By: Matthew Wang
After a historic and decisive victory against New Zealand in the semifinals of the Netball World Championship, England will play 11-time champion, Australia, in the final game of the season.
England’s team has evolved greatly since receiving backlash over its poor performances after its 2018 gold. Since then, the entire team has been working hard to become the best version of themselves, becoming a dependable team in the process. As reported by BBC, “When Jess Thirlby took the reins from former coach Tracey Neville after England had won World Cup bronze in 2019, having been beaten in the semi-final by New Zealand, she said some things would need to change. Focus went on developing a full squad of 12 dependable players and at this tournament, England are getting their just reward” (BBC, 2023).
With such high effort put in, England is finally reaping the fruits of their labor. Through their extreme training, they have gained fantastic skills, but arguably more important, patience. Thirby states, “I think the mental side of our game has massively shifted. Sometimes it takes 58 minutes before you get the reward but they kept at it and got it in the end.”
The culmination of their work was shown in the spectacular plays made by the English against New Zealand, breaking a stalemate between the two otherwise evenly matched teams. As the BBC reports, illustrating the exhilarating moment that broke the stalemate that persisted in all of the three previous quarters, “Fran Williams, who also produced the game-changing moment against Australia, leaped from nowhere to snatch the ball away from Gina Crampton, setting up Housby to score and give England a slender lead” (BBC, 2023). This play, along with some excellent defense, won the game for England, allowing them to finally enter the finals, an intense match between the English team that rose from the ashes and the masterful champion, Australia.