2019 Netball World Cup: England start with dominant victory over Uganda in Liverpool
Written by News on 13/07/2019
Jo Harten inspired England to a perfect start to their quest for a first World Cup title with a 64-32 win over Uganda at Liverpool’s M&S Bank Arena.
In front of frenzied home crowd and playing with heightened levels of expectancy after the Commonwealth Games gold medal, Tracey Neville’s Vitality Roses brought the curtain down on day one with a hugely impressive display against a Ugandan side that had ran them close in November.
England coped with the physicality offered by their opponents in style, and in Harten had the fairytale story to underpin the first game of what they hope will be a memorable tournament on Merseyside.
Winning her 100th cap, the shooter made few mistakes under the posts and her partnership with Helen Housby once again proved profitable for two and a half quarters until Housby was withdrawn with what looked to be a minor ankle worry.
However, it couldn’t dampen home hopes as they powered down the stretch aided by the sending off of Ugandan centre Stella Oyella with 13 minutes remaining as England eased to the perfect start and gave the full squad an outing on day one.
England have looked relaxed and comfortable with the increased spotlight and, having spent the opening ceremony singing along to The La’s and The Beatles, they set about underlining their title credentials early.
Roared on by the home crowd, England started fast and took advantage of an over-enthusiastic Uganda early on to forge a four-goal lead thanks to Harten.
Having weathered a mid-quarter wobble that had seen Uganda draw back to within two, the Roses managed to eradicate the sloppy mistakes and with Harten near-flawless, a couple of lightning-quick full-court breaks paved the way to forge a nine-goal lead at the end of the first quarter.
A keenly-contested second saw the intensity go up a level as Uganda kept pace and not for the first time centres Oyella and Serena Guthrie ended up on the floor after a fearsome coming together.
With the defensive end adding their considerable presence to the team display, courtesy of Layla Guscoth and Geva Mentor, England powered towards half-time courtesy of Housby and Harten and led 31-18 at the break
The Roses moved 20 goals clear following the introduction of Rachel Dunn, the Wasps shooter back in the England World Cup set-up after missing the Commonwealths, to replace Housby and Neville began to rotate her options.
Harten’s switch to goal attack allowed Dunn to find her range and with no let-up from a relentless Roses, Ugandan centre Oyella was given a two-minute sending off for persistent infringements just before the final break in play.
With England 18 goals to the good and a formidable looking schedule of matches, Jade Clarke, Nat Haythornthwaite and Nat Panagarry entered the fray while Uganda’s misery was compounded with Oyella’s sending off for the rest of the game and leaving the She Cranes with six players for the final 13 minutes.
Understandably with such a huge lead and a player advantage, England conserved energy down the stretch to close out a 32-goal win, that like the Aussies before them, laid down a marker for the next 10 days.
Also on Day One….
A busy day at the M&S Bank Arena saw plenty of action as the two courts in one-arena set-up played host to a frenzied atmosphere.
In the evening session the world’s number-two ranked team Jamaica served notice of their own intentions, racking up an 85-29 victory over Fiji to join the expected contenders in starting with victory.
Also in the evening session, and in England’s group, Scotland began with a win over Samoa while South Africa impressed with a 76-45 win over Trinidad and Tobago to complete the Group C action.
In their own words…..
Here’s our pick of the interviews from day one as Shamera Sterling and Lenize Potgieter spoke to Sky Sports.
England are back in action on Saturday at 3pm when they take on Scotland and end their preliminary stage against Samoa on Sunday at 11am – all three games are available exclusively on Sky Sports Netball.
Australia will look to cement their connections after a fast start when they play the crowd-pleasing Zimbabwe, while Northern Ireland will look for a win against Sri Lanka.
Jamaica face Trinidad & Tobago, South Africa take on Fiji and New Zealand look for a second successive win when they take on Barbados – check out the full schedule.
Watch every match of the 2019 Vitality Netball World Cup live on Sky Sports. Coverage starts on Friday, July 12 plus keep up to date with all of the latest competition news, results and enjoy in-depth features at SkySports.com/netball