England clinched an unassailable 2-0 Series lead following a 67-42 victory over Trinidad & Tobago at the Copper Box, London on what proved to be a momentous evening for one fan’s favourite.
Following in the footsteps of some legendary England names, Pamela Cookey etched her name into the 100 club by racking up her centenary of appearances after being named in the starting 7.
It could hardly have been a better evening for the evergreen Goal Attack as she captained her side to a hard-fought but dominant success.
There was also an indication of the future on court as Natalie Haythornthwaite collected the Player of the Match award with an assured display in Wing Attack having only made her debut two days previously.
Having impressed in Bath, Layla Guscoth was rewarded with starting berth in game two and her combination work with Sonia Mkoloma allowed England to turnover possession with ease in the opening quarter.
Although the hard work from the defence wasn’t always translated to goals on the board, the plethora of chances did allow the hosts to forge 13-5 clear after fifteen minutes.
The momentum continued in the second quarter with Helen Housby and Cookey benefitting from some excellent mid-court work from Haythornthwaite and Bayman.
Trinidad & Tobago were struggling to build any pressure of their own and at half time the England lead had stretched to 34-17.
A change at the interval saw Kadeen Corbin replace Housby. There was real bite to their play from the home side, the mid-court worked tirelessly to retrieve any lost possession.
Enforcing this point was the excellent Laura Malcolm who was making tips, intercepts and steals for fun in the third quarter. With one quarter remaining England had the game at their mercy held a 52-27 advantage.
Lindsay Keable was introduced for the final fifteen minutes with Mkoloma given a breather. She continued the fine defensive work that was made before her, combining nicely with her Hertfordshire Mavericks colleague Guscoth.
This allowed Hayhtornthwaite and Bayman to unlock their creativity and feed Corbin and Rachel Dunn, who had replaced Housby late in the previous quarter.
With the result beyond dispute, the only concern for the England attack was to avoid the physical contact from the visiting Caribbean defence.
A hefty collision taken by Corbin was noted by the umpires and when it occurred again with a minute to go, the decision was taken to send off the offending defender as Trinidad & Tobago ended the game with six players.
This did not dampen the party spirit inside the Copper Box and the best moment of the night was saved for last.
In front of an adoring crowd, and equally adoring team mates, Cookey stepped forward to take a bow on reaching 100 caps. If the current winning trend continues, this landmark may not prove to be the final chapter in her already glittering career.
England starting 7: GS – Housby, GA – Cookey, WA – S.Corbin, C – Bayman, WD – Malcolm, GD – Guscoth, GK – Mkoloma
Trinidad & Tobago starting 7: GS – Wallace, GA – McCollin, WA – Jack, C – Guerero, WD – Connelly, GD – Duncan, GK – Swift
Umpires: Marie Louw van der Merwe and Dave Brown Theresa Prince and as reserve