2022 Commonwealth Games Preview: Scotland
THE 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England are just around the corner. To celebrate, we are previewing each of the competing netball nations and predicting how they might fare in the tournament.
Today it is Scotland, who came ninth in the most recent Commonwealth Games, but finished 11th in the 2019 World Cup.
Scotland is going through a revival in terms of its netball program, with the side effectively able to build cohesion through the Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) in the form of the Strathclyde Sirens. There, the majority of the side is able to compete together and get valuable minutes together for international head coach Tamsin Greenway.
The Sirens have a mix of youth and veterans, with Claire Maxwell leading the squad once again. She returned after childbirth to have an impact in the 2022 VNSL season, and will join vice-captain Emily Nicholl in the defensive end. Though the Thistles come up against the likes of Australia, Jamaica and South Africa who all have impressive shooters, the defensive end is a strength.
In attack, the cohesion of holding shooter Emma Barrie and long-range talent Niamh McCall gives the Thistles a terrific mix, while Bethan Goodwin gave the Sirens great coverage as Barrie missed due to injury. Hannah Leighton is as versatile as they come, and will likely slot into the midcourt with Iona Christian, whilst the experience of Lynsey Gallagher cannot be understated for the side.
Scotland has is right in the middle of its group, with the first glance being that the Thistles should finish fourth overall. One would expect them to defeat Barbados, whilst a clash against Wales will be fascinating. Scotland has more depth than its British counterpart, but not as much as the other three nations in the group. Given South Africa is without world class defender Karla Pretorius, it does give the likes of Scotland hope, but the Thistles will still need to contain the likes of Ine-Mari Venter and Lenize Potgieter, while trying to get past Phumza Maweni.
The other two nations in Jamaica and Australia will be too strong for the young Thistles, but they would love to take it right up to the Sunshine Girls and Diamonds. Both are long established, incredible sides. Australia has ridiculous depth that even an Australia A side could go deep in an international tournament, while Jamaica has an embarrassment of riches up both ends. If Scotland can take it up to them, it will give the Thistles great confidence for the future.
Claire Maxwell (captain), Emily Nicholl (vice-captain), Lynsey Gallagher, Niamh McCall, Emma Barrie, Iona Christian, Hannah Leighton, Sarah MacPhail, Lauren Tait, Rachel Conway, Bethan Goodwin and Kelly Boyle.
Saturday, July 30 – Australia
Sunday, July 31 – Wales
Tuesday, August 2 – Jamaica
Wednesday, August 3 – Barbados
Thursday, August 4 – South Africa