Vitality Netball World Cup: England hammer Samoa for third successive win
Roses top their group after third successive win, Scotland join them in second phase despite defeat
By Paul Prenderville at the M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool
Last Updated: 14/07/19 7:17pm
England maintained their winning start at the Vitality Netball World Cup, after a 90-24 victory over Samoa gave them their biggest winning margin in the tournament so far and the expected top spot in Group D.
A 32-goal victory over Uganda was followed by a 36-goal win over Scotland and on Sunday afternoon, a full-strength England bore their teeth with a 66-goal success over a Samoa team that are ranked 15th in the world.
It also meant that England equalled the 90 goals racked up by South Africa on Saturday evening and New Zealand in Sunday morning's opener to head into the second phase of the competition in a strong position.
The 90-goal mark was overhauled by Australia in the afternoon, who also made it a perfect start.
They were joined by Uganda and Scotland in progressing through to Group F, Uganda eventually beating the Thistles in a thrilling contest to close out the morning session.
Captain Serena Guthrie, Geva Mentor, Chelsea Pitman and Jo Harten were restored to the starting seven as Tracey Neville went with her strongest available team to finish the first preliminary stage.
2019 Vitality Netball World Cup - Sunday's results
|Group A||Australia 99-24 Sri Lanka|
|N Ireland 49-51 Zimbabwe|
|Group B||New Zealand 90-21 Singapore|
|Malawi 65-41 Barbados|
|Group C||Jamaica 52-55 South Africa|
|Trinidad & Tobago 67-56 Fiji|
|Group D||England 90-24 Samoa|
|Uganda 52-43 Scotland|
The feelgood factor around the Roses had hit its first blip on Saturday evening when Layla Guscoth was ruled out with a ruptured Achilles but another professional and polished display against the weakest team in the group delighted another packed house in Liverpool.
Guscoth received a rapturous reception when she emerged to join the England team on the bench and for the national anthem having raced back from a scan on her injury.
"A team and a squad is not just about what happens on the court, she is a friend and family member and we were all hurt yesterday," Neville said.
"She managed to get back for the start of the game and the girls wanted to do it for her today, and that's exactly what she wants as well.
After easing past Scotland, Neville restored her big guns to the starting line-up with the key difference from the day one win over Uganda being the introduction of Jade Clarke for Guscoth, and Neville had no problem going strong as attention turns to the business stages of the competition.
The England coach is battling a demanding 10-day schedule, and has used her squad to her fullest as she looks to find form and confidence while also ensuring no one is overworked.
"International netball has moved on quite a lot, it was dominated by one or two teams when I was playing but we have a range of the top-eight teams that can compete and push you to the limits," said Neville.
"Maybe now the tournament needs to be looked at in terms of the physical capacities but it is what it is and we knew that coming into the tournament.".
2019 Vitality Netball World Cup - Second Preliminary Stage
|Group E||Group F||Group G|
|Singapore||New Zealand||South Africa|
|Barbados||Trinidad & Tobago|
Neville's twin brother Phil watched on from the stands and like the Lionesses boss, has rotated her squad throughout the first phase but the decision to start with arguably her best seven gave England the chance to assess the defensive options.
The trio of Mentor, Usoro-Brown and Clarke is a formidable one and it is likely to be their strongest option for the rest of the tournament and they did not disappoint, keeping the Samoans in single figures for each of the four quarters.
At the other end, Harten proved flawless, hitting 100 per cent of her shots, including the full range of long bombs as the Roses hunted down the tournament's highest tally scoring 22, 21, 22 and 25 goals in a one-sided contest.
Moving forward England will face Jamaica, South Africa and probably Trinidad & Tobago with their fixtures to be confirmed on Sunday evening, and Jade Clarke told Sky Netball they are ready to go up a level.
"We are loving playing in front of a home crowd," Clarke said.
"We play South Africa or Jamaica next and we are ready for a tough game and we want a tight game in front of this group to really feel what this World Cup is about.
Also in the early action on day one, New Zealand became the first team to record a perfect record, beating Singapore by 79 goals to blaze their way into the second phase in style as Group D winners. Malawi claimed second spot, winning 65-41 against Barbados, who also progress courtesy of their win over Singapore on day one.
Watch every match of the 2019 Vitality Netball World Cup live on Sky Sports. Coverage continues on Sunday with the final matches of the first preliminary stage and stay up to date at SkySports.com/netball and @SkyNetball