The road to any final is usually a precarious one.
One that could involve many challenges and setbacks. Those that have travelled them before usually have the know-how to find their way.
This is why England Netball reaching the 2018 Commonwealth Games Final is even more an incredible achievement.
Remember, this is a path not previously taken by the Roses. They have never reached a Commonwealth Games Final but they have journeyed towards this one like seasoned professionals, showing a tremendous amount of resilience, character and grit.
Their semi-final match against Jamaica certainly ticked all those boxes.
It had everything, an unbelievable comeback, a last second winning goal and an intensity that reached exceptional levels.
The scenes just after the final whistle, which would have been reflected in houses across the nation in the early hours of this morning, showed just how important the win was.
Leading to the semi-final the Roses showed their intent, winning all their pool games:
The final game, against New Zealand, was a particular highlight for the Roses and displays the advancements they have made within the last two years.
New Zealand are the current world number two with the England Roses sitting just behind them in third.
These advancements have been reinforced by England Netball’s full-time player programme.
Announced in June 2016, it provides the Roses with an optimum training environment, ensuring their preparations for major competitions, just like these Commonwealth Games, are world-class.
The success of this programme was also reflected earlier this year at the 2018 Quad Series where England finished as runners-up, beating New Zealand and South Africa to achieve their best ever finish in this competition.
Tomorrow’s final against Australia, will be the last stop on England’s Commonwealth Games journey and we’ll be hoping for a gold worthy performance.
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