Jess Thirlby: England’s Vitality Roses gained ‘everything they hoped for’ from Uganda series | Netball News

England’s head coach expressed the pride she felt after a young group of Roses overcame Uganda and won their recent Test series 3-0; Jess Thirlby handed out a number of new caps during the series; a more experienced squad will now head to Australia to face the Commonwealth Games champions

Last Updated: 14/10/22 3:54pm

England delivered a clean sweep of victories over Uganda in a recent home Test series

England delivered a clean sweep of victories over Uganda in a recent home Test series

England’s head coach Jess Thirlby believes their recent series against Uganda gave them “everything they hoped for” and expressed her pride in the group’s achievements.

The Vitality Roses secured a series whitewash over Uganda, the sixth ranked team in the world, and finished the three-match series with a number of individuals having enjoyed their first taste of international netball.

Alice Harvey, Olivia Tchine, Ellie Ratu, Zara Everitt and Funmi Fadoju all made their debuts for England, while Laura Malcolm and Imogen Allison performed the roles of co-captains.

England did not have it all their own way and had to work hard for their three victories. They were behind at half-time during the first and second Tests, as well as being put under pressure after losing the third quarter of the final Test.

England vs Uganda – Results

Test One England 60-51 Uganda
Test Two England 53-45 Uganda
Test Three England 64-51 Uganda

“It’s given us everything that we hoped for – a fantastic challenge against a brilliant side,” Thirlby said to England Netball.

“We knew that Uganda are incredibly talented and every game has thrown up different challenges. There’s not one game where we were ever comfortable, but I could not be prouder of what the group has achieved.

“For the third Test to most probably be our best performance and our biggest win, I think is a real measure of the intent that this team have. They were determined that they wanted the clean sweep.”

England’s Vitality Roses – Australia series

Wednesday, October 26 Australia vs England 5.30am
Sunday, October 30 Australia vs England 5.30am
Thursday, November 3 Australia vs England 4.30am

England’s next task is the challenge of meeting the reigning Commonwealth Games champions Australia in their own backyard.

Thirlby selected her squad for the Australia tour prior to England’s outings against Uganda.

After the strong performances against Uganda from experienced returnee, Chelsea Pitman, it was suggested that she might be added to the group heading down under.

Thirlby made own thoughts clear on that after the third Test and said the squad would not be changing.

With two significant Test series sitting in such close proximity, pressure has been put on their preparations, but the head coach is grateful they are positioned at this point in the international season.

“The earlier in the year, the better… it affords us some time deeper into the winter to look back and reflect on what we’re going to take from the next couple of weeks.

“We’ve tried to be smart with the three camps that we’ve had, around where the similarities technically and tactically are between our prep for Uganda and our prep for Australia.

Vitality Roses squad for Australia series

Imogen Allison Eleanor Cardwell Jade Clarke
Beth Cobden Sophie Drakeford-Lewis Funmi Fadoju
Layla Guscoth Jo Harten Alice Harvey
Helen Housby Hannah Joseph Laura Malcolm
Geva Mentor Nat Metcalf Liv Tchine
Fran Williams

Australian Diamonds

Amy Parmenter Cara Koenen Courtney Bruce
Donnell Wallam Jamie-Lee Price Joanna Weston
Kate Moloney Kiera Austin Maddy Proud
Maddy Turner Paige Hadley Sarah Kalu
Sophie Garbin

“There are some very unique things around the way in which Uganda play which won’t fully translate into the task at hand against Australia,” Thirlby continued.

“We’ve tried to be efficient with the time that we’ve had and now we can open up that aperture again and firmly have our eyes on the work for Australia.”

Helen Housby, Jo Harten and Geva Mentor witnessed England’s work against Uganda from afar, while the likes of Layla Guscoth, Nat Metcalf, Beth Cobden and Jade Clarke were also in the unfamiliar position of observing England from the sidelines.

Thirlby says all will be “raring to go” and with Australia coming into the series off the back of Constellation Cup games against New Zealand, the Roses must hit the ground running at the end of October.

Former Leeds Rhinos netballer Donnell Wallam is set to make her international debut for the Aussie Diamonds against England. The home side will also be without fellow shooter Gretel Bueta, after she announced her pregnancy.

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