PAMELA Cookey has called on her England side to lay down a World Netball Championship marker by giving Commonwealth champions New Zealand a good hiding this week.
Cookey and company take on New Zealand in a three-match series starting in Manchester at the weekend as they prepare for July’s showpiece tournament in Singapore.
The England squad will head into the clash high in confidence having claimed Commonwealth Games bronze in India in back October - easily beating Jamaica 71-47 in the third-place play-off.
And after their sub-continental heroics, vice-skipper Cookey - a former Loughton School pupil - believes this week’s showdown is the perfect chance to establish themselves as realistic world championship contenders.
“They are a really strong side and we will never underestimate them,” she said, “They’ll be the best team we’ll play before the world championships, so this is a great chance for us to get some good results and set the standard ahead of Singapore.
“We were pleased with how we played in Delhi and what we need to do now is build on that in the games against New Zealand this month and keep improving over the year.”
The three-game series heads from Manchester to Nottingham on Monday before moving to the capital for the tournament finale on Wednesday).
England then continue with their championship preparations on a tour to Australia and New Zealand in April.