England’s wait for a first Netball World Cup title continues after Australia defeated the Roses to win the event for a 12th time.
The Roses were gradually overwhelmed by a dominant Australia, who pulled away to win 61-45.
England were appearing in their first World Cup final, following a group-stage win over Australia and a semi-final victory against New Zealand.
However, they had to settle for leaving Cape Town with silver.
A dejected England may have missed out on the trophy, but have equalled the nation’s best result at the tournament – previously achieved in 1975 after a round-robin event.
However, they will be left to rue some of the sloppy play that allowed the Diamonds to strengthen their grasp on the trophy, particularly in the final quarter.
“We are obviously gutted with a losing margin like that but such is the difference between seasoned finalists and a team in their first final,” said England head coach Jess Thirlby.
“Today was always going to be a tough ask, you just can’t throw ball like that against Australia in a final.
“If we do that, we need to find a way to win it back. Unfortunately both of those things eluded us for long periods during the match.”
England claimed a thrilling 56-55 win against the Diamonds earlier in the week but repeating that feat against the nation that has featured in every World Cup final was ultimately a step too far.
Some of Australia’s aura had been diminished after England claimed Commonwealth gold against them on the Gold Coast in 2018.
But the Diamonds took revenge to end England’s Commonwealth challenge at the semi-final stage in Birmingham last year, with this final the latest twist in a growing rivalry that so often swings Australia’s way.
“We are really grateful for that silver medal and over time I’m sure that it will sink in,” said Thirlby.
“The disappointment [we feel] is a measure of the belief we had in ourselves.”
Despite Australia maintaining their status at the top of world netball, England’s presence in the final and Jamaica’s bronze-medal victory against New Zealand earlier on Sunday shows the strength of the chasing pack.
“We had the better of them the other day and they had the better of us today,” said England shooter Eleanor Cardwell.
“There’s so many positives. This is the first World Cup final for every name on the team sheet and a lot of those Diamonds players have a whole lot of experience.
“I am super proud of us making history. Last year at the Commonwealth Games we came fourth and were gutted. This year we’ve got a silver medal.”
Since winning Commonwealth gold five years ago England have beaten Australia just twice in 11 meetings, but will hope to use this final as a platform to push to greater heights.
England mid-courter Imogen Allison, who has often produced the key moment for the Roses at this tournament, said she was “super proud” of the team.
“We have to take this and run with it. If this is the first time in a final, the next time we are getting the gold,” she added.
Credit: BBC Sport