‘A timely boost for the netball community’

SERENA GUTHRIE hopes England’s netballers can help set the trend for a return to international sport with their three-game test against New Zealand.

Islander Serena Guthrie could make her 100th cap for England when they take on New Zealand this weekend as part of the Cadbury Netball Series.
Islander Serena Guthrie could make her 100th cap for England when they take on New Zealand this weekend as part of the Cadbury Netball Series.

The Islander has returned to the national squad for the first time since taking a 12-month break from the game and will take one step closer to her 100th cap tomorrow. The Roses travelled to Christchurch earlier this month to complete a two-week isolation period, before flying to Hamilton for the first international netball fixture of any kind since the Covid-19 outbreak. And, following the Oceanic nation’s success in dealing with the pandemic, all three mathces against the defending world champions could welcome near sell-out crowds.

‘It has been a tour like no other I’ve never been on with all the restrictions that we have had to adhere to,’ said Guthrie, who has 98 England caps to her name.

‘The first few days were a challenge as we were in separate bubbles and couldn’t train together as a team, but since day five in isolation we were able to train at a Covid-safe facility as a whole group which was great.

‘Now we’re through the 14-day isolation and three Covid tests down, we’re free to roam as normal for the rest of the tour and we will be playing in front of a crowd, which will be a real privilege considering what’s happening at home with increased restrictions.’

The 30-year-old added: ‘It’s great to have some female sport and netball back on the live screens after so long. It is great for the whole netball community.’

The Cadbury Netball Series continues on Friday and concludes on Sunday, with England targeting revenge following a narrow defeat on home soil in the semi-finals of the 2019 World Cup. All three games will be shown live on Sky Sports, at 6am GMT.

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