LIVERPOOL — A sell-out crowd at Liverpool’s M&S Bank Arena watched on as Scotland 70-34 made it two wins from two at the Vitality Netball World Cup 2019, beating Scotland 70-34.
England coach Tracey Neville chose to rotate her squad; Jo Harten, Geva Mentor and captain Serena Guthrie were all named on the sub’s bench from the start.
By contrast, Gail Parata – Neville’s counterpart for Scotland – selected an unchanged starting seven, keeping faith with the players who had earned their opening-day win over Samoa.
England started positively, as a first-minute interception by Jade Clarke led to Rachel Dunn slotting home. The goal shooter then added four goals in quick succession to give the Roses a 5-1 lead.
After a nervy start though, Scotland rallied to bring the score to 9-6. As they stretched away again though, England were dealt a blow when Layla Guscoth limped off in the closing stages of the first quarter – a quarter which England ended 18-9 ahead.
Housby opened the scoring in the second quarter, before attacking partner Dunn then kept up her 100% accuracy. Scotland’s Bethan Goodwin was starting to find her range after a wayward first quarter, however England continued to benefit from some loose Scotland passing to extend the scoreline to 25-13.
The crowd lapped up a stunning pass from Dunn, who then finished the move by netting her 17th goal. Following another intercepted Claire Maxwell pass, Housby was then able to extend the Roses’ lead to 13 goals.
It was deep into the second quarter when Dunn registered her first missed attempt, however it mattered not to the partisan crowd, as England went in at half time 35-20 in front.
For the second half, Neville made several positional changes, bringing on Chelsea Pitman, Natalie Haythornwaite and Guthrie. The latter was straight into her stride, with a trademark interception setting up Dunn’s 29th goal of the game.
Scotland took their turn to make some substitutions, with Maxwell not having the impact she would have hoped for. Dunn’s reach and ability to find space meant that she was still excelling in the shooting circle, and her buzzer beater took the third quarter score to 55-26.
In the fourth, Scotland ceded possession from their initial centre pass; the desire of the England defenders for the ball, as so often, proving decisive. Goal number 40 for Dunn extended England’s lead to almost 30, however Lynsey Gallagher’s 92% shooting accuracy was keeping the scoreboard ticking for the Thistles.
Fittingly though, Dunn was in the action right up until the end, finishing with 49 of England’s 70 goals, from her 52 attempts.
England’s Jo Harten said:
“I think it was a pretty clinical performance in the end – maybe patchy in parts, but that’s what you get in a World Cup, when you’re backing up day after day. We’re pleased with how we pulled up from a really physical game against Uganda yesterday and onwards and upwards for Samoa tomorrow.”
Scotland’s Emily Nicholl said:
“I think it was a tough game but it’s a really good test for us ahead of Uganda. Tough, but we’re proud of what we put out there. We set targets before the match and we feel that we hit most of them, so we’re on track and we’re looking forward to the rest of the competition now.”
— nwc2019.co.uk Report