In January, The England Roses managed to secure a silver medal in the Quad series, but their victories didn’t stop there.
Netball this year has been a rollercoaster of events to put it in cliched terms. For such a small sport, they have made an massive impact in the sporting world.
The 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April saw The Roses battle their way to the semi-finals to play against Jamaica.
A tense game ended in a single-point win for the English girls, their first major win in a semi-final, which meant they’d play one of the best teams in the world — Australia.
On 14th April, The Roses fought a tough match. England and Australia scored every other minute, the scoreboard see-sawed, but it came down to the last few seconds.
Helen Housby took what she thought was her last shot. She missed and the full-time whistle blew. But obstruction was called. She had another chance.
Taking her stance, she threw the ball one more time. Goal! The Roses had won the Commonwealth gold for the first time ever. Not only did they win gold, but they made netball history.Embed from Getty Images
The hard work paid off. In July the England Roses were moved to second spot in the International Netball Federation world rankings. This was the first time that the top two spots haven’t been occupied by Australia and New Zealand.
Being at the top does not come without perks, they secured one of the largest deals in women’s sport in the United Kingdom with Vitality in October. The next big deal they sealed was in November where they made an official partnership with sportswear manufacturers Nike. Nike designed and provided their new kit and stash.
In December, in one of their final tournaments, The Roses had a clean sweep against Uganda in the Vitality Netball International Series.
The England Roses have climbed their way to the top and they have not been unnoticed. In November they won Team of the Year from the 2018 Sunday Times Sportswomen of the Year Awards.
However, this is not the only ‘Team of the Year’ award they won. They were awarded BT Team of the Year, Team of the Year at the Sports Journalists’ Association British Sports Awards and the ultimate award, BBC Sports Personality Team of the Year.Embed from Getty Images
With all those titles under their belt, there was one more to come: the BBC Sports Personality Greatest Sporting Moment 2018 for their final match against Australia at the Commonwealth Games.
Netball as a sport is not the most popular and is overlooked, but this year has been a gigantic step for netball although its success hopes to see an increase in participation and spectatorship. The level of participation has already been seen as the first London-based, ‘London Pulse’ netball team were introduced.
Also, The Vitality Netball World Cup will be hosted in Liverpool in 2019 which will be covered on BBC Sport and Sky Sports.
Featured photograph/Flickr/Matthew Paul Argall