Ellie Cardwell determined to learn from Commonwealth Games disappointment

·2-min read

Ellie Cardwell says her England netball team-mates are determined to learn from their Commonwealth Games disappointment as they prepare to return to the court against Uganda early next month.

The 27-year-old was one of the plus points of an exciting but ultimately fruitless campaign in Birmingham, as the hosts’ bid to retain the title they so memorably won on the Gold Coast in 2018 petered out at the semi-final stage.

With a number of her established team-mates being rested, Cardwell will assume extra responsibility as one of the leaders of an inexperienced squad for the three-match series against the She-Cranes, before the big guns return for a daunting end-of-year series in Australia.

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games – Day Ten
Ellie Cardwell will be part of an inexperienced England team to face Uganda (Mike Egerton/PA)

Cardwell told the PA news agency: “It was a quite hard time after the Commonwealth Games because I didn’t think the disappointment of what happened would hit me quite as hard as it did.

“Over the years we have become far more confident of our ability to perform on the top stage and come away with medals, and that was what made it so disappointing this time.

“I took some time away and really reflected on it, and now we’ve come back into camp, talked it through and come together with a real focus on the series ahead and ultimately next year’s World Cup.”

England face Uganda, who scored a surprise win over South Africa in Birmingham, on October 5 in Nottingham before a double-header in London the following weekend. Subsequently, stars like Helen Housby, Jo Harten and Geva Mentor will rejoin the squad for the three-match series against the Diamonds.

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games – Day Ten
England missed out on a bronze medal in Birmingham (Mike Egerton/PA)

For England coach Jess Thirlby, a first trip Down Under since 2018 represents the ideal opportunity to shrug off the disappointment of Birmingham and restore momentum before a big year in 2023.

“We returned to camp for the first time last week and we have been reflective in that we are keen to bring the learnings from that Commonwealth Games journey, and how we can use these opportunities to be even stronger in our World Cup campaign,” said Thirlby.

“To have these opportunities against world-class teams so soon is great, because it really focuses the mind, and allows us to get out there and test things with the World Cup in mind.”