Practice makes perfect for Netball star Jade Clarke as England continue campaign

·3-min read
Practice makes perfect for Netball star Jade Clarke as England continue campaign

England netball legend Jade Clarke was thrilled that practice made perfect as her side strolled past Northern Ireland 71-27 at the NEC Arena in Birmingham.

Partington’s Clarke is the most-capped netballer of all-time, and is hunting her second Commonwealth Games medal after winning gold in Australia four years ago.

England were utterly dominant against the Warriors, as boss Jess Thirlby was able to rest and rotate her squad ahead of bigger matches to come.

And Clarke is pleased that the squad have been able to transfer good work in training onto the court.

“A lot of the things we worked on in training you could see that on court,” said Clarke.

“We knew we were going to hit a really fast, aggressive Northern Ireland, a more similar style to us so we had to really switch that mindset from playing Malawi before.

“What was good about today was that we built every quarter, [I’m] really pleased and [there were] some really good performances."

This summer, Team England, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, comprises of over 400 athletes, all vying for medal success.

The victory continued England’s perfect start to their gold medal defence, having already beaten Trinidad and Tobago and Malawi.

Manchester Thunder attacker Eleanor Cardwell shot a huge 40 goals, while mid-courter Clarke was in fine form playing at centre, and had to be as she came up against one of the world’s very best in Caroline O’Hanlon.

“I love playing Caroline O'Hanlon,” added Clarke.

“I think she's one of the best centres in the world. It was a great challenge for me to come up against her.”

England chopped and changed their line-up in Birmingham, and head coach Jess Thirlby insisted it was all part of the plan.

“For the fans watching, they most probably wonder what we’re doing but every change that we put out there is really purposeful,” said Thirlby.

“We’re trying to manage a squad effectively in tournament conditions and that is part of my role whilst trying to also build confidence.

“I think game on game we are definitely building confidence in terms of what we’re able to put out tactically as well as how we’re able to counteract the strengths of the opposition that we’re coming up against, and we’re still able to do that having rolled out all twelve players in three matches.”

England next face Uganda before facing reigning world champions New Zealand, and Manchester Thunder and England attacker Nat Metcalf knows they must bring their A-game to fend off the SheCranes, who boast two of the best shooters in the Superleague in Mary Cholhok and Peace Proscovia.

"I think Uganda have been playing some beautiful netball so it's about us trying to break down their game.

“They've got such a target at the back so it's about us looking at our gameplan and how to shut that down."

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