England win netball series against Jamaica 2-1
England beat Jamaica 63-59 in their final match to wrap up a 2-1 series victory against the Sunshine Girls.
With the series poised at 1-1, England had to fend off a feisty Jamaica performance in front of a lively crowd at London’s Copper Box.
England are ranked third in the world, ahead of fourth-placed Jamaica.
Roses captain Natalie Metcalf said she was “really proud” to get a “massive” win against the Commonwealth Games silver medallists.
“I feel really emotional, to secure the series on home soil I’m really proud,” she added.
“This is massive – Jamaica are an incredible team, playing against them is so hard every time so for us to have this opportunity to play them and test ourselves for the last time before the World Cup, it’s been crucial for us.”
Metcalf, along with fellow mid courter Imogen Allison, drove the Roses’ attack as the defence looked more settled with experienced defender Geva Mentor in the side for the first time this series.
Much to the relief of head coach Jess Thirlby, shooter Helen Housby returned to the team after limping off in Saturday’s 61-58 defeat and formed a formidable partnership with impressive youngster Olivia Tchine.
England started well, leading by four after the opening quarter, but allowed Jamaica back into the game in the second period and endured a physical second half to keep fired up shooter Jhaniele Fowler at bay.
In a frantic third period, Jamaica wing defence Crystal Plummer was suspended for continuous obstruction leaving the visitors down to six players for two minutes as England maintained their narrow lead.
While Thirlby has one eye on trialling different combinations to work out her best 12 players to take to the World Cup in South Africa this summer, she reverted to the experience of Mentor and Layla Guscoth in defence to see out the victory.
England won the opening match 73-52. (BBC)