England vs Trinidad & Tobago

Neville’s England reign off to a successful start with good win over Trinidad & Tobago

England got off to the perfect start under Tracey Neville as they secured a hard fought 65-42 victory over Trinidad & Tobago to take a 1-0 lead at the University of Bath in their three-match International Series.

With several England regulars still competing for their ANZ franchises down under, the starting seven allowed a chance for some others to stake their claim for a spot in the World Cup squad. Among them were debutant Natalie Haythornthwaite and a returning favourite in Sonia Mkoloma.

A strong start from the hosts saw them take the game to the Caribbean visitors with the attack leading from the front and taking early intercepts. Excellent movement of the ball pushed England into an early 10-4 advantage.

Looking solid in her first international, Haythornthwaite was combining well in the final third with her attacking partners while Mkoloma soon got back in the groove forming a solid partnership with Sam Cook. At the end of the opening quarter, England were 19-11 ahead.

The second quarter saw the home side continue their momentum as Pamela Cookey produced a breath-taking show of agility and speed to feed Helen Housby. The composed youngster duly netted the chance.

Having to battle against the usual passionate Caribbean style, the only down side to the first half was the rising penalty count for England. A late double from Housby kept the ladies in red in a dominant position, 36-24 at the interval.

The half-time break gave the chance for new faces as Sasha Corbin was introduced along with Layla Guscoth and Rachel Dunn.

Trinidad & Tobago were looking to hit back quickly and some fabulous long range shooting kept the fans entertained early in the third quarter. However, their momentum was halted when Mkoloma collided heavily with the visitors Wing Attack.

A time-out called and England re-grouped with Housby back on at Goal Shooter. This breather reinvigorated the home side and they regained control with Guscoth making a notable impact and Laura Malcolm showing fantastic hands in the defensive end.

With fifteen minutes remaining England led 47-31.

There was to be no rolling over from the Caribbean side though and they attacked fiercely in the final quarter. They slowly started to make in-roads into the England advantage but it wouldn’t last for long.

Having shown flashes of their excellent domestic partnership, Sara Bayman and Housby started to dominate proceedings. This pushed England clear and made sure that they now head into Friday’s second game at the Copper Box in the knowledge that another win will seal the Series.

England starting 7: GS - Housby, GA - Cookey, WA - Haythornthwaite, C - Bayman, WD - Malcolm, GD - Mkoloma, GK - Cook 

Trinidad & Tobago starting 7: GS - Wallace, GA - Cooper, WA - Jack, C - John-Davis, WD - Guerero, GD - Duncan, GK – Swift

Umpires: Theresa Prince and Marie Louw van der Merwe with Dave Brown as reserve

Captain Cookey inspires England to Series win in 100th appearance

England clinched an unassailable 2-0 Series lead following a 67-42 victory over Trinidad & Tobago at the Copper Box, London on what proved to be a momentous evening for one fans favourite.

Following in the footsteps of some legendary England names, Pamela Cookey etched her name into the 100 club, racking up her centenary after being named in the starting seven.

It could hardly have been a better evening for the evergreen Goal Attack as she captained her side to a hard-fought but dominant success.

There was also an indication of the future on court as Natalie Haythornthwaite collected the Player of the Match award with an assured display in Wing Attack having only made her debut two days previously.

Having impressed in Bath, Layla Guscoth was rewarded with starting berth in game two and her combination work with Sonia Mkoloma allowed England to turnover possession with ease in the opening quarter.

Although the hard work from the defence wasn’t always translated to goals on the board, the plethora of chances did allow the hosts to forge 13-5 clear after fifteen minutes.

The momentum continued in the second quarter with Helen Housby and Cookey benefitting from some excellent mid-court work from Haythornthwaite and Bayman.

Trinidad & Tobago were struggling to build any pressure of their own and at half time the England lead had stretched to 34-17.

A change at the interval saw Kadeen Corbin replace Housby. There was real bite to their play from the home side, the mid-court worked tirelessly to retrieve any lost possession.

Enforcing this point was the excellent Laura Malcolm who was making tips, intercepts and steals for fun in the third quarter. With one quarter remaining England had the game at their mercy held a 52-27 advantage.

Lindsay Keable was introduced for the final fifteen minutes with Mkoloma given a breather. She continued the fine defensive work that was made before her, combining nicely with her Hertfordshire Mavericks colleague Guscoth.

This allowed Haythornthwaite and Bayman to unlock their creativity and feed Corbin and Rachel Dunn, who had replaced Housby late in the previous quarter.

With the result beyond dispute, the only concern for the England attack was to avoid the physical contact from the visiting Caribbean defence.

A hefty collision taken by Corbin was noted by the umpires and when it occurred again with a minute to go, the decision was taken to send off the offending defender as Trinidad & Tobago ended the game with six players.

This failed to dampen the party spirit inside the Copper Box and the best moment of the night was saved for last.

In front of an adoring crowd, and equally adoring team mates, Cookey stepped forward to take a bow on reaching 100 caps. If the current winning trend continues, this landmark may not prove to be the final chapter in her already glittering career.

England starting 7: GS - Housby, GA - Cookey, WA – S.Corbin, C - Bayman, WD - Malcolm, GD - Guscoth, GK - Mkoloma 

Trinidad & Tobago starting 7: GS - Wallace, GA - McCollin, WA - Jack, C - Guerero, WD - Connelly, GD - Duncan, GK – Swift

England seal clean sweep with dominant victory over Calypso Girls

A masterful second half display from England saw them seal a 69-36 win over Trinidad & Tobago in Liverpool this evening, clinching a 3-0 Series win in Tracey Neville’s first International commitments as head coach.

With a Series victory already confirmed, a couple of changes were made to the starting line-up with Stacey Francis making her comeback from injury at GD and Pamela Cookey being utilised in a rare WA appearance.

England raced out of the blocks and were quick to assert themselves on the game, Sonia Mkoloma clinching a smart early intercept and Helen Housby looking composed in the shooting circle.

The visitors responded well and started to make in-roads into the lead although England remained in relative control with a 14-8 advantage at the end of the opening quarter.

No changes were made for the second quarter but it wasn’t to be long before the hosts were forced into making one. Kadeen Corbin was involved in a collision with a Calypso Girls defender and had to be replaced, Rachel Dunn entered the action.

The break in play failed to halt the charge from the ladies in red as they upped the tempo to pull further clear heading into the half-time. At the interval England had moved 31-19 in front.

Neville continued to assess her options in the second half as she introduced Natalie Haythornthwaite at WA and brought Sasha Corbin into Centre. Cookey reverted to her more familiar role of GA.

With the defence continuing to look strong, the attack also started firing. Dunn was looking in imperious form, netting from all over the circle. The combination work in attack was easily breaking through the away defence and England roared clear at 51-26 with a quarter remaining.

A brand new defensive pairing was tested for the final fifteen minutes as Sam Cook joined Layla Guscoth. Francis was switched to WD as more combinations were tried.

Dunn and Cookey took their wonderful domestic form to the international scene and were in full flow as England took complete control against an increasingly dejected looking Trinidad & Tobago side.

The energy refused to drop and despite a last hurrah from the visitors, scoring the final two goals of the encounter, England were able to celebrate a dominant Series victory at the final whistle.

Player of the Series went to our newest centurion Pamela Cookey while Sara Bayman was awarded Player of the Match following another sublime display.

Next up for England is a trip to Belfast for Netball Europe later this week. The squad for this tournament sees a couple of new faces come in as Neville continues to look at various players ahead of naming her final 12 next month that will go on to compete at the Netball World Cup in Australia.

Due to an injury sustained in the game, Kadeen Corbin has been replaced in the Netball Europe squad by Sasha Corbin who has been called up from the official reserve list for the tournament.

England starting 7: GS - K.Corbin, GA - Housby, WA - Cookey, C - Bayman, WD - Malcolm, GD - Francis, GK – Mkoloma

Trinidad & Tobago starting 7: GS - Wallace, GA - Cooper, WA - Jack, C - Guerero, WD - Connelly, GD - Duncan, GK - Swift