England clinch victory in their first international game since the World Cup (PA Images)
30 November 2019

England Netball beat South Africa in first international match under Jess Thirlby

England Netball have beaten South Africa 63-58 in extra-time in the first test match of their new international cycle under head coach Jess Thirlby.

The Roses led 28-23 at half-time with goalkeeper Stacey Francis and defender Fran Williams dominant throughout the game. 

It was the first match for new head coach Jess Thirlby, who was forced to pick inexperienced players due to senior players having a break, after their bronze medal World Cup campaign in the summer. 

As the game came to an end, England had one last opportunity to score before the final buzzer. But shooter Eleanor Cardwell missed the shot which left the Spar Proteas and the Roses equal at 50-50.

The Roses found their feet in extra-time and pushed their way to victory. 

Thirlby said: "It couldn't get much tighter than that. We have so much to work on but it was a great test of character for both sides.

"There was very little difference between them and it just came down to moments in the game. 

"There were too many runs at goal against us so we will look at that but I loved getting to look at my match winners."

The Roses will face South Africa again today in Cape Town. 

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