Diamonds shine in grudge match with England
AFTER five months of pain and plotting Australia penned a winning chapter in their book of rivalry with England netball to avenge their Commonwealth Games loss with an emotional 52-47 victory in Newcastle on Wednesday.
The Diamonds overcame a lacklustre start and then survived a spirited late comeback from England to extend their undefeated run in the Quad Series.
The win has put the Diamonds just a victory away from achieving their goal of cleansweeping the international series while finally consigning their devastating one-goal loss to England at the Commonwealth Games to the past.
The 51-52 last-minute loss to England in the battle for gold has haunted the Diamonds since May.
But on Wednesday the Diamonds lived up to their world No.1 status by taking down England, albeit with the Roses missing Jo Harten who scored the winning goal at the Games.
Australia paid the price for a nervous start in the Newcastle Test, trailing England 11-14 at the first break.
Liz Watson was injected into the midcourt in the second quarter with immediate effect as the Australians settled and turned a three goal deficit into a 26-24 halftime lead.
A 15-10 third quarter kept the Diamonds in control with Australia then taking a 41-34 lead into the final period.
Despite a spirited comeback from England, Australia were able to hold the new world No.2 ranked side off for the victory.
Captain Caitlin Bassett scored 37 from 40 with Steph Wood nailing 10 from 12 in the first half and Gretel Tippett five from five in the second half.
Bassett was elated with the win which came 10 years after she made her Australian debut against England at the same venue.
"That time I only got on in the last quarter so this was much better," she said.
"To get that win is so good for us and to get our confidence back going into the New Zealand game (Sunday)."
Coach Lisa Alexander was happy with the result but wants to see improvement from her charges ahead of the final game of the Quad Series on Sunday.
She also admitted she would have liked star shooter Jo Harten, ruled out after a knee knock, to have been on the court for England.
"I must admit we would really have liked that challenge," she said.
Australia's final game of the Quad Series is against New Zealand in Melbourne on Sunday.
The Silver Ferns, now under the guidance of new coach Noeline Taurua, on Tuesday beat South Africa 61-37 in a significantly better performance than their record 52-39 drubbing at the hands of England in their Quad Series opener.
AUSTRALIA 52 (Caitlin Bassett 37 Steph Wood 10 Gretel Tippett 5) ENGLAND 47 (Helen Housby 29 Kadeen Corbin 12 Natalie Haythornthwaite 6) at Newcastle Entertainment Centre
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