On an August morning at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, England’s netball team suffered a devastating loss at the hands of Jamaica in the third-place play-off. Their dream of having a medal draped round their necks was over.
But as is so often the case in professional sport, bemoaning what might have been was out of the question. It was time to get back out on the court and put it right.
However, England were perhaps suffering from a hangover from their agonising Commonwealth Games heartbreak in the months that followed as they lost three test series on the bounce, falling to defeats to Australia and New Zealand towards the end of 2014 before succumbing to a 2-1 reverse at the hands of Jamaica in the New Year.
Under such scrutiny and pressure, many teams would have folded, especially with a World Cup in Australia, the sport’s quadrennial showpiece, looming large on the horizon - but not England.
Step forward Tracey Neville. The former England international, who has a Commonwealth Games bronze medal to her name after a third-place finish at Kuala Lumpur 1998, was appointed interim coach of the team in March of last year, tasked with rejuvenating and re-energising a team which was at a distinctly low ebb.
Neville, often overshadowed by her famous footballing brothers Gary and Phil, must take a great deal of credit for what followed as her England side, in spite of a lack of form following a tumultuous run of results, got their revenge on Jamaica - nicknamed the "Sunshine Girls" - with a 66-44 victory in the World Cup bronze medal match. The redemption was complete.
“Coming out of that sixth month period, the team could have gone into a complete watershed - demotivated and losing confidence but the squad were able to feel confident going in to that World Cup and put on an outstanding performance,” Neville said.
“We can reflect on that period as a disappointing time but we did really rise above that and drew massive positives from it.”
The circumstances in which that medal was achieved provide a perfect example of the character Neville has instilled in a team that at one point was seemingly going nowhere.
During the tournament, Tracey’s father Neville Neville passed away after suffering a heart attack while in Australia following the progress of his daughter and her England Roses team.
Few would have blamed her if she had chosen to return home and be closer to her family at such a tough time, but she opted to stay on, a decision which was justified as she guided her side to a second World Cup bronze medal in 16 years.
There were, of course, emotional moments. Ahead of the third place play-off, a minute's silence was held in memory of her father as the whole netballing world stood beside the England coach during a dark period of her life.
But at this point, netball was her shining light and following the triumph over Jamaica, she said publicly how she felt it was the right decision to stay out in Australia and finish the job that she had started, before she declared her willingness to remain as England head coach.
It is testament to her attitude that she decided to remain at that World Cup, and you get the impression that the 39-year-old from Bury, Greater Manchester, is always looking forward rather than back.
The path that lies ahead of Neville is an exciting one after she was appointed as permanent England coach in September - something which she describes as an “honour”.
“It’s been one of the biggest challenges in my coaching career,” she said.
“I never thought there would be anything better than playing for England and now I am thinking coaching has probably taken it one step further.
“You are obviously in control of the programme and in control of your destiny and I am really just so honoured. There are a lot of challenges within the job but I am going to have to counteract them and make them my strengths.
“National coaching is obviously different to domestically as you have access to your players on a regular basis whereas with England you don’t. I work on a lot of team and relationship building and that is really difficult when your players are 200 miles away from you.”
Neville is no stranger to difficulty, however, and she is already embarking on rebuilding her team, which will pose more challenges in the build-up to the next global showcase of world netball at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast in 2018.
The side which has just lost the first two home tests with world champions Australia on home soil - the third and final match in the series between the arch-rivals is due to take place at the Copper Box on the Olympic Park tomorrow - contains barely 25 per cent of the squad which earned a medal down under in the summer of last year.
Strength in depth, so often the key to success on the international stage, remains a concern for Neville, but she is backing her players to gel and build in order to launch an assault on Commonwealth Games gold in the Aussies' back yard.
“We’ve got some young fledglings in the group which has brought a bit of energy to the squad,” she said.
“But we have to build this pathway so that when someone leaves or takes time out we make sure that we have suitable replacements and currently we don’t have the pleasure of that pathway and players challenging for those underneath positions - something which Australia have a great legacy in.
“Hopefully going forward we can create that competition for places and really take England Netball one step further.”
To do that, Neville admits they must stop becoming perennial bronze medallists on the Commonwealth Games stage. England have occupied third position on the podium on three separate occasions, including in Kuala Lumpur 18 years ago, the first time the sport was staged at the quadrennial event, and bettering that achievement is not beyond all the realms of possibility in Gold Coast two years from now.
All of the usual suspects will be there battling for supremacy and even at this early stage, it is difficult to look beyond the Australians, who will have vociferous home backing added to their repertoire for the event, while New Zealand will also fancy their chances having pushed their rivals all the way in the World Cup final.
But England, as they have already proved so far under Neville, have overcome much higher hurdles.
"Realistically it would be a medal, that would have to be our target," she said of her ambitions for Gold Coast 2018.
"I’m not going to say what colour that might be because we have only ever been in that third place play-off.
"We need to step away from that bronze medal and start winning silver and gold and that will take the sport on further. If you look at other sports that are winning those medals, they are getting huge support and investment from Sport England for example.
"Winning speaks volumes and people follow winners, don’t they.”
If she can lead her team to glory in Gold Coast, the victorious memory will banish the Glasgow 2014 disappointment once and for all.