Diamonds ensure 2013 tour now a faded memory

The Australian Diamonds have finished their tour of England on a high with a clean sweep of the Test series against the Roses after triumphing 55-41 in the final match at London’s Copper Box Arena.

The 3-0 series victory reversed the Diamonds’ result of their 2013 tour and Australian coach Lisa Alexander returns home satisfied with what the group has achieved.

“We learnt from that tour,” Alexander said. “We’re out of season so we made some adjustments in our terms of our preparation and we’re very pleased with the result.”

Getting international experience into the Diamonds’ youngsters was one of the aims of the series and Alexander said, along with the overall result, that was a major positive.

“Gretel Tippett, Caitlin Thwaites, Paige Hadley, Liz Watson; from a coaching and selection point of view we’re absolutely delighted,” Alexander said.

“That’s important for us, it’s really what gives us the competition in all places in our team and keeps all the older ones on the their toes. They have to make sure they’re getting better all the time so a fantastic effort from our young players.”

bassAlexander fielded one of the most inexperienced Diamonds’ starting line-ups in many years with goal keeper Sharni Layton (35 Tests) the most experienced.

Four of the starting line-up – acting captain Clare McMeniman, wing defence Gabi Simpson, centre Liz Watson and goal attack Gretel Tippett – all have played less than 10 Tests.

Like the previous two Tests, the match fluctuated in the opening quarter with the Diamonds getting away to an early lead before the Roses fought back to level the scores at the first break.

After sitting out the previous Test, Caitlin Bassett was brought into goal shooter to replace Caitlin Thwaites to start the second term.

Bassett quickly made her presence felt as the Diamonds took control of the match.

The defensive combination of Layton, McMeniman and Simpson got on top of their opponents as the Diamonds held England to just seven goals – their lowest scoring quarter of the series.

Australia led by six goals at the main break but the Roses quickly closed that gap to three early in the third term as the home crowd sensed another shift in momentum.

However Diamonds midcourters Liz Watson and Paige Hadley began to assert their influence and provided a constant supply to the shooting combination of Bassett and Natalie Medhurst as Australia took a stranglehold on the contest, powering away to a 12-goal advantage.

Watson had an equal game-high 11 assists before sitting out the final 15 minutes, replaced by Ashleigh Brazill at centre.crowd

When Jo Weston replaced McMeniman mid-way through the final term, Alexander had given court time to all 12 players on her team over the course of the series.

England finished the match one player down after captain Sara Bayman was sent from the court by umpire Jono Bredin for a collision with Hadley.

Layton was again a stand-out at goal keeper with a game-high five intercepts and fittingly named the Diamonds Player of the Series.

Layton was named the Diamonds Player of the Series. Her English counterpart Ama Agbeze was named Player of the Match and also the Roses’ Player of the Series.

Official Result & Statistics

Australian Diamonds shooting statistics
Caitlin Bassett 27/33 (82%)
Natalie Medhurst 13/14 (93%)
Gretel Tippett 8/8 (100%)
Caitlin Thwaites 7/9 (78%)

England shooting statistics
Helen Housby 27/30 (90%)
Rachel Dunn 14/19 (74%)

Click here for complete match statistics.