Diamonds return to winners list against England

The Australian Diamonds have celebrated the 50th Test milestones of Julie Corletto and Caitlin Bassett in style by defeating England in their first qualification round match at the Netball World Cup SYDNEY 2015.

The Diamonds bounced back from their defeat to New Zealand on Sunday to get their title defence back on track with a 51-41 win over the Roses.

The Diamonds were tested early by the world number three who came into the match undefeated.

But Australia took control of the match late in the first half and a dominant third quarter defensive performance, inspired by Corletto and captain Laura Geitz, ensured the Diamonds were triumphant at Allphones Arena.

Corletto said the Diamonds placed a big emphasis pre-game on full court defensive pressure and was pleased to have executed those plans.

“We knew it had to be full court pressure to get the job done and it’s a great feeling to get the win,” Corletto said after the match.

A fired up England side made the Diamonds earn every pass and goal for most of the opening term before Australia gained the first break to lead by three goals at quarter-time thanks to some classy long range shooting by Natalie Medhurst.

The Diamonds defence was outstanding to begin the second quarter, with Corletto and wing defence Renae Hallinan pressuring their opponents into mistakes and the Diamonds pulled out to a seven-goal lead.

The Roses were able to reduce the deficit to five at the main break after a reshuffle of their line-up, including the introduction of the experienced Sonia Mkoloma to goal defence, gave them a spark.

While England midcourter Serena Guthrie was creating opportunities for her shooters, Australia’s defenders continued to stand resolute and the Diamonds quickly raced to an eight-goal lead early in the third term.

Youngster Paige Hadley was brought on to replace Kimberlee Green at wing attack mid-way through the third term and quickly settled into her role.

The highlight of the term was Medhurst scoring her 1000th international goal, coming in her 70th Test appearance, as the Diamonds went into the last quarter nine goals ahead.

A flying effort by Corletto in the dying seconds to stop England from scoring highlighted Australia’s desperation.

Bassett was spelled by Australian coach Lisa Alexander at three-quarter time, giving Caitlin Thwaites an opportunity at goal shooter.

While England made a strong start to the last term to reduce the deficit to six goals, the Diamonds were able to steady with Thwaites picking up where Bassett left off and go on to record their 13th victory overall against England in the Netball World Cup.

Australia’s next match in the qualification round is against South Africa – coached by former Diamonds mentor Norma Plummer – on Wednesday night at 8.20pm, local time.

Official Result & Statistics
AUSTRALIAN DIAMONDS (51) defeated ENGLAND (41)

Australian Diamonds shooting statistics:
Caitlin Bassett 28/32 (87%)
Natalie Medhurst 14/18 (78%)
Caitlin Thwaites 9/13 (69%)

England shooting statistics:
Jo Harten 30/33 (90%)
Helen Housby 6/9 (66%)
Pamela Cookey 5/6 (83%)