England beat Australia 52-49 but miss out on Quad Series

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England beat Australia in last game of Quad Series

England beat Australia 52-49 in a repeat of their historic Commonwealth Games final victory, but fell just short of the five-goal margin needed to take the Quad Series in London.

The Roses led by six on a couple of occasions but could never stretch away.

Goal shooter Rachel Dunn's introduction at the second quarter swung the match after a strong start from Australia.

England head coach Tracey Neville says the "momentum" is with her side ahead of the World Cup in July.

"I think coming off yesterday [losing to South Africa] we were all disappointed about what we put out there," Neville told BBC Sport.

"So to come out today and put the stellar performance in like we did was phenomenal - we have the momentum and it was a vital performance.

"Congratulations to Rachel Dunn, Fran Williams and Natalie Haythornthwaite - they waited all tour for that opportunity and punched it out, I'm so proud of all the girls."

WonLostForAgainstPoints
*Australia win on goal percentage
1. Australia*211641474
2. England211511384
3. New Zealand121531672
4. South Africa121531692

World number one side Australia pulled level in the final period, but England held out for a famous win.

This was only the seventh time in 76 matches that the Roses have beaten the Diamonds, who despite the loss, won their fifth Quad Series title and denied their opponents an inaugural one.

The match came less than 24 hours after England suffered a shock 48-45 loss to South Africa and Australia had come through a bruising encounter with New Zealand, winning 53-50.

Sunday's contest was the first time the teams had met since Australia edged England 52-47 at their home Quad Series in September.

Australia netball team
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But England, ranked fourth in the world, will relish their second victory over Australia in nine months, following their dramatic 52-51 win in the Commonwealth Games final.

Ultimately it was the second quarter where the game was won, with England outscoring Australia 18-10, a turnaround sparked by the introduction of Dunn at goal shooter as Jo Harten switched to goal attack

Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander made changes in the second half in an attempt to overhaul England's lead but a stubborn and confident England stood firm.

In contrast, Neville's bold decision to bring on young defender Fran Williams and experienced wing attack Chelsea Pitman breathed fresh life into the Roses, with the former making an instant impact with a tip on a Gretel Tippett shot.

New Zealand's Laura Langman
New Zealand's Laura Langman was named player of the match against South Africa

In Sunday's other game, New Zealand needed extended extra time to beat South Africa 62-60 and end their series with a victory.

The Proteas had trailed until the final quarter and looked like they would go on to beat the Silver Ferns for the first time since 1995, but the world number two side held their nerve to take a thrilling win, with Maria Folau scoring the winning shot.

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