VNSL 2022 Team Preview: Strathclyde Sirens
OFF the back of an impressive Rise Again Festival appearance, Strathclyde Sirens are on the up in the Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL). The Scottish-based side finished sixth last season with 10 wins, eight losses and two draws from 20 matches, to sit just four points – though with a negative 48-goal difference – and will be looking to take the next step and reach finals in 2022.
The Sirens came third overall in the Rise Again Festival, and have a nice balanced list, most of whom are fresh off back-to-back international appearances for Scotland against Barbados. Heading into the 2022 season, the Sirens are largely unchanged with Caitlin Pringle the main departure among three outs, whilst Celtic Dragons defender Abigail Tyrrell has joined the club to bolster the defensive stocks.
Tyrell will pur pressure on a defensive combination of Emily Nicholl and Towera Vinkhumbo, with Claire Maxwell coming off a great return for Scotland in at wing defence. Maxwell will provide the crucial link in wing defence – and roll through centre – which links. up with the Glasgow sides’ more experienced third. Gia Abernethy will earn the centre bib to start with, whilst Bethany Dix will likely play wing attack and rotate across the other midcourt positions.
Furthermore off the back of a strong international campaign, shooting sensations, Niamh McCall and Emma Barrie provide a fantastic duo. McCall’s versatile shooting from anywhere in the circle, combined with Barrie’s height and rapid improvement makes them a dangerous circle combination. Bethan Goodwin and Lynsey Gallagher will be on call to provide support in the goal circle, in a quartet that has depth as much as talent.
Young gun Taylor McKevitt was a sensation last season in the absence of Maxwell, and whilst the more experienced of the duo will earn the starting wing defence bib, McKevitt is the future of the club. She will easily secure minutes for the Sirens and the coaching staff can be safe in the knowledge that she will hold up under pressure. Tyrrell and Kelly Boyle round out the 15-player squad for the Sirens, which has a nice balance in each third of the court.
STRATHCLYDE SIRENS POTENTIAL STARTING SEVEN:
GS: Emma Barrie
GA: Niamh McCall
WA: Beth Dix
C: Gia Abernethy
WD: Claire Maxwell
GD: Emily Nicholl
GK: Towera Vinkhumbo
The Sirens starting seven has plenty of international talent, and a mix veterans and young guns. With bench players who can come on if Plan A is not working, the Sirens have a side that will compete with many others, and could well make the jump into the top four next season.