Commonwealth Games, Birmingham 2022 | Mazic News

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Four years after Helen Housby’s last-minute exploits denied England the netball gold on the Gold Coast, Australia picked the Roses petal by petal in a lopsided semi-final of the Commonwealth Games



<p>Team England’s Natalie Metcalf holds the ball during the Netball Pool B match between Team England and Team Uganda during day five of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games at the NEC Arena August 2.  (Image: Alex Livesey/Getty Images)</p><div data-ad-id=
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Team England’s Natalie Metcalf holds the ball during the Netball Pool B match between Team England and Team Uganda on day five of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games at the NEC Arena on August 02. (Image: Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

If revenge is a dish best served cold, then Australia serves hosts England a generous helping of double helpings.

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Four years after Helen Housby’s last-second exploits denied netball gold on the Gold Coast, they plucked petal by petal of the Roses in front of their incredulous home fans in a one-sided Commonwealth Games semi-final.

Jess Thirlby’s side arrived full of confidence after beating world champions New Zealand while the Diamonds reeled from a shock defeat to Jamaica, who they now face in Sunday’s final.

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However, they took the lead early and never gave it up. Their high-pressure play posed questions that England simply could not answer.

They now have their eyes on another match with the Silver Ferns for bronze, the same medal they won at the 2019 World Cup in Liverpool.

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“We have to recognize and acknowledge this loss,” said captain Natalie Metcalf.

“We’re a really tight group and we don’t want to leave the games without showing anything.

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“They progressed too soon and too soon and we gave ourselves too much work. We just didn’t pay enough attention to our spin on the ball.

“We take a lot of confidence from the fact that we beat New Zealand in the group stage and there is still so much to play.

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“We’re disappointed not to be able to reach the final but it’s really important that we regroup and pull together. We have to look at what went wrong and fix that.”

Thirlby changed her starting line-up, signing the experienced Jo Harten to replace the in-form Eleanor Cardwell in front of the post.

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But that wasn’t where the game was lost. The veteran Geva mentor struggled in her six games to hold her own against Australia’s flawless Gretel Bueta, while the Diamonds held center court like a vise, England missed out on Serena Guthrie, who announced her retirement earlier this year.

“Sport is brutal,” said Thirlby. “If you play well and you lose, you can get used to it, but we’ve just given ourselves a mountain to climb.

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“There wasn’t anything in it that we didn’t expect but we were found lacking the ball and that is

atypical for us. Australia was too smart but we expected more from ourselves.”

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Thirlby knows what it’s like to lose a Commonwealth Games semi-final on home soil – and then the bronze medal consolation match that follows.

And Housby, the hero four years ago, said they will not wallow in this defeat while admitting England were less than impressed with some of the officiating calls in the game.

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“They were better and smarter than us, we had periods in the game where we could keep up with them but they weren’t consistent,” she said.

“A medal is still a medal, so playing for bronze against New Zealand will be huge. We’ve already done it, but you can’t count on that.”

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“Loss like that really puts everything we need to work on into perspective, so we’ll go back to the drawing board and hopefully come back really strong.”

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