BOURNEMOUTH’S Geva Mentor helped England dramatically reach the gold medal match at the Commonwealth Games.

Jo Harten held her nerve to drain a last-second goal which guaranteed England a historic final place tomorrow.

Tracey Neville’s Roses now play Australia in their first major final in 43 years - and they certainly made themselves sweat for it.

Sharp-shooter Harten was benched early in the match but came back on to secure arguably the biggest victory in English netball history.

Jamaica - with their towering taliswoman Jhaniele Fowler-Reid only missing three of her 50 attempts on goal - outmuscled Neville’s team and took a commanding six point advantage into the second half.

But they faltered in sight of the line, England staged a rallying final-quarter comeback to win 56-55.

“That was so tough, it almost felt impossible,” said Bournemouth’s Mentor, whose job it was to mark Fowler-Reid.

“Jhaniele is a phenomenal player. How hard is it against her? There was literally not much I could do there. I was really relying on the girls in front of me to do things.

“I definitely had my work cut out but thank god it’s not an individual sport and I’ve got my team-mates in front of me. We kept believing in ourselves and kept fighting to the end.

“How big is the final? This is massive.”

Before this match, England had played 18 semi-finals at Commonwealth or world level - and had only won once, back in 1975.

And despite going through the group games unbeaten, it looked like that statistic would come back to haunt them.

“What a comeback for our girls,” said Neville, a bronze medallist at the Games two decades ago.

“I actually thought 'are we the old Roses?’ when we were making all those errors. I was really upset at half-time with the way they presented themselves in that first half.

“I said ‘I don't care how this scoreboard goes, I want you to finish like a Rose, I want you to go hard, I want you to win this last quarter and you finish how you started this tournament’. For me, it won them the game.

“Australia are a world class team and we can’t afford to make any mistakes or they will punish us. We’re in that final now, anything can happen and I like being an underdog.”

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