England’s title defense ends with a netball semi-final loss to Australia


England’s hopes of becoming the defending champions at the Commonwealth Games were dashed by a 60-51 semi-final defeat by Australia at Birmingham NEC.

Jess Thirlby’s side have never been ahead of the Diamonds, who beat them in the last second to win the title four years ago on the Gold Coast.

After the three-loss first quarter, Thirlby traded goal-scoring Helen Housby for Eleanor Cardwell, but the switch had little discernible impact as Australia dominated the middle section.

England have been beaten by Australia in the last four (Jacob King/PA)

(PA wire)

Since goalkeeper Geva Mentor had little influence to interrupt Australian goalscorer Gretel Bijeta, the hosts fell back six points at half-time with 29:23.

Shaken up by the sell-out crowd, England managed to regain their lead to four but it was brief respite and midway through the third quarter a miss from Jo Harten allowed Australia to move up the other end and extend their lead to 10 goals.

A 45-36 deficit at the end of the third was all but unassailable and despite a boost from the introduction of Housby, who temporarily reduced Australia’s lead to six, the result never seemed in doubt.

Australia will play Jamaica in the final after the Sunshine Girls pulled off an impressive 67-51 win over world champions New Zealand, with Jamaica’s Jhaniele Fowler scoring all 54 of her tries. England’s title defense ends with a netball semi-final loss to Australia

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