England overcome early hiccups to defeat Jamaica’s mavericks in first of three-Test series

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Things were so amiss that Housby was soon hauled off for Ellie Cardwell and did not return. It proved to be the decisive move.

Cardwell – who was awarded player of the match – scarcely missed a beat, sinking almost every shot she attempted and combining with Harten to drag the Jamaican defence this way and that.

With the relentless efforts of Beth Cobden and Layla Guscoth paying dividends at the opposite end of the court, the early concerns for Jess Thirlby’s side soon faded away. Having found themselves 25-26 down at half-time, England were six goals to the good by the end of the third quarter and further stretched that lead the longer the game went on.

“Both Helen and Jo will admit themselves that isn’t what we’ve come to expect of them,” said England head coach Thirlby. “But I think we’ve also just got to allow them some time to recalibrate into the group.

“There’s a big weight of expectation on their shoulders, rightly so because they are household names with a lot of experience. I think it was uncharacteristic to see Helen missing the post a couple of times in that first quarter.

“I think it just lacked a bit of flow; it wasn’t the normal fluent partnership we’ve seen. I’ve got no concerns with either of them being able to put their shots away. I think today it just took a bit too long, and they will be ready come Saturday.”

Having avoided a blip, England will firmly expect to win both remaining matches when the series moves up to Nottingham next weekend.

“We’re way off what we know we’re capable of but to be in a position where you know you haven’t reached anywhere near the potential of the group and still beat a team like Jamaica by 10 is a great place to be,” said Thirlby.

“But we’re definitely going to want a stronger performance next week with a bit more flow.”

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