Gold Coast 2018: Eboni Beckford-Chambers helps England to historic win over New Zealand ahead of semis showdown
Team Bath Netball captain Eboni Beckford-Chambers helped England record a historic victory over New Zealand and boost their chances of reaching a first-ever Commonwealth Games final at Gold Coast 2018.
Beckford-Chambers had a major impact after coming on for the second half as the Roses extended their narrow 26-24 advantage to a superb 54-45 victory – their first-ever win over the Silver Ferns on the Commonwealth stage – that ensured they topped Pool B and set up a semi-final showdown with Jamaica on Saturday (6.02am BST).
England went into Wednesday’s final group game knowing they just needed to avoid a heavy defeat to finish above the Silver Ferns and avoid favourites Australia in the last four but they were determined to progress in style.
The teams were level at 12-12 after the opening period and the second quarter was equally tight fought, with England edging into a 26-24 lead at half-time.
Beckford-Chambers was introduced at goal defence and, alongside former Blue & Gold star Geva Mentor, helped restrict New Zealand to just ten goals in the third quarter as the Roses stretched their advantage to 40-34.
They kept up the pressure in the final period to secure a historic victory and finish the group stage with five wins from five games.
Blue & Gold attacker Kadeen Corbin is also in an England squad that now faces Jamaica in a repeat of the Glasgow 2014 third-placed play-off, which was won by the Sunshine Girls. Both teams will be looking to reach their first-ever Commonwealth Games final.
Meanwhile, Zanele Vimbela and her South Africa team-mates finished third overall in Pool A after an 85-25 win over Barbados. They now face Uganda in the fifth-placed play-off on Thursday (7.02am BST).
Team Bath’s Chelsea Lewis and University of Bath Pharmacy graduate Amanda Varey both impressed for Wales as they produced an improved performance in a 68-53 defeat to Malawi in Pool B.
Wales will look to finish the tournament on a winning note when they face Fiji in the 11th-placed play-off on Thursday (12.02am BST).
Don’t forget you can see Team Bath Netball’s Commonwealth Games stars in Blue and Gold during the second half of the Superleague season. Tickets are now on sale for our remaining seven home matches – click here to purchase!