‘Everybody is coming out to beat us’: England look to deliver in Quad Series

first_imgWhen England Netball sat down with three of their closest rivals to create the Quad Series this decade, their motivation was twofold. One factor was that a regular international showpiece beyond the four-yearly World Cup would play better with sponsors and broadcasters, who had previously been offered little in the way of a consistent calendar. Another was to ensure the best could complete against one another more often. The wisdom behind that thinking will be gloriously evident in Liverpool todayon Sunday.England will begin the competition’s sixth edition with a match against New Zealand and its place in the public consciousness has never been higher. This was always intended to be netball’s equivalent of rugby union’s Six Nations, a stand-alone tournament whose kudos will grow as storylines are written and rivalries forged, and the events of last year have taken its allure to new levels. ‘They’ll be out to get us’: Australia wary of England fire in Quad Series Sign up to The Recap, our weekly email of editors’ picks. The Observer Netball … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay. Whether we are up close or further away, the Guardian brings our readers a global perspective on the most critical issues of our lifetimes – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. 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Share on Twitter Winning a Quad Series for the first time would be a logical next step for England, who will be able to call on shooter Jo Harten for the first time since September. Harten’s last international appearance came against New Zealand in Auckland, where England won 52-39 before receiving a degree of payback from Australia in Newcastle, New South Wales, four days later. Her return helps ensure the core of the side will be familiar although, beyond the need to keep breaking new ground, some shadow boxing is inevitable too.“It’s the last time [these teams] will see each other before the World Cup and everyone is looking to put a stake in the ground,” says the England captain, Serena Guthrie. “Everyone is bringing a slightly different team and our selection will probably look the most consistent. It’s going to be about building relationships and feeling our way through the new-look New Zealand and Australia teams that show up.” “Everybody is coming out to beat England,” says Helen Housby, who shot to fame when she scored the winning point in the Commonwealth Games final against Australia last April.While narratives of facing revenge on their own turf will certainly help attract the punters, the talk around Tracey Neville’s England camp has centred more on this being the latest phase in a steady progression: a continuation of the development that has brought second-placed finishes in the past two Quad Series, along with that gold medal, and will carry on when Liverpool hosts the World Cup this summer.“It’s about sticking to our processes, keeping our feet on the ground and working hard,” says Housby, who has little truck with the idea – one that has particular currency Down Under – that England will be under unprecedented strain with a target attached to their back. “I disagree with that,” she says. “2018 has gone now, it’s done. Going into this I don’t think we should feel any extra pressure. We just need to continue doing what we did last year: playing how we like to play, with freedom, expressing ourselves and enjoying being out on the court.” Reuse this content Read more Topics Share on Pinterestcenter_img Serena Guthrie’s stellar homecoming puts wind in sails of English netball Share via Email Share on Messenger South Africa, who England play at London’s Copper Box Arena next Saturday before a potentially decisive showdown with Australia the following day, make up the quartet although they have finished fourth in all five series. New Zealand’s Silver Ferns, who have flagged in the past two years but are still regarded by Housby as “an incredible team that will come out fighting and won’t be happy to lose any game against England” are the priority and another win would help firm up the gains made last year.“Our girls will want to keep their momentum,” says Joanna Adams, the England Netball chief executive. “That Commonwealth Games was an historic moment but it can’t be a one-off. To have this competition here, then a World Cup, is an alignment of the stars.”The long-term intention is for the Quad Series to be played once a year, scaled down from its current biannual format. Its organisers believe that would add to its sense of occasion, elevating the product once it has become a fixture in hearts and minds. For now, though, England cannot get enough. Support The Guardian Since you’re here… Share on LinkedIn features Share on WhatsApp Read more Share on Facebooklast_img

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