Serena Guthrie captained the Vitality Roses to their first victory on home soil since being crowned Commonwealth Games Champions back in April.
The Roses beat the Uganda She Cranes 50-46 to take the opening match of the Vitality Netball International Series, however Uganda fought back in the final quarter to level the game, and test the gold medallist's nerves at the end.
Tracey Neville named five gold medallists in England’s starting seven with the Vitality Roses proudly wearing their new Nike kit for the first time.
A strong first quarter from the Roses and impressive through court defence saw the She Cranes struggling to pick out star shooter Proscovia, and the Roses pulled ahead to an impressive 15-8 lead at quarter time.
The second quarter saw much of the same, with Clarke showing her experience at WD to win plenty of turnover ball, and excellent team work between Guthrie and Dunn meant the Roses continued to stretch their lead to 30-21 at half time.
Neville made a change at the break with Guscoth coming back on as GD after she'd left the court following a collision in the first quarter, and Gibson moving to WD. The She Cranes started the quarter brightly however, and missed shots from the Roses gave them the opportunity to narrow the gap.
Uganda went on a run of four unanswered goals before George Fisher, brought on at GS in place of Dunn, had an immediate impact with a number of goals in quick succession.
The world number two's worked tirelessly and went into the final quarter with the score at 38-31.
Neville used the opportunity to rotate her squad, and there were more changes for the Vitality Roses as the final quarter started with Haythornthwaite moving to GA, Housby taking the GS bib, Sasha Corbin coming on at WA and Clarke returning to WD.
Uganda opened up the final quarter with first centre-pass and a goal, making the score 38-32.
The She Cranes took advantage of the new Roses' combinations being tested, and continued to keep plugging away at the gap and were back on level terms – 43-all – midway through the final 15.
Despire the pressure, the Roses kept their cool and benefited from an overcooked pass, as well as the fantastic support from the home fans, to end the first match of the Vitality International Netball Series with a 50-46 win.
Captain Serena Guthrie spoke after the game about the Roses performance, and said:
"We knew it was going to be an exciting game and the crowd were incredible tonight and it's a little taster of what we can expect at the World Cup."
In terms of Uganda's late comeback, Guthrie added "we need to learn what to do when they do some back at us.
"It's about playing under pressure and putting the shots away when it matters.
"We've been trying to learn to thrive in those situations and not tightening up and tonight it's clear that we are still working towards that."
The Vitality Roses will go head-to-head with Uganda again on 30th November and 2nd December at the Copper Box Arena in London, as part of the highly anticipated three-match series.
Prior to the Vitality Netball International Series opener, Roses A put in a strong performance to beat Scotland 63-33 in the battle of the home nations.
England’s starting 7 – Dunn (GS), Housby (GA), Haythornthwaite (WA), Guthrie (C), Clarke (WD), Guscoth (GD), Usoro-Brown (GK)
Uganda’s starting 7 – Proscovia (GS), Nanyonga (GA), Meme (WA), Nakachwa (C), Namuwaya (WD), Ajio (GD), Oyella (GK)
By Kate Lightfoot