England defeat world champions New Zealand to set up Australia semi-final

Helen Housby starred as England claimed a 54-44 win.

By Press Association Published: 4 August 2022 - 9.57pm

England made experience count as they sunk reigning world champions New Zealand 54-44 to book a Commonwealth Games netball semi-final against Australia.

England were never behind as they fashioned a one-point half-time advantage before pulling away to lead by six at end of the third quarter and staged another final quarter surge to secure a 10-point cushion.

The result, in front of a raucous home crowd at the NEC Arena, means Jess Thirlby’s team will face a rematch of the memorable 2018 final against the Australians, who suffered a shock 57-55 defeat to Jamaica earlier on Thursday in their final group stage game.

England coach Thirlby said: “We’re arriving at the semi-final having taken the scalp of a team above us in the world rankings and that’s got to be good for confidence.

“It’s a better place to be than picking ourselves up from a loss. This group like making history and we’ve got a big task against a wounded team. They will be very rational about their performance against Jamaica and they’ve still got the same route as us to the final.

“I’ve been in this job three years and gone on a big journey with these players. This is still a group game but the group will take a lot of energy from that performance.”

“We're arriving at the semi-final having taken the scalp of a team above us in the world rankings and that's got to be good for confidence.”
- England coach Jess Thirlby

Any suggestions England might wish to swerve a last-four slot against Australia – who they beat  52-51 in dramatic fashion on the Gold Coast four years ago – were swiftly ended as they surged in front with a performance underpinned by 37-year-old goal keeper Geva Mentor.

Mentor repelled the threat of New Zealand goal shooter Grace Nweke, 17 years her junior, throughout a hard-fought contest with the Silver Ferns star finishing with 23 goals from her 29 attempts.

In contrast, Eleanor Cardwell top-scored for England with 26 goals from her own 29 attempts, with Helen Housby just three goals behind.

The manner of their win over New Zealand – who beat them in the semi-finals of the 2019 World Cup in Liverpool – will give England no fear when they head into their last-four clash on Saturday afternoon.

New Zealand will face the Jamaicans, who trailed by six goals heading into the final quarter against Australia but hit back to claim a famous victory and reach the semi-finals as Group A winners.

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