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England beat Jamaica to win Fast5 Netball World Series

England are the 2017 Fast5 Netball World Series Champions after defeating Jamaica in the Grand Final decider. Photo: Getty Images
MELBOURNE, Australia- England have won the 2017 Fast5 World Series after beating Jamaica in the final in Melbourne, Australia.

The Red Roses, who had lost to the Sunshine Girls earlier in the day, turned the tables to win 34-29 and secure their maiden Fast5 world title.

The scores were level going into the final quarter, but England's Helen Housby followed up her interception with a two-point shot to turn the game.

'This is absolutely unbelievable," said captain Ama Agbeze.

"In modern netball, I don't think England have ever won a gold medal, so this is actually a gold to us."

Champions after rule change

England won the Fastnet Word Netball Series in 2011 - a previous version of the tournament before new Fast5 rules were introduced in 2012.

However, the world number three side were fourth at last year's tournament and have regularly had to settle for a backseat role behind Australia and New Zealand in international netball.

They won bronze at both the 2011 and 2015 World Cups, but missed out on a medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games after losing to Jamaica in a disappointing campaign.

But they capitalised on the inexperienced southern hemisphere sides and sent a strong squad to Melbourne for this year's Fast5, including two of the world's best shooters in Jo Harten and Housby, the Super Netball player of the year Geva Mentor and centre Serena Guthrie - who was named player of the tournament.

They entered the competition as favourites and, despite losing one game on their way to the final, they ended Jamaica's unbeaten record when it counted to lift the trophy in front of a raucous crowd.

After a gruelling year that has including two Quad Series, a Test series against New Zealand and Netball Europe, the England squad have one final hurdle to navigate - a three-Test series against Malawi in November.

They can then focus on two major tournaments, with next year's Gold Coast Commonwealth Games coming before a home World Cup in 2019.

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