Vitality Roses eager to defend Commonwealth title at 2022 host Games, says Cobden

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Netballer Beth Cobden, who plays for Loughborough Lightning and England, believes the Vitality Roses are capable of repeating their 2018 Commonwealth Games success.
Netballer Beth Cobden, who plays for Loughborough Lightning and England, believes the Vitality Roses are capable of repeating their 2018 Commonwealth Games success.

England's netballers don't want to be remembered as 'the team that won that time.'

Memories of Commonwealth gold in 2018 will never fade but under new management, the Vitality Roses have spent the last few years building a dynasty.

Last month, they came back from a game down to beat world champions New Zealand in a series in their own backyard for the first time.

And with Jamaica visiting for November and December's three-match 'Reunited Series', confidence is at an all-time high.

"We believe we can win and we know we can beat these top teams, to actually just get out there and do it is awesome," said wing defence Beth Cobden.

"It proves the point to ourselves, and it's put us in a nice situation really. We'll hopefully get to play them again before the Commonwealth Games and do it again.

"We've beaten New Zealand quite a lot in the past few years. In the past, we've had these odd wins and we don't want to be a team that won that one time.

"We're in a position to push on now and it's about backing up these wins and keeping the momentum going."

Cobden played every game of the run to victory on the Gold Coast and will be one of the key members of Jess Thirlby's squad in the lead up to the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

With the defence of their Commonwealth title in Birmingham drawing near, the 28-year-old believes the essence of what drove them to gold under Tracey Neville remains.

Cobden plays Wing Defence for the Vitality Roses and Loughborough Lightning
Cobden plays Wing Defence for the Vitality Roses and Loughborough Lightning

"The vibe isn't really any different from 2018," said Cobden.

"We've got a really good culture, and that's something that gets passed on.

"New players come in, they understand the culture and everyone adds their own personalities to it. We have our principles that we go by, and that's Roses culture."

The last time England played in front of home fans was January 2020 in the Vitality Nations Cup, in front of packed crowds in Nottingham, Birmingham and London.

Fans were welcomed back for the final stages of the domestic Vitality Superleague season but in November and December, the international game returns.

Vitality Roses play Jamaica on 28 November at the Copper Box Arena in London and then take on the Sunshine Girls at Nottingham's Motorpoint Arena on 4 and 5 December.

Cobden can't wait for what promises to be a preview of the sport's popularity at the Commonwealth Games.

"It'll be amazing to be out there with full crowds," she said.

"One of the memories that sticks out for me is playing at Wembley against Australia in 2017 - that was the best crowd I've ever heard in England.

"It lifts you, gives you so much adrenalin and that's something that can really get a team over the line against tough opposition.

"The better the crowd and the bigger the noise, the more we enjoy playing.

"It will be so good for the fans, it's going to be a massive spectacle for them and it'll be awesome for them to see top teams battling it out.

"It's like having our eighth player and we're going to need it playing against Jamaica."

The Vitality Roses Reunited Series is coming to Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th December where England will take on Jamaica. For tickets and more information visit englandnetball.co.uk

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