October 4, 2022

England lose Commonwealth netball bronze to NZ

England's Natalie Metcalf jumps for the ball
England won Commonwealth gold for the first time in 2018
Hosts: Birmingham Dates: 28 July to 8 August
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV with extra streams on BBC iPlayer, Red Button, BBC Sport website and BBC Sport mobile app; Listen on BBC Radio 5 Live and Sports Extra; live text and clips online.

Defending Commonwealth netball champions England will leave Birmingham without a medal after losing bronze to New Zealand.

Despite beating the Silver Ferns by 10 goals in the group stage, the Roses struggled to bounce back from their semi-final defeat against Australia.

England – Commonwealth champions in 2018 – fought back in the final quarter against New Zealand, but lost 55-48.

Jamaica and Australia will play the gold-medal match at 20:30 BST.

For Jamaica, it will be a first Commonwealth final, while Australia have never failed to reach that stage.

After a tight start, New Zealand’s defence began to stifle England towards the end of the first quarter and they managed to take a slender 14-13 lead by the end of the first 15.

An increasing number of England errors allowed New Zealand to extend that advantage to 29-23 in the second quarter.

The Roses’ lack of composure was characterised by an incredible interception made by Stacey Francis-Bayman, which was immediately thrown back into opposition hands.

England scrapped their way through the third quarter, playing more flamboyantly than their usual clinical style, and managed to halt New Zealand’s advance, but remained six goals behind.

Spurred on by an ever-joyful NEC Arena crowd, the hosts fought back in the final 15, but the deficit was too much to claw back.

Mum Usoro-Brown wants her return ‘to send strong message’

Emotions peaked as England defender Eboni Usoro-Brown – who will retire after these Games along with Francis-Bayman – came on for the final 20 seconds and the fans’ showed their gratitude for a special home Games with a standing ovation at full-time.

Usoro-Brown and Francis-Bayman, both 34, then gave emotional on-court interviews, with Birmingham-born Francis-Bayman thanking the crowd.

“You’ve supported us through thick and thin,” she said. “We’ve done netball so proud. Birmingham rocks.”

Solihull-born Usoro-Brown, who returned to the sport after having a baby in August 2020, added: “For me personally, this has been really special because I have a daughter. Hopefully that is a strong message for girls sitting in here.”

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