Return of captain spurs England win

England recovered some of their pride with a comprehensive 82-51 victory over St Vincent in the World Championships at Birmingham's National Indoor Arena yesterday.

Their earlier defeat by South Africa was too crucial to be easily forgotten, as it meant that England's ambition of a place in the final was effectively over.

Their performance against a useful St Vincent side in Group Y, however, revealed much that was praiseworthy. The captain, Kendra Slawinski, was restored to the starting line-up, claiming her 121st England cap in the process. The decision to drop her for the first half against South Africa on Saturday still seems a hard one to justify, especially given the fact that England lost 77-54.

Slawinski was, as ever, a bristling presence throughout, and though she twice tumbled hard on the court she played her usual prominent part in the proceedings.

It took a while for the England attack to flow, largely because of some inaccurate shooting, principally from Tracy Miller. But the goal attack, Sheila Hartley, compensated, and by the interval England had a secure 43-25 lead.

In the penultimate quarter, England moved to 62-40 before Miller at last found her shooting form as England coasted home.

South Africa, on course for the final, enjoyed a comfortable ride against the United States to win 76-30.

The New Zealand delegation, meanwhile, has criticised the tournament structure for having too many crucial matches played too early in the competition.

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