Head coach Jess Thirlby said that despite the final result, she is ‘incredibly proud’ the team got as far as they did.
The head coach of the England netball team has said the players are “gutted” after losing to Australia in the World Cup final.
The Vitality Roses’ hopes of glory were crushed in a 61-45 defeat in Cape Town on Sunday.
The Roses were making their maiden World Cup final appearance and knew they had to be at their best to win the trophy.
Despite the setback, the tournament has sparked greater interest in the sport, which fans hope will act as a “catalyst” that will inspire more women and girls to join grassroots teams.
Head coach Jess Thirlby said that despite the final result, she is “incredibly proud” the team got as far as they did.
She said: “I am incredibly proud, despite the final result. We absolutely deserved to be there.
“We had to battle to get there and it’s just proven to us that you’ve got to be able to go again in a big game against the number one and we just fell short today.
“We’re obviously going to be gutted with a losing margin like that in our first final but such was the difference between a team that has been in 12 of them and a team that have just broken into their first one.
“It’s a tough lesson of course but over the next three days I’m sure it will sink in in terms of that history that we’ve made.”
Player Eleanor Cardwell added: “There are so many positives. This is my first World Cup and for a lot more of the girls it’s their first World Cup and everyone’s first World Cup final.
“Last year at the Commonwealth Games we came fourth and it was heartbreaking.
“Now, it’s heartbreaking that we haven’t won gold but we’ve got silver and we can be really happy with ourselves and what we’ve done over the past 10 days.”
The team, who came third in the last three World Cups and six times overall, had been on a high after beating Australia 56-55 on Thursday and defending champions New Zealand in the semi-finals.
But Australia reacted to their defeat and steadily built an unassailable lead for a 12th World Cup crown.
The chair of Wandsworth Netball Club said that, despite the result, England’s performance will act as a “catalyst” for getting players to join grassroots teams.
Emma Beardmore, 26, from Battersea, south-west London, said that even though the Roses missed out on the gold medal, the Netball World Cup will “definitely be a conversation starter” for the sport.
She told the PA news agency: “It’s such a catalyst and it’s so important for people getting into grassroots netball teams.
“To get a silver medal is a huge and fantastic achievement that shouldn’t be overlooked, and I think all the individual players should be really, really proud of themselves.
“Even though it’s not the result we wanted to get the gold medal, we have pre-season on Wednesday and it’s definitely going to be a conversation starter, even amongst the girls who play netball week in, week out.
“It’s hugely inspiring, and having gotten over the initial shock of it, I definitely feel really proud to play the sport.”