England win third Test against Uganda to secure clean sweep in series at Copper Box Arena | Netball News

England developed a 32-22 half-time lead but then lost the third quarter; Jess Thirlby made personnel changes for the final 15 minutes and the head coach described her more senior players’ performance in it as “classy” to ensure the team prevailed 64-51 on court in London

Last Updated: 09/10/22 4:14pm

Chelsea Pitman had another impressive performance as she returns to the England squad for the first time since 2020

England’s Vitality Roses won the third Test against Uganda 64-51 at the Copper Box Arena to secure a clean sweep of victories in the series.

The Vitality Roses led 32-22 at half-time before losing the third quarter and needed to reset going into the final set of 15 minutes.

Chelsea Pitman’s arrival in attack enabled England to settle again and a 19-11 final quarter ensured they ended the home series on a high note.

Jess Thirlby’s team will now turn their attentions on a three-Test series against the Commonwealth Games champions and world No 1 side Australia, at the end of the month.

“We had a different line-up to start the game, built a lead by half-time and had to fight a little bit in the third quarter. The senior group really asserted themselves in the fourth quarter,” said England head coach Thirlby.

“It was a really classy finish and I’m really pleased because I don’t think that it was a given that we would necessarily win by a bigger margin.”

England’s Vitality Roses fixtures and results

Wednesday, October 5 England 60-51 Uganda
Saturday, October 8 England 53-45 Uganda
Sunday, October 9 England 64-51 Uganda
Wednesday, October 26 Australia vs England Newcastle
Sunday, October 30 Australia vs England Sydney
Thursday, November 3 Australia vs England Brisbane

England sealed the series with a second-Test victory on Saturday afternoon and both head coaches decided to make personnel changes for this final match.

Thirlby handed first international starts to three of her youngest players in the form of Olivia Tchine, Zara Everitt and Funmi Fadoju.

Uganda’s head coach Fred Mugerwa switched things up at both ends of the court. His wing attack for the first two Tests, Irene Eyaru, moved in a position to start at goal attack and Shakira Nakanyike took the reins on the edge of the circle.

In defense, Rosette Namutebi arrived at wing defense and Falidah Kadondi took the place of Proscovia Peace at goal keeper.

England vs Uganda – Starting sevens

England Uganda
GS: Olivia Tchine GS: Mary Cholhok
GA: Eleanor Cardwell GA: Irene Eyaru
WA: Hannah Joseph WA: Shakira Nakanyike
C: Laura Malcolm C: Donkey Baagala
WD: Zara Everitt WD: Rosette Namutebi
GD: Fran Williams GD: Joan Nampungu
GK: Funmi Fadoju GK: Falidah Kadondi

The She Cranes started positively and pressed 4-1 up before England were set back on the right path by energy-lifting turnovers from Fadoju. Co-captain Malcolm also stepped up in defense, while Tchine and Eleanor Cardwell were accurate under the post.

Thirlby’s outfit maintained their momentum for the rest of the opening quarter and right the way through the second set of 15 minutes too. Uganda, who had restored their more tried and tested seven for the second quarter, faded physically during it and England capitalized upon their unforced errors.

With a 32-22 half-time lead, Thirlby switched Fran Williams back to goal keeper to mark her Loughborough Lightning team-mate Mary Cholhok and moved Fadoju out.

Unlike during the first and second Tests, England did not move the game on during the third quarter and instead Uganda grew in confidence, played patient netball and hit back during the final stages of it.

The She Cranes went through to score at a rapid rate by using Cholhok’s height in the circle and late English errors on the final feed in attack helped draw the match back to within five goals.

England vs Uganda – Quarter-by-quarter scores

Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 FT
England 17 15 13 19 64
Uganda 11 11 18 11 51

At three-quarter time, Thirlby turned to her bench for the last time in the series to try and change the course of the match.

After co-captain Malcolm again lifted the home side in the first moments of the quarter by forcing an error in mid-court, further up court England settled well due to Pitman’s presence.

Pitman brought composure into England’s attacking third goal; the 40-cap international looked straight in when she needed to and also had the confidence to reset and go again.

Fresh on at goal keeper, Alice Harvey restored a productive defensive partnership with her Superleague team-mate Williams and England used the final 15 minutes to bring the home crowd to their feet and take a good momentum into their Australian series later this month.