Commonwealth Games: England clinical against Northern Ireland to remain unbeaten | Netball News

England held a 38-15 half-time lead and head coach Jess Thirlby used the 60 minutes to alter their formation and execute different combinations in the 71-27 victory; England face Uganda in their next group match on Tuesday night and will be aiming to maintain their unbeaten record

Last update: 08/01/22 7:42 p.m.

England remain unbeaten in Pool B of netball competition in Birmingham

England remain unbeaten in Pool B of netball competition in Birmingham

England have won three from three matches at the Commonwealth Games with a clinical 71-27 win over Northern Ireland on Monday night.

The foundations for the result were laid by an outstanding first half, in which the home side missed just two of their 40 shots on goal.

In defence, England turned the ball around at will to keep Northern Ireland at arm’s length and a 38-15 half-time lead put them on the right track.

Throughout the match, head coach Jess Thirlby rotated his line-up to manage bodies given the competition’s relentless schedule, and England will now prepare to face Uganda on Tuesday night.

England squad – Commonwealth Games fixtures and results

Friday England 74-22 Trinidad and Tobago
Saturday England 66-41 Malawi
Monday England 71-27 Northern Ireland
Tuesday England vs Uganda
Thursday New Zealand v England
Saturday August 6 Semi final
Sunday August 7 Final

With the relentless nature of a Commonwealth Games schedule, Thirlby opted to release a starting lineup that had never started at a major competition before.

Sophie Drakeford-Lewis received her first Commonwealth Games start and was tasked with nurturing Helen Housby and Eleanor Cardwell ahead of her.

Eboni Usoro-Brown, Stacey Francis-Bayman and Laura Malcolm were the trio selected to harass the Northern Irish strikers, while Jade Clarke provided exceptional experience in the centre.

From the first whistle, Drakeford-Lewis attacked the game and set the pace for England. She used her pace to get to the edge of the circle at will and also pulled off England’s first interception of the afternoon.

England vs Northern Ireland – Starting Sevens

England North Ireland
GS: Eleanor Cardwell GS: Ciara Crosbie
AG: Helen Housby AG: Emma Magee
Washington: Sophie Drakeford-Lewis By: Michelle Dryne
C: Jade Clarke C: Caroline O’Hanlon (c)
WD: Laura Malcolm (c) WD: Niamh Cooper
GM: Stacey Francis-Bayman GD: Fionnula Toner
GK: Eboni-Brown Method GK: Michelle Magee

After scoring the first three unanswered goals, the home side continued to spin a lot of balls and be extremely accurate inside the shooting circle.

Cardwell’s shooting percentage was high throughout the competition, but Housby needed work. Housby didn’t miss for the first 15 minutes and finished the game after shooting 20 from 20.

Northern Ireland gained and converted turnover as the quarter continued. Fionnuala Toner and Niamh Cooper used their Superleague experience to read England but the Roses continued to respond and held an 18-9 lead after 15 minutes.

After the first break, Northern Ireland remained unchanged for the second quarter while England made further changes. Malcolm switched to attacking from the wing, Drakeford-Lewis to attacking on goal and Imogen Allison came to defending from the wing.

Immediately Malcolm showed the fruits of his previous club relationship with shooting guard Cardwell and Drakeford-Lewis slotted into the circle superbly.

Michelle Magee and Toner went out of their way to disrupt the England shooters, but early looks at Cardwell and Drakeford-Lewis’ speed couldn’t be consistently matched.

England vs Northern Ireland – Quarter by Quarter Results

Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 FT
England 18 20 15 18 71
North Ireland 9 6 seven 5 27

England finished the first half missing just two attempts and with a 38-15 lead the home side gave themselves the chance to take advantage of the 30 seconds at the NEC Arena.

Thirlby continued to alter their roster through the third and fourth quarters. Housby had time in both the shooting and goal attack, Cardwell rested and came back, before Geva Mentor and Layla Guscoth stampeded their authority in the closing stages of defence.

The result of Thirlby’s switch highlighted England’s versatility as a 12-man side and their ability to produce clinical netball in any different scenario. Overall the performance was a step up from their previous games at Birmingham.

Another 24-hour turnaround awaits and Uganda’s She Cranes, with their formidable shooters from Mary Cholhok and Proscovia Peace, will be next to meet the home side at 6pm on Tuesday.

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