Monday, 30 September 2013
England’s netball team turned in an impressive performance to complete a 3-0 series whitewash over South Africa at the University of Worcester Arena on Friday night – before giving the venue a resounding thumbs up.
The University Arena – built to stage elite level able-bodied and disabled sport – was hosting its first netball international, and welcomed a sell-out crowd of 2,000 to the fixture.
England arrived in Worcester with an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-game series after registering convincing wins at Bath and Wembley Arena, and they once again showed their dominance over their lower-ranked opponents on Friday.
The home side started well, and were able to assert their superiority in each of the first two quarters, going in 30-16 ahead at half-time. The South Africans improved after the break, but were unable to significantly trouble England, who ran out eventual 53-41 winners.
After the game, England centre Serena Guthrie, who was making her second appearance at the University Arena, spoke of her fondness for the venue.
“It’s a great arena,” she said. “I played here for Team Bath against Celtic Dragons in the Netball Superleague Grand Final this year - the crowd was awesome then and they were again tonight.
“It’s great to come back as I have good memories. Worcester is fairly central for both players and fans, so it’s great to have such a lovely arena here that can clearly stage well-run events. I think we’ll definitely be coming back here to play at some point.”
Despite suffering a third successive defeat at the University Arena, the facility also won praise from the South African side, who are ranked three places below England at number six in the world.
Proteas’ Goal Keeper, Vanes-Mari du Toit, said: “This is the first time we have played here and I am impressed – the Arena is a great facility. I love the layout and the structure, and it has been a pleasure to come to train and play here.
“It would be awesome if we could return here for one of our training camps in the future.”