England get netball series win over Australia

ANDREW DRUMMOND
Last updated 11:05 24/01/2013
England netball
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RARE WIN: England players celebrate their first ever series win over Australia.

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Australia's depleted netball side have been outclassed by a new emerging power, with the world champions suffering their first ever series loss against England.

Playing without the experience of captain Natalie von Bertouch, who flew home to Adelaide today with a finger injury, the Diamonds came up short in a 51-49 defeat at Wembley Arena in London.

It followed their 58-53 loss in the three-match series opener, handing the hosts an unassailable 2-0 lead and their first series win against Australia.

"We still expect to win (without the likes of von Bertouch) and could have won tonight too, we had our opportunities," coach Lisa Alexander told AAP after England's fourth netball win over Australia.

"We missed goals at the wrong time, we made errors at the wrong time and you just can't do that."

Alexander described the match as a "great lesson" for her charges.

"Australia's never lost a series to England. So we have to cop it on the chin and move on," she said.

"...We'll look at the tapes, analyse everything and do it logically. Then I need to build the players back up.

"Because they need confidence, they need to go out there and perform at their best - and at the moment they're hurting."

England trailed the visitors throughout the first half but after the break quickly rushed to a four-point lead with a changed line-up.

Australia too made substitutions at the halfway mark, removing international debutante Kimberley Ravaillion from centre and shuffling Caitlin Bassett out of goal attack.

"I think Kim Ravaillion had a strong game for half a game but in hindsight that was probably just too much for her," Alexander said of the youngster.

"We're a little bit light-on and that makes it hard when you've got to give people rests. Normally we've got that luxury but we just don't have it at the moment."

The Australian squad was forced to dip into fresh talent for the England trip with a raft of injuries, excluding experienced players as they prepare for the upcoming domestic season.

"They knew our defence was a little bit light on and certainly tested us out," Alexander said of the home side.

"All credit to England, they played really well."

England coach Anna Mayes was thrilled with her team's effort in front of a capacity London crowd.

"We are a stronger outfit, we really took it to Australia and it's valuable for us to know that we can win, not just a one-off, but we've come back and proven ourselves," she said.

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The teams will meet again on Sunday (NZ time) in Birmingham for a third Test.

- AAP

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