Netball: Harlow’s Jo Harten earns 100th cap as World Cup begins
Sport / Sat 13th Jul 2019 am31 10:17am
ENGLAND started their 2019 Netball World Cup campaign in Liverpool with a 64-32 win over Uganda, who had to play for the final quarter with six players reports the BBC.
Harlow’s star, Jo Harten eanred her 100th cap in this opening fixture.
The Roses were in control throughout, taking a 13-goal lead at half-time.
Uganda centre Stella Oyella was suspended for two minutes in the third quarter and was then sent off for repeated infringements, which put paid to any comeback.
Commonwealth champions England will now face Scotland on Saturday (15:00 BST).
Their final game in the first preliminary round comes against Samoa on Sunday (11:00 BST) and if they finish among the top three in Group D, they will progress to Group G in the second round.
England will then need to finish in the top two to progress to the semi-finals.
“If anyone said you’d have beaten the She-Cranes by 30 goals in our first World Cup match I would have taken that before the game,” Roses head coach Tracey Neville told BBC Sport.
“They are are a very difficult team to play, they lost a bit of consistency and their heads, however they very rarely play at that international level and I am sure they will learn from that.”
She added: “I am pleased with our girls in the way they went out, persisted with their performance, chugged away at the scoreline and the players we had an opportunity to get out on court continued to build on the scoreline. So overall a good performance.”
Speaking about the nerves before the game Neville said: “The four years has gone quicker than today. Today felt like four years waiting to get on court. Leaving us until last today, it felt like we were waiting for Christmas.
“We just wanted to get that game out of the way. The girls had been agitated all day and they are just happy to just back to the changing room and work on tomorrow.”
And speaking about the home support, she added: “The fans were unbelievable, it was quite a shock for us and probably made us a little but more nervous. However, I am sure we will get used to their support and I know we will need it going forward.”
England have never failed to reach the last four at a World Cup but knew they were in for a tough start against a Uganda team who have climbed to sixth in the rankings.
The Roses won 3-0 in their Quad Series meeting with the She-Cranes in December and once again were able to overcome their attacking prowess and physical approach.
Uganda’s shooting statistics were good, especially from Peace Proscovia who finished with 20 goals from 23 attempts, but it was their discipline that let them down.
Oyella received two verbal warnings in the first half before eventually being sin-binned in the third quarter for contact with Chelsea Pitman.
And the umpires decided enough was enough when the centre collided with Jade Clarke, and she was sent permanently to the sidelines.
England made the extra player count and pulled further ahead, taking the final quarter by 14 goals.
It capped off a special evening for Roses stalwart Jo Harten, who landed 29 of her 35 shots on her 100th international appearance.