Team Bath’s Francis helps England to success
Team Bath Netball star Stacey Francis helped England level their international series in Jamaica with an incident-packed 55-47 win in the second test on Sunday.
Francis was restored to WD, having made an impact off the bench during Saturday’s 56-47 defeat in the opening test in Kingston, and played a key role as England battled their way to victory in a bruising encounter.
The game finished 75 seconds early after a power failure plunged the arena into darkness and left the umpires with no option but to declare the match as a result.
England were full value for their win, though, as they bounced back from the previous day’s disappointment by racing into an early 5-0 lead thanks to a flurry of converted turnovers.
Former Team Bath captain Pamela Cookey, also restored to the starting line-up, and Jo Harten continued to find the net with trademark composure as England led 16-11 at the end of the first quarter and 31-25 at half-time.
Jamaica closed the gap to three but then had GD Vangelee Williams sent off after bundling into Jade Clarke. She in turn collided with co-captain Cookey, who was forced off court with an injury.
She was replaced at GA by another former Team Bath player, Kadeen Corbin, and the goals continued to flow as England ended the third quarter 43-34 up before seeing out the victory during a final period disrupted by injury time-outs.
The result and performance was the ideal response to Saturday’s disappointing defeat, which saw the scores locked at 13-13 after an even first period before a series of basic errors allowed Jamaica to open up a 30-24 lead at half-time.
Francis’ introduction saw England enjoy more defensive success in the third quarter and they briefly closed the gap to one but an offside call against Cookey as she looked set to level the scores proved costly and Jamaica were able to pull away again.
The 56-47 victory was Jamaica’s second win in succession against England, following their success in the bronze-medal match at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
But Sunday’s win means England – whose squad also includes Team Bath Netball’s Sam Cook – will go into Wednesday’s third and final test with confidence high.