Loughborough Lightning stars Jo Harten and Jade Clarke helped England to a 3-0 series victory over arch rivals Jamaica in the Co-Operative International Series.
England were out for revenge, having suffered disappointment against Jamaica at both the 2006 Commonwealth Games and the 2007 World Championships, and despite all three matches in the series being close, tense affairs, England had enough when it mattered to gain a decisive advantage.
The three match series saw the teams compete at the O2 Arena in London, Coventry’s Sky Dome and the Trent FM arena in Nottingham in a clear demonstration of the sport’s growing popularity.
Harten, Lightning’s prolific Goal Shooter finished the series with a player of the match award from London and 50 goals in total, despite not playing in the final match in Nottingham.
She said: “It’s always a great honour to represent your country and I’m really pleased with how we played over the three matches. Jamaica are a good side and they ran us close, but we had enough in the tank to hold out.”
Centre cum Wing Defence, Jade Clarke, played in all three matches of the series, and played a key role in maintaining the speed with which England played.
She said: “It was a tough series. Jamaica are a very quick, athletic side, but we managed to hold our own. It was great to play in front of so many people during the series and it showed that the sport continues to grow in this country.”
The result of the series sees England secure their grip on third place in the world rankings with Jamaica remaining fourth.
MATCH 1 – O2 Arena, London
England 67 – 54 Jamaica
MATCH 2 – Sky Dome Arena, Coventry
England 57 – 47 Jamaica
MATCH 3 – Trent FM Arena, Nottingham
England 55 – 49 Jamaica
– but the sailors praise the new boats