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Fears for Guscoth as England brush aside Scotland

UK Sport | Published:

The Roses defender limped off in the first quarter.

England’s comprehensive win over Scotland at the Netball World Cup may have come at a price with fears that influential defender Layla Guscoth could be ruled out for the rest of the tournament.

The Adelaide Thunder player limped off with an apparent ankle injury midway through the first quarter of her team’s 70-34 Group D win, and was immediately sent to the team hotel for treatment.

England coach Tracey Neville skipped post-match media duties but she did tell Sky Sports: “She walked off which is positive. We haven’t seen her yet but when we get further news we’ll let you know.”

Guscoth’s absence would be a blow for Neville, who relished the opportunity to rotate her squad after the opening win over Uganda, with top scorer Jo Harten rested for all but the final moments of the contest.

Harten’s replacement Rachel Dunn seized her chance in admirable fashion with 49 goals in 52 attempts as the Scots, seeking positives ahead of a tough final group game against Uganda on Sunday, struggled to keep pace.

The different priorities of both teams were made plain by memories of the last time they met, when England’s 74-28 triumph on the Gold Coast set them off on their dramatic gold medal journey.

Netball World Cup 2019 – Day Two – M&S Bank Arena
Scotland struggled to contain England’s attack at the Netball World Cup (Nigel French/PA)

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However, any Scottish hopes that their opponents might be too focused on the bigger picture were dashed in an almost faultless opening quarter – Guscoth’s departure apart –  in which both Dunn and Helen Housby scored 100 per cent of goal attempts to establish an 18-9 lead.

Dunn maintained her superb percentage accuracy as England stretched the lead to 35-20 at half-time, with Lynsey Gallagher once again the Scottish star with 10 goals as her team struggled to make much impression.

England captain Serena Guthrie made her first appearance of the day for the start of the third quarter and her impact was immediately evident as her side scored 20 against their opponents’ six to stretch their lead to 55-26.

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In front of another raucous crowd, England ultimately cruised over the line, although Dunn said she was unaware of the notable accomplishment of scoring from all of her first 21 shots on target.

Veteran Dunn, a former two-time Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, missed out on the squad for the Gold Coast last year but said watching her team-mates claim their historic gold has left her and her team-mates hungry for more.

Netball World Cup
Another packed crowd saw England beat Scotland in Liverpool (Nigel French/PA)

“It’s definitely a driving force behind it, knowing we have players to know how to go out and do it, and hopefully we can combine with them to try to get another gold for the team.”

England are expected to cruise through their final group game against Samoa on Sunday while Scotland face an intriguing test against world number six-ranked Uganda, who beat the Samoans 69-48 on Court Two.

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