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England down Australia in historic victory
The Australian Diamonds have suffered just their third ever defeat to England, going down 58-53 in the first Test at the University of Bath on Sunday.
The international Test debut of mid-courter Kimberley Ravaillion, becoming the 159th Australian international netballer, will be remembered for the wrong reasons as the Diamonds fell to England for the first time since 2010.
England took the ascendency early as they stormed ahead to a four-goal lead midway through the first quarter to the delight of the sold out parochial Bath crowd.
The Diamonds fought back to trail by one but it was short lived as the hosts re-established a five-goal advantage at quarter-time, 17-12.
Australian coach Lisa Alexander turned to her bench at quarter-time and introduced debutant Ravaillion at centre while Madison Browne moved into wing attack as Renae Hallinan made way in the middle.
England’s defensive duo Ama Abgeze and Eboni Beckford-Chambers frustrated the Diamonds, dominating the defensive circle with the pair creating plenty of turnovers as the Australian feeders struggled to find Catherine Cox and Susan Pratley under the post.
The quarter-time changes brought temporary relief as the Diamonds scored five straight early in the second stanza however England again bounced back as they extended their advantage to 11 goals at half-time, 33-22.
The Australians came out of half-time full of energy with the shooting combination of Caitlin Bassett and Erin Bell turning around the visitors fortunes as they pegged back the half-time deficit to 43-39 at three-quarter time.
Defenders Rebecca Bulley and Chanel Gomes controlled the defensive circle while Hallinan, at wing defence, Ravaillion and Browne took away England’s space in transition which created plenty of possession.
The Diamonds continued to bridge the margin early in the final quarter, cutting the margin to two goals, before England rallied to record their highest ever score against Australia, eclipsing their previous record by ten goals, and take a one-nil lead in the three-Test series.
The series continues with the second Test on Wednesday night at Wembley Arena in London.