England netball coach and UCFB academic Sara Hale says the recent Quad Series tournament was the perfect preparation ahead of a busy two years that includes the Commonwealth Games and World Cup.

England Roses finished the mini-series third, but only after a narrow 47-46 defeat to world number one and series winners Australia Diamonds in their last game in London. An opening 60-55 win over South Africa Proteas in Durban was followed by a painful 61-37 loss to New Zealand Silver Ferns in Liverpool.

With the Commonwealth Games set to take place in the Gold Coast next year, and a home World Cup in Liverpool in 2019, the next two years are vital in the development of the Roses and English netball.

Sara, programme leader for BA (Hons) Sports Business & Sports Law at UCFB Wembley, as well as a technical coach with the Roses and Manchester Thunder, said: “It was a really good series for us, and it really helps us going forward in preparation for the next couple of years. All of these Quad Series events are stepping stones for us towards that.”

In front of a packed SSE Wembley Arena, the Roses recovered from a seven goal deficit to lead the Diamonds in the third quarter, and needed only one goal to take the game into extra time with ten seconds to go before a vital interception from Australian Shanri Layton sealed the game.

Sara added: “To play against the number one in the world and be leading at various points of the game was really good. The girls are disappointed that we didn’t win it, obviously, but I don’t think anybody expected us to come close to winning it at any point.

“We ran them really close and played to the standard we expect, which was much improved from the New Zealand test. It was a good overall contest for us and the girls are now looking forward to a break before going back to their franchises.”