England have finished runners-up to Australia in the Netball World Cup after reaching the final for the first time ever.
The Roses trailed the 12-time champions at half-time on Sunday and despite a spirited effort in the second half were unable to triumph in the final in Cape Town, which finished 61-45.
Coming into the event, England were seen as underdogs among the big four nations – Australia, New Zealand and Jamaica being the other countries – but a strong performance in the tournament saw them secure a chance to fight for the trophy.
Manager Jess Thirlby’s team put up a valiant effort, but Australia were sharper, quicker, and more efficient across all departments.
Only Australia and New Zealand have won the World Cup in its modern form, so an England’s victory in South Africa would have been one for the history books.
Nonetheless, the England team that reached the final defied expectations, producing some superb comebacks throughout the tournament to keep their World Cup dream alive.
England even beat Australia 56-55 in a close contest earlier in the tournament, but the Diamonds won the rematch on the biggest stage.
England manager Ms Thirlby said: “We’re really grateful for the silver medal, and over time it’ll sink in, but right now, we’re obviously gutted with a losing margin like that in our first final.
“It’s a tough lesson and over the next few days it’ll sink in, for now though, I think it’s ok for us to feel a little disappointed.
“It was always going to be a tough ask, and you just cant throw the ball away like we did.
“I just want to say I’m incredibly proud, despite the final result, and we had to battle to be there, but we just fell short today”.