Netball veteran Eboni Usoro-Brown aims to inspire young daughter in Birmingham
The Solihull-born 34-year-old is entering her fourth Commonwealth Games.
Team England Netball veteran Eboni Usoro-Brown cannot wait to perform in front of her home crowd in a bid to inspire young daughter Savannah as the Commonwealth Games champions begin their title defence against Trinidad and Tobago on Friday.
Usoro-Brown, who was integral to her team’s dramatic final triumph over Australia on the Gold Coast in 2018, will be cheered from the stands at the NEC by her daughter, who celebrates her second birthday in August.
“I was born in Solihull so it feels like my career has come full circle, being able to come back and play a Commonwealth Games in my home city,” said Usoro-Brown.
Today is the day! Ready for battle with these LEGENDS…. 🦁🌹🙏🏾😊 #BringItHome #PartofthePride @TeamEngland @EnglandNetball @birminghamcg22 #Netball pic.twitter.com/9sjIK9wU0w— Eboni Usoro-Brown (nee Beckford-Chambers) (@EboniBChambers) July 28, 2022
“After having Savannah I rediscovered a real love for the sport and couldn’t wait to get my trainers back on and give it a good crack.
"I was really determined to get back and reach a point where I could play in front of my daughter, friends and family.”
The Solihull-born 34-year-old - who is entering her fourth Commonwealth Games - took an enforced but much-needed break from the sport in 2020 but said starting a family, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, has provided a welcome sense of perspective.
I think it is important to join other role models in emphasising what is possible in terms of being both an athlete and a mother
“Savannah is coming up to two in August,” Usoro-Brown added.
“She is a ray of sunshine and she ensures that on any given day I will always have a positive picture. I think it is important to join other role models in emphasising what is possible in terms of being both an athlete and a mother.”
Team England begin their campaign in Group B, which includes New Zealand, who denied the Roses a place in the 2019 World Cup final in Liverpool, and went on to win the title with an equally-thrilling one-goal win over Australia.
Helen Housby scored the winning goal in the final second of England’s historic win on the Gold Coast, but she is in no hurry to repeat those last-gasp heroics.
On this day in 2018, we woke up and won GOLD 🌹🌹🌹 Happy Anniversary 🥇🥇🥇 One of the best moments of my life!!! 💯 #Roses #CommonwealthGames #netball @EnglandNetball @TeamEngland @SkyNetball Can we do it all over again? 🤗🤗🤗 xx pic.twitter.com/5EAHPtOSfw— Eboni Usoro-Brown (nee Beckford-Chambers) (@EboniBChambers) April 15, 2020
“I haven’t watched the whole game back because I find it gets too nerve-racking,” Housby said. “The game was so stressful and tense.
"But if it happened again, I would much rather cruise home by 15 points – if not for me, then for my mum and dad, and the coaches, and everyone’s parents and supporters in the stands.”
Meanwhile, Australia captain Liz Watson is convinced her revamped squad are on their way to banishing the bitter memories of surrendering the sport's two major titles.
As well as losing the Commonwealth crown, the following year they relinquished the world cup to New Zealand.
Australia's #Netball Team Members have been selected for @birminghamcg22, with the 12 players hoping to add their own chapter to the @NetballAust Diamonds' golden history at the Commonwealth Games.#B2022 #GreaterTogether https://t.co/SFa7KLL35U— Commonwealth Games Australia (@CommGamesAUS) June 14, 2022
Watson is one of four survivors from Australia's Gold Coast team and is confident the turnover in personnel since will help them restore the first of their lost prizes.
"Mentally, we feel strong and confident in how we play," she said.
"It's probably an advantage that some of our players weren't at those tournaments, so didn't experience that. The players who were with us then know that we're now part of a strong group with a belief that we can play and play well."