Commonwealth Games 2014: England suffer last-minute heartbreak as Australia clinch victory in netball showdown by a single point
Jo Harten missed an effort late on that allowed Caitlin Bassett to land the decisive blow
Saturday 26 July 2014
England suffered last-minute netball despair as Jo Harten's miss set up Australia to snatch a 49-48 win from their Commonwealth Games showdown.
The gripping Pool B tussle at the SECC venue looked to be going England's way as they led until the final quarter, but a forceful courtside pep talk from Australia coach Lisa Alexander steeled the Diamonds for a late surge.
They drew level and then traded points with England until, inside the final minute and with the tension rising, Harten failed to make her shot, which bounced off the rim to hand the initiative to the Australians.
England whitewashed Australia 3-0 in a series at the start of last year, but this time it would be the world number one team coming out on top, as 6ft 4in goal shooter Caitlin Bassett landed the decisive shot with 15 seconds remaining.
Harten had to be consoled by team-mates after the match, breaking down in tears as she felt the impact of her miss.
Yet it could be soon forgotten given England have South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados to come in the round-robin stage, as they bid to reach next Saturday's semi-finals. Anna Mayes' England players began their campaign with a 65-25 win over Wales on Friday, and have the capacity to finish with a medal of any colour.
They could yet face Australia again in the final, although Saturday's defeat means England may have to get past defending champions New Zealand in the semi-finals if, as expected, both reach the last-four stage.
England coach Mayes came to Harten's defence and backed her to produce a strong reaction in the games ahead.
"Jo is world class. She is one of the most mentally tough athletes I know, she will come out firing again," Mayes said.
"It would be a bit naive if we looked at that goal because she had been nailing others throughout the game to make sure we went ahead and built on that.
"People need to actually give Jo more credit than just actually looking at the final shot."
England goalkeeper Geva Mentor gave an outstanding performance and was at a loss to explain the defeat.
"I have no feelings at the moment, I'm just gutted," said the 29-year-old.
"We had control of the game for about 59 minutes of the game and it was only in the last 20 seconds that we lost control. We know that we have the skills and we believe that we can challenge them and I think we showed that.
"We really feel the love here, Scotland is fantastic. Even when we are walking off having lost, we still are met by applause, the support has been fantastic."
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