‘Proudest day’ for Guthrie at Netball World Cup
SERENA GUTHRIE unleashed a stunning player-of-the-match performance to help put one England foot into the semi-finals of the Netball World Cup yesterday.
The Islander was in scintillating form in Liverpool as the host nation toppled world number three Jamaica, with their fourth win in four days earning a more favourable route to this weekend’s medal matches.
The 56-48 group-stage triumph gives England a cushion as they approach Thursday’s crunch-match with South Africa, which is likely to decide who will face (and avoid) defending champions Australia in the last-four.
‘I can’t believe we went out there and did that to Jamaica, to be honest,’ Guthrie told Sky Sports.
‘To come out and play like that against an in-form side ... it’s my proudest day since I took up the captain’s role.
‘I’m still quite speechless at the performance, but I’d probably give it a “B-minus” ... we’re not done yet.’
A win was important to England’s attempts to reach the semi-finals, although not as essential as it was for Jamaica. Following a defeat to South Africa in the preliminaries the Sunshine Girls could barely afford to lose, knowing that Guthrie and Co are unlikely to finish behind in both of their remaining group matches against Trinidad & Tobago and South Africa.
England opened up a five-goal lead in a pacey start at the M&S Bank Arena while the Jamaicans struggled to settle, but 6-ft 5-in Caribbean shooter Jhaniele Fowler soon shook off her spectator tag and hauled her side level.
Fowler’s height and strength proved troublesome for the Roses and the hosts fell behind in the second quarter.
Only for a short while, though.
England edged their noses back in front before half-time arrived [28-26] and the third quarter was a little more straightforward. Guthrie continued to meet expectations with a dynamic display across the midcourt and shooters Jo Harten and Helen Housby converted possession into an eight-goal lead at 44-36.
The advantage was increased to ten before Jamaica reduced the damage by a smidgen, but from there the game was hardly in doubt as Guthrie marshalled the home favourites over the line.
Rest day today for the former Le Rocquier student. Well deserved.
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