“I remember the day so clearly, almost as if it was yesterday.”
That’s what England Netball defender Eboni Usoro-Brown responds when asked to relive the moment Team England’s Netball squad won Commonwealth Gold on the Gold Coast.
It’s hard to believe that this historic moment was exactly a year ago today, marking the biggest moment the sport has ever had in this country.
England v Australia in the Commonwealth Games final, in Australia. The ‘Aussies’, world number ones, had performed well in the tournament and England had shone to make it to the final, with the world expecting Australia to take home the title.
But, as Usoro-Brown relays, that was never going to be the case.
“I think you can sense that something epic was about to happen.” She said.
“You almost just held your breath and waited. I was on the third line and just praying to god. And they missed the shot. But Helen picked up the ball, went for the shot, didn’t quite get it but then heard the whistle, obstruction call.
“It was in that moment your heart just sinks. I’ve dreamt of this moment of winning a gold medal since the first time I saw England play Australia at Wembley and I got excited, that tingling feeling about playing for England, wearing the red dress and this was the historic moment when Helen put the ball above her head.
“I couldn’t watch and had my head behind my hands – and the next thing you hear was the roar.
“We’d actually done it. Gold. Against the Australians, the world number one in Australia. England had won gold.”
The celebrations began on the court and back at home as England united to celebrate the success of its Netball team. It was a moment that was to change the fate of Netball in the country forever.
They had sought revenge after heartbreak in the last minute four years ago, and the nation was so proud.
Usoro-Brown continued: “In terms of having the opportunity to right the wrongs of Glasgow, in Australia, against the Australians, this was going to be our biggest test. Everyone was screaming and running towards each other.
“Words can’t describe what that means to you as an athlete. It had taken me nearly 15 years to get to that stage, we were hand in hand and it really was a sisterhood. We had come together, had a goal, grown together, had confidence and the gold medal was the result.”