Helen Housby and Joanne Harten led an incredible comeback by England to defeat Jamaica 54-50 in a Pool B clash at the 2015 Netball World Cup in Sydney on Saturday. The Jamaicans opened the scoring at 2-0 through Romelda Aiken and Shanice Beckford. The Roses got into their stride as they disturbed the scoreboard through Harten and drew level through Pam Cookey.
Both teams finally found their rhythm as they traded blows and the lead on several occasions. The Caribbean islanders went ahead by one with under seven minutes to go in the opening quarter after capitalising on their chances. The ladies in green and yellow were linking up really well with each other and were making the English work for their chances as they maintained possession and their lead at 14-11 at the end of the first quarter.
The teams amped up the pace in the opening minutes of the second quarter as they put the pressure on each other resulting in turnovers from both teams. The world number four team’s attacking pair kept their perfect record going as they ranked up the goals and maintained their three goal cushion. Tracey Neville’s side were still being nullified by the Sunshine Girls and struggled to gain a stronghold on the game but they did manage to reduce the deficit to just one with under four minutes to go.
Minneth Reynolds’ ladies were not done though as they capitalised on the errors of the English and stretched ahead to 28-23 in the final stages of the quarter. Both teams made some wholesale changes after the half-time break. The ladies from Europe began their fightback scoring four unanswered goals through the partnership of Harten and Housby who were getting creative with their play to get their side to within three at 34-31.
The North Americans were not quite clicking in the penultimate stanza as they struggled to stop the boisterous comeback from the ladies in red. Housby and Harten put them ahead for the first time as they scored 14 goals in this quarter to the Jamaicans’ eight. At the end of the third quarter it was the Roses in the ascendancy at 38-37.
The Jamaican captain Aiken was brought back on in the final quarter as the ladies from the Caribbean showed their intent to fight for this match. She scored a goal straight away from close range to stay within touching distance of the English. The comeback continued as the Roses stretched ahead at 45-41 with three goals in a row from their attacking pair in the final nine minutes of this de facto Pool B decider.
Aiken and company were not going away though as they continued to stay within touching distance. Harten brought up England’s 50 with five minutes remaining. She and her partner Housby maintained their composure as they ran out winners by 54 goals to 50 in a seesaw battle.