Thistles Eyes on World Cup as Netball Steps into Sport Focus

July 8, 2019

With the Netball World Cup just around the corner and Scotland celebrating their recent rise to 7th place in the World rankings, it’s time for Netball to step into the Team Scotland Sport Focus spotlight. All eyes will be on Liverpool from 12-21 July as 16 of the world’s top teams battle it out for the World Cup and Scotland will be full of confidence on the back of their highest ever world ranking as they join England, Uganda and Samoa in Group D for the preliminary stages.

The Scottish Thistles will begin their campaign against Samoa on the opening day of competition before facing a tough match against Commonwealth champions and hosts England the following afternoon. Scotland’s final group game will be against Uganda on Sunday 14 July, after which the top three teams from each group will progress to a second group stage to decide the semi-finalists.

A strong squad of 12 players has been named with eight of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games team included within their number. Claire Maxwell will captain the side and is set to receive her 100th international cap during the tournament. At the other end of the experience scale, 17 year old Emma Barrie will make her senior international debut.

See the full team line-up here.

Follow the Thistles’ progress at the World Cup on Team Scotland and Netball Scotland social media channels. We’ll also be delving into the archives for tales of past success and looking ahead to the rising stars of the sport in Scotland as part of our ‘Celebrating Our Past, Building Our Future’ theme featuring all 25 sports in which Scotland has competed in the Commonwealth Games.

Netball at the Commonwealth Games

Netball is a Commonwealth Games core sport for women only and one of three team sports introduced in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 1998. New Zealand and Australia had won every gold medal between them until England took gold by a single goal at Gold Coast 2018. Outside of these three nations the only other country to have won a Netball medal is Jamaica who won bronze in 2002, 2014 and 2018.

At Glasgow 2014, Scotland fielded a netball team for the first time ever, having climbed steadily up the rankings over the previous four years. Leading the charge for the Scottish Thistles was 34 year-old captain Lesley MacDonald who had earned a staggering 118 caps for her country and competed in three World Championships.

Making their Commonwealth Games debut, Scotland got their campaign underway with a strong 58-30 win over St Lucia at the SECC. However, match two saw them face world ranked number two, New Zealand. The girls played well and put in a good defensive effort, but were overcome 71-14 by the Silver Ferns. Further losses in the remaining three group games consigned them to a play-off for 9th/10th place against Trinidad and Tobago. In their final match of the Games, they gave a strong and composed performance to finish on a high with a convincing 46-28 win.

At Gold Coast 2018 a talented squad of 12 players were selected with an even split of youth and experience. Six players returned from the Glasgow 2014 team, including Captain Claire Brownie, Vice-captain Lynsey Gallagher and stalwart Hayley Mulheron, who had over 100 caps for the national side.

Scotland suffered defeat 28-74 in their opening match as they battled hard in a fierce contest with England, the eventual winners of the gold medal match. They then enjoyed a win over Wales in their second home nations clash. After a cagey opening half Scotland were trailing 23-24, but some good passages of play and sharp shooting from 18 year old Beth Goodwin helped drive the team on to prevail 51-47. However Scotland lost their final three Pool matches against New Zealand, Malawi and Uganda, with the loss by one point to Malawi 50-51 in a thrilling match ultimately proving costly.

Placed fifth in Pool A, Scotland faced Barbados in the classification games. In a topsy-turvy match, Lynsey Gallagher continued to keep the Scots within touching distance and as time expired Gallagher scored to tie the game at 39-39, forcing overtime. Scotland ran out the winners 50-48 to conclude their Commonwealth Games in ninth place, matching their result at Glasgow 2014.

Find out more about Netball in the Commonwealth Games on our dedicated Netball page.

Scotland at the Commonwealth Games

The Commonwealth Games is the only occasion where Scotland gets to compete in a multi-sport event as a nation in its own right and is one of only six countries to have competed in every Commonwealth Games since their inception in Hamilton in 1930. Represented by 15 athletes participating in six sports at those first Games, winning a very creditable 10 medals, Scotland have gone on to win medals at every Games since.

Edinburgh became the first city to hold the Games twice in 1970 and 1986 and also became the first city to host the Commonwealth Youth Games.

Scotland hosted the Games for a third time when Glasgow welcomed athletes and officials to the XXth Commonwealth Games which was held from 23rd July – 3rd August 2014. Team Scotland celebrated their most successful Games in history, winning a total of 53 medals and went on to record their highest overseas medal tally ever at Gold Coast 2018.

Find out more about the Commonwealth Games and Team Scotland’s past success in our Past Games section.

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