England’s netballers made history by winning their first Commonwealth Games gold medal, and now they want to cement their status as world champions.
A dramatic final saw Helen Housby score in the last second to beat Australia 52-51, leading England to their best ever result.
And captain Jade Clarke admits that tasting success is a tradition the Roses want to maintain, with the World Cup in Liverpool in July next year.
“This is our Olympics, so it is the top,” said the 34-year-old, who plays for Wasps. “The next stage is winning again.
“It’s so hard to back it up, but luckily we’ve got the chance to do it in our own back yard at the World Cup in Liverpool.
“We’re really lucky to have the World Cup here, and then the next Commonwealth Games we’ll have all that crowd behind us, so I can’t wait. Bring it on!”
During the Gold Coast campaign, England beat Scotland and Jamaica to set up the first final since netball was introduced to the Commonwealth Games in 1998 that was not Australia versus New Zealand.
And Clarke reckons it was how the team gelled off the court that secured the ultimate prize.
“Our number one rule was we had to have fun, so we just stuck together and I think our team culture was what won it for us at the end,” she explained.
“We got a bit paranoid towards the end of the competition because we’d won so many on the bounce, we wanted to keep everything exactly the same.
“We had the same playlist – no one wanted to change one song, we were sick of all these songs but we just had to keep with them, keep dancing to the same things!”
At the Team England homecoming in Birmingham, Clarke and teammate Kadeen Corbin came face to face with the fans who supported them from the other side of the world.
But, it is back to normality for both players, who already have one eye on what’s coming next.
“We go back into full-time training at the end of July,” explained Corbin.
“We’ll go through our different series throughout the year and then the World Cup will be July 2019, so we’re waiting for that.
“We’ve got so much more business between that, so it’s all about how we are making our process better than what it was for the Commonwealth Games.
“Our clubs at home have been absolutely supportive throughout the whole competition,” Corbin added.
“Every team has had their celebration, everyone’s back in it – it doesn’t even feel like we had left.
“You go straight in, and you go straight into a game. There’s no time to dwell if you haven’t been with them for ages, it’s just getting back to the job.
“I was happy to come home, and now it’s just time to back it up in four years’ time! Take every day as it comes.
“It would mean absolutely the world to win here.
“The love we’ve got since coming back from Gold Coast – I don’t know how much love we would get when we’re in England!”
“It still feels strange to hear it was the story of the Commonwealth Games,” added Clarke.
“I’m just so proud and so thankful for everyone that supported at home.”
npower is the Official Partner of Team England and is giving our athletes the power of support by recording a brand new version of their anthem, Jerusalem. To listen to the track visit npower.com/teamengland