IndiaSports

England stun Australia with penalty shot on the siren to win netball gold | Sport | India Sports


Kadeen Corbin did a back flip, Helen Housby sobbed and Tracey Neville, the coach, declared it a dream come true after England won Commonwealth gold by defeating Australia, for so long the dominant force in world netball.

There was one second on the clock when Housby scored to secure an astonishing victory against the world champions, whom England last defeated five years ago.

Until now every Commonwealth Games final had been contested between Australia and New Zealand. The last time England reached a comparable final was 1975 so being in the gold‑medal match was a significant achievement. To win, when the expectation here was that the hosts would saunter to victory, could prompt a major shift in the world order.

The match-winner was Housby, who missed a shot with four seconds on the clock only for the umpire to award a penalty, which the 23-year-old put away nervelessly to clinch an entirely unexpected 52-51 win.

The buzzer sounded immediately and the 12-strong squad embraced in heady celebrations around the centre circle, bouncing around in unison and piling on top of each other. Kadeen Corbin, who came on briefly as a substitute, was doing back flips around the court. “There’s only one Tracey Neville,” they chanted in unison in recognition of a woman who first represented her country in 1993 and has coached England since 2015.

In the depths of the Coomera Indoor Sports Centre, tears streamed down Housby’s face as she watched a replay of the last-second goal, a moment that will be recorded as among the greatest in English netball history.

“To score the winning goal in the final against Australia in the last second, every single box has been ticked,” she said. “As shooters, it can be a lonely experience. You spend a lot of time doing your own training and shooting. You don’t really know how you’re going to react to those situations and that pressure because you don’t get it very often.

“For netball in England, all the little girls at home I want them to be inspired by this. We certainly didn’t have this kind of success to look up when we were growing up and hopefully that will be the catalyst for big things to come.”

Tracey Neville looks stunned after England’s last-gasp triumph over Australia.



Tracey Neville looks stunned after England’s last-gasp triumph over Australia. Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA

In May 1999 Neville was playing abroad for her country. She sat in a hotel room and watched as a Manchester United team featuring her older brother Gary completed the treble by scoring two injury-time goals. Her players gave Gary a sense of the torture of being a spectating sibling in the big moments. “The best thing I’ve ever watched,” he wrote on Twitter.

Tracey Neville said: “Everyone says: ‘What does it mean to the Neville family?’ We just live, eat and breathe sport. For my brothers, they want me to do well and be successful in sport, it’s our passion and we’re all successful in our own way. Gary’s wife sent me a video of him in front of the telly screaming: ‘C’mon, Helen, go on,’ as if he actually knows these players.

“I remember the treble in Barcelona when they put that goal in. I was on tour at the time and I was screaming in a room at 4am. We support each other 100%. They are the ones who drive me.”

The local newspapers were full of bluster about Australia blowing the England team off the court and the hosts were overwhelming favourites after dominating every previous match at the Games. But at half-time it was 25-25 and England twice led by three points in the third quarter. Australia opened up a 45-41 lead in the final quarter but England, and particularly the attacker Jo Harten, never looked like giving up.

“We know how clinical this Australia team is and as you see the sea of gold, they are quite an authoritative team,” Neville said. “They dominate with their colour, but I said to my players, ‘when we cut each other open everyone has got red’ and that is what we saw on the court tonight. All they saw is red and the goal and they did it.”

England’s victory is the latest in an impressive run of major titles for women’s teams from the home nations. Since the GB hockey women won gold at the Rio Olympics in 2016, England Women won the Cricket World Cup at Lord’s last July while the football team reached the semi-finals of Euro 2017.

“We all support each other,” Neville said. “We went down to watch the women win at the Cricket World Cup and we will go to the Hockey world cup [in May].

“When we have international events we support each other and go watch and what we’re trying to do is generate as women in sport a multiple support system so we can crossover the sports and increase the revenue and spectator and participation levels.

“Netball has been part of my life since I was five. If I can support its development in any way that’s what I want to do. If that gold medal gives them that getup and will to go then I’ve done my job.”

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker