon (Manchester Thunder), Roses co-captain Serena Guthrie (Team Bath), and Roses GS Eleanor Cardwell (Manchester Thunder) who rose to the challenge in dominating that shooter position for future matches.
The series was the first international netball match played in England since last season.
Sky’s Player of the Series was awarded to Nat Haythornthwaite and Fans Player of the Series was given to Liana Leota.
To watch more netball, this year’s Superleague is set to begin on 12th February with all games being played on Sky Sports.