England’s Roses were beaten 64-48 by New Zealand in their opening match of the inaugural Nations Cup match in Nottingham.
In a repeat of last summer’s Netball World Cup semi-final clash, where eventual champions the Silver Ferns proved too much for England, the Roses once again lost to their counterparts on home soil.
The new-look team captained by Commonwealth gold medallist Natalie Haythornthwaite, and also featuring fellow Team England stars Jade Clarke, Kadeen Corbin and Chelsea Pitman, battled resolutely to reduce a seven-goal deficit to just three at half-time (28-25).
But New Zealand’s defence stood firm in the third quarter allowing the visitors to open up a 10-point lead by the end of the third quarter (38-48) which continued to grow as England head coach Jess Thirlby brought on a string of players from the bench.
"The first half was good but we made too many errors. It was a disappointing second half," Thirlby told BBC Sport.
"We were up against the world champions and yes they've got a couple of changes [to the squad from the World Cup] but there's some seasoned internationals in there," added the 41-year-old, after taking charge for her first game on home soil.
"And the changes they made in the game, especially in the shooting circle kept asking questions of us defensively.
"Across the game there's plenty to be proud of, and for all 12 to take to the court will bode well."
In place of the usual Quad Series, the Nations Cup sees England host New Zealand, South Africa and Jamaica in a round-robin tournament before a third-fourth play-off and final to determine the final standings.
England are next in action in Birmingham on Wednesday (22nd) against South Africa before travelling to London for their final group match versus Jamaica on Saturday (25th).