Team Scotland will look to shoot their way to success on Australia’s Gold Coast, as both Netball and Basketball teams face England on the opening afternoon of the XXI Commonwealth Games.
Following a hugely successful preparation camp on the Sunshine Coast, the teams turn their attention to competition with both sports set to get their Commonwealth campaign underway on Thursday.
Team Scotland’s netballers will take to the court at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre for the first of five Pool B group games. After recent movement up the World rankings, the team will look to improve on their ninth place finish at Glasgow 2014. With England ranked six places higher in global terms, Head Coach Gail Parata believes it is important for Scotland to focus on achieving their own goals against the English side.
“England are number three in the World and they will be pushing close to a gold medal final match,” she said. “We have targets that we want to come here and achieve and we have played England in the pre-season run through early January so we know what they can do. It is going to be tough for us but we will hit our targets and stick to our processes and see what happens from there.”
Basketball returns to the Commonwealth Games for the first time in 12 years and Thursday evening’s game will see Scotland Head Coach, Rob Beveridge, former assistant coach for Australia, take charge of the team for the first time, an experience he is looking forward to.
“This role is a special one for me and my family,” he said. “With Scottish blood, it is a huge honour to be part of Team Scotland and I am really happy with the focus of these players. Our progress and professionalism since arriving in Australia has been outstanding and by buying into what we are trying to do, it lets me know that when Games time comes around we will be ready to go.”
The Men’s Basketball group stages are taking place in Townsville, in the north of Queensland, with Scotland competing in Group B alongside England, Cameroon and India. Beveridge, who won gold with Australia last time the sport was included, believes facing England first is the perfect way to start the Games.
“It is a really exciting challenge, we all know that the sporting rivalry between the two countries is not one that goes back just a year or two. This has been built up over centuries and to be a part of that is a privilege for everyone involved with the team and we will be hoping to rise to the occasion to do the whole of Scotland proud, both out here and at home.”