Saracens Mavericks to the fore as England Roses claim 3-0 series win over Superleague squad
- Credit: BEN LUMLEY/ENGLAND NETBALL
England Roses claimed a 3-0 series win over a Netball Superleague select side with plenty of Saracens Mavericks involved, both past and current.
Of the current crop plying their trade at the Hatfield-based outfit, goalkeeper Razia Quashie was part of the winning squad in the trio of matches, played over the course of five days at Loughborough University, while Jo Trip lined up for the Superleague.
And while the victories were all comfortable on the scoreboard, the smallest margin of success being 12 points in the 55-43 win in game three, the opportunity to experiment with personnel and strategy was invaluable for head coach Jess Thirlby.
She said: "We've had six matches in this international window, three against the world champions [New Zealand in October] and three against a team of people from around the world.
"[That] isn't much but it's been a lot more than a lot of other international sides so I need to make sure I'm using [the squad].
"But this series was also about win after win and backing that up, so the changes that have been made have been made with the intention and the confidence that they can still do a job.”
For former Maverick Sophie Drakeford-Lewis, the series was simply about shaking off some of the rust having not had much game-time over the last 12 months.
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She said: "We still prep the same way that we're going to as if we're facing New Zealand. We weren't meeting a side where there was a specific style and specific players but then that brought more challenges to us and so I think nerves wise it was probably the same.
"We were just really excited to get out there and play some matches in the England dress. That's always a privilege and there’s always nerves associated with that.”
The series win saw the Roses raise the Jean Hornsby Cup, named after the first black England
netball player, with Quashie winning the player of the match award in games one and three but co-captain Natalie Haythornthwaite lifting the player of the series award.
The squads for the 2021 Superleague season have been finalised but an official start date has yet to be announced.