England’s hopes of retaining their Commonwealth Games netball title were ended by a 60-51 semi-final defeat to Australia at Birmingham NEC.

Jess Thirlby’s side were never in front against the Diamonds, whom they had famously beaten in the final second on the Gold Coast four years ago to win the title.

Three down after the first quarter, Thirlby swapped goal attack Helen Housby for Eleanor Cardwell but the move had little discernible effect as Australia dominated the middle section.

With goal keeper Geva Mentor also having negligible impact interrupting Australian goal attack Gretel Bijeta, the hosts fell six points behind at 29-23 at the half-time break.

Roused by the capacity crowd, England managed to claw back their deficit to four, but it was a brief respite and midway through the third quarter a miss by Jo Harten allowed Australia to go up the other end and extend their advantage to 10 goals.

A 45-36 deficit at the end of the third was all but unassailable and, despite a boost in impetus from the introduction of Housby, temporarily reducing Australia’s lead to six, the result never looked in doubt.

England coach Thirlby said: "I think we just gave ourselves such a mountain to climb. There was nothing in there that surprised us. [Gretel] Bueta is a weapon, we know that; she's brilliant and so versatile coming out of that circle.

I think we just gave ourselves such a mountain to climb
Jess Thirlby

"Today she was probably allowed to get too much hand on ball and was allowed a bit too much room to get herself back in good positions.

"Equally, in attack, we didn't get enough depth on them.

"I think some of the changes we made late on helped to fix that in an attacking sense, the scoring rate in the last quarter with Eleanor [Cardwell] and Helen [Housby] certainly helped, but we were found wanting today, and that's uncharacteristic for us."

Australia will play Jamaica in the final after the Sunshine Girls claimed a hugely impressive 67-51 win over world champions New Zealand, with Jamaica’s Jhaniele Fowler scoring all 54 of her attempts.