England Netball: Roses won the series opener against Uganda

England's Laura Malcolm
England’s last match was against New Zealand at the Commonwealth Games, where the Roses lost 55-48 in the bronze medal match to finish fourth

England beat Uganda 60-51 in the first of their three-match series as the Roses kick-start their preparations for the 2023 World Cup in Cape Town.

Five players made their England debuts in a much-changed squad from the Commonwealth Games.

Head coach Jess Thirlby said: “I couldn’t be prouder of the girls who have stepped onto the pitch for the first time.”

The second match takes place on Saturday at the Copper Box, London.

England met Uganda in the pool stage at the Commonwealth Games and held out in a fierce encounter, winning 56-35.

But this was one new look squad from the one who missed out on a Commonwealth medal in Birmingham earlier this year when Thirlby tried out some of the younger talent at her disposal.

The Roses started well with defender Alice Harvey, who made her Roses debut, managing to stem the tide of prolific shooters Mary Cholhok and Ellie Cardwell firing comfortably for England.

But Thirlby made the changes at half-time after a series of errors left them trailing by three goals.

Exciting young defender Funmi Fadoju replaced Harvey and Liv Tchine came in at goal for their first Roses caps, while Thirlby added some experience in midfield as Chelsea Pitman returned to play for England for the first time since 2020.

Zara Everitt and Ellie Rattu also came into the game for their first caps for England and bolstered by the more experienced midfield spine, England eventually cruised to a comfortable nine-goal victory.

Thirlby said: “We knew it was going to be uneven, they are a world-class team and obviously we had a few different combinations out there who have only had a short time left in camp.

“I’m really proud of the efforts of the more familiar faces to help provide support so that others can progress and flourish in what is a winning debut for a number of players, which is fantastic,” she added.

Quarterly score

Q1: 16-11

Q2: 25-28

Q3: 42-37

Q4: 60-51

Starting Sevens

England: GK – Harvey; GD – Williams; WD – Malcolm; C – Allison; WA – Joseph; GA – Drakeford-Lewis; GS – Cardwell

Uganda: GK – Peace; GD – The Emperor; WD – Nambridge; C – They want; WA – Love; GA – found; GS – Cholhok

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