Preview | Wales vs. Uganda international series

ANOTHER international netball series takes place over the weekend with Wales hosting Uganda in back-to-back matches tomorrow and Sunday. The two-game series takes place in the British nation, with the Welsh hosting the She Cranes on Saturday, October 1 from 7pm local time, and Sunday, October 2 from 2:45pm. It will be the fourth time the sides have met, with the win-loss record in favour of the home side, 2-1.

Uganda has the wood over Wales in the most recent meeting which occurred at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in 2018. There, the She Cranes toppled Wales by a massive 36 goals, 76-40 to show the African nation’s progression in world netball. Prior to that, the nations met twice in the 2015 Netball World Cup, when Wales won both in the group stage and then the seventh placed playoff, with the victors getting up by 23 goals in the latter after a thrilling two-goal victory in the first round robin match.

Wales announced during the week that it would become known as the Welsh Feathers having only really been known as its country name prior, giving the fans something to cheer about at the House of Sport in Cardiff. The venue will become the new home arena for the Welsh team moving forwards, joining that of Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) side Celtic Dragons at the venue.

The Welsh Feathers will be lead by a large leadership group, headlined by co-captains, Suzy Drane and Nia Jones. Forming a strong midcourt with rising talent and vice-captain Bethan Dyke, and Celtic Dragons member Clare Jones, the middle third of the court will be a strength of the Feathers. Shona O’Dwyer and Megan Pilkington round out the midcourters.

The shooting end will rely a lot on Georgia Rowe, with the less experienced Phillipa Yarranton likely to be the starting goal attack. Unproven talents Holly Jones and Sarie Watkins will round out the shooting attack. In defence, another team vice-captain in Ella Powell-Davies will team up with Saracens Mavericks recruit Christina Shaw, while Lucy Howells is the other member of the defensive unit comfortable playing a circle defender role.

Uganda on the other hand are coming off a two-test series against Northern Ireland as a warm-up to taking on the stronger Welsh outfit. Boasting high-volume shooter Peace Proscovia, the She Cranes will be difficult to stop under the post, as Mary Cholhok adds an equally big challenge with her height and accuracy a real threat to the home nation.

The She Cranes will be minus a couple of key players from the Commonwealth Games, but still have Shadiah Nassanga and Irene Eyaru who can rotate into that goal attack bib to support the towering shooters. Joan Nampungu will be a key player up the defensive end, with Sandra Nambirige providing pressure up the court. In the centre, Margret Baagala will have a huge task, given a lot of the attacking midcourters from Birmingham will not be there.

Overall Uganda will still head in as favourites, but the Welsh midcourt experience might prove key in the series, as the Feathers need to keep the ball up their attacking end and reduce turnovers. The Ugandan shooters are far more reliable under the post, so the pressure needs to come from higher up the court, but if the supply is there for the She Cranes, then the visitors should really come away with the victories.

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