Diamonds continue golden run in Bendigo

The Australian Diamonds are one win off a perfect 2014 international campaign after beating England by 18 goals in the Real Insurance Netball Test Series in Bendigo today.

A crowd of 2494 filled Bendigo Stadium to watch the Diamonds stretch their winning streak to 18 matches against all countries with a 55-37 victory, Australia’s biggest victory over England since 2012.

It was the first ever international played in the regional Victorian city and Diamonds defender Sharni Layton said there was a fantastic atmosphere throughout the match.

“I love this stadium, It’s so close and intimate and so loud. I actually felt like I was in the crowd at some stages,” Layton said.

“It’s great to come out to these regional areas because they’re just so passionate about their netball.”

Wing attack Madi Robinson was named the Player of the Match after finishing with a game-high 14 goal assists.

The Diamonds are now chasing their first international clean sweep since 1999, having won all of their 13 Test matches played in 2014. The Diamonds clash with England in Canberra on Wednesday night will also be Australia’s 400th Test match of all-time.

_MCA9147LiDiamonds coach Lisa Alexander handed Layton her first starting bib of the series, lining up at goal keeper in the absence of regular captain Laura Geitz.

Like they did in the Constellation Cup series against New Zealand, the Diamonds got away to a strong start with the opening three goals of the game and then the last eight goals of the quarter to take a 12-goal lead into the first break 18-6.

England brought Rachel Dunn into goal attack to start the second term and then made more changes late in the quarter with Ama Agbeze taking over the goal defence position from Eboni Beckford-Chambers to try and reign in the deficit.

But shooter Caitlin Bassett was on target for the half and finished off the great work done by Robinson and Kim Ravaillion as the Diamonds went into the main break leading 29-17.

After Bassett shot the opening goal of the third term, England enjoyed its best passage of the match as it brought the lead back under double figures by the half-way mark.

_MCA7864LiEngland closed to within seven goals, but the Diamonds steadied and scored the last five goals of the quarter to return the lead to 12 goals heading into the final term.

The Bendigo Stadium erupted when home-grown stars Caitlin Thwaites and Rebecca Bulley were brought on court to start the final term while Green, who had watched the action from the bench for the first three quarters, came into the centre position for Ravaillion.

Thwaites scored with her first shot and shot her first six goals at 100 per cent accuracy as the Diamonds powered away from England to record another comprehensive victory.

The final Test of the 2014 Real Insurance Netball Test Series will be played at the AIS Arena in Canberra on Wednesday 22 October at 7.15pm.

MATCH STATISTICS

Australia

Name Match Goals
Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 ET G A %
BASSETT Caitlin GS GS GS 29 32 91
BULLEY Rebecca GD
CALDWELL Tegan
CORLETTO Julie GD GD GD
GREEN Kimberlee C
HALLINAN Renae WD WD WD WD
LAYTON Sharni GK GK GK GK
McMENIMAN Clare
MEDHURST Natalie GA GA GA GA 18 25 72
RAVAILLION Kim C C C
ROBINSON Madi WA WA WA WA
THWAITES Caitlin GS 8 10 80
Total 55 67 82
Coach                                           ALEXANDER Lisa

England

Name Match Goals
Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 ET G A %
AGBEZE Ama /-GD GD/-
ALLISON Rosie
BAYMAN Sara WD WD/C C C
BECKFORD-CHAMBERS Eboni GD GD/- -/GD GD
CANDAPPA Sophia
CLARKE Jade WA WA WA WA
COOK Sam
CORBIN Kadeen GA 1 3 33
DUNN Rachel GA GA GA 13 15 87
FRANCIS Stacey -/WD
GUTHRIE Serena C C/WD WD WD/-
HARTEN Jo GS GS GS GS 23 30 77
HOUSBY Helen
MENTOR Geva GK GK GK GK
Total 37 48 77
Coach                                            MAYES Anna