Impressive victory for England's netballers
26 July 2002
Thirty goals in thirty minutes from English goal shooter Alex Astle ensured England cruised to a comfortable opening victory against Canada.
England, the Commonwealth bronze medallists from 1998, won 87-26.
Astle, a tall and stylish shooter, was double teamed by the Canadian defence freeing up English goal attack Abby Teare.
With little pressure on the feed from Teare, centre Olivia Murphy and wing attack Tracey Neville into Astle, England ran riot to lead 24-6 at quarter-time.
The hosts set the tone of the game with eleven straight goals in the opening seven minutes with captain Murphy the architect through the centre court.
English wing defender Fiona Murtagh, goal defender Naomi Siddall and goal keeper Geva Mentor made it tough for the Canadian attack to penetrate the goal circle.
Murtagh was impressive on her return to international competition. The former English captain – who retired after the 1998 Commonwealth Games and again after the 1999 World Championships - was hard to pass on the defensive wing.
English coach Lyn Gunson made wholesale changes at half-time with little alteration to the home side’s dominance. England outscored Canada 39-13 in the second half.
Astle, rested at half-time, finished with 30/35.
Info News Service/nt/bn
View Manchester 2002 results here