Following confirmation last month that Team Scotland will take part in the Netball competition at Gold Coast 2018, today the official pools and match schedule for the preliminary rounds have been confirmed, following a draw ceremony held at Surfers Paradise beach in Gold Coast.
Overseen and sanctioned by the International Netball Federation (INF), last night’s draw ceremony saw the bottom six ranked teams randomly drawn into two pools in order to determine the match schedule for the preliminary round-robin stage of the competition.
They join the top six ranked teams who were placed into the two pools in a snaking pattern, according to the INF World Ranking list as of 1 July 2017.
Each team will play every other team within their pool during the preliminary round matches which will be held at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre from 5-12 April, before culminating in the finals matches at the Coomera Indoor Sports Centre on 14-15 April, 2018.
Ranked 12th Scotland have been draw in Pool B, arguably the toughest of the two pools and will face England in their opening match on 5 April, followed by Wales (7 April), New Zealand (9 April), Malawi (10 April) and Uganda (11 April).
The two pools are as follows:
|POOL A||POOL B|
|1 Australia||2 New Zealand|
|4 Jamaica||3 England|
|5 South Africa||6 Malawi|
|8 Barbados||7 Wales|
|9 Fiji||10 Scotland|
|12 Northern Ireland||11 Uganda|
Competing in their second successive Games and having benefited from the experience of Glasgow 2014, where they finished ninth, three places above their ranking going in to the competition they are hoping to similarly perform above their ranking.
Reacting to the draw, Scotland National Coach, Gail Parata said: “We have been drawn in Pool B which is a particularly tough draw for us, but no matter which Pool we were placed in it was always going to be a challenge playing against the other top 11 teams in the world. However I am pleased that the draw has been completed and we now know who we are up against and we will do our very best to deliver strong performances for Team Scotland against every team we play.
“The next 9 months is a very busy period for the Scottish Thistles, with the Netball Europe Open championships in October, the European World Cup Qualifiers in January 2018 and the first part of the Vitality Netball SuperLeague in February 2018 before breaking for the Commonwealth Games in April.
“We are aiming to deliver some good performances at these events and qualify for the 2019 Netball World Cup which should provide strong preparation for us on the road to Gold Coast 2018.”
Claire Nelson, Chief Executive at Netball Scotland added: “Pool B is definitely a tough draw for us, but we have never been afraid of a challenge and are looking forward to taking on the top netballing nations as part of Team Scotland at Gold Coast 2018.
“Netball is definitely on the rise in our great nation, and after the huge growth of our sport off the back of our last Commonwealth Games, Glasgow 2014, we will be utilising this powerful platform once again to showcase what we believe is the real beautiful game! With a highly skilled Performance Team, world class support from sportscotland and the Institute of Sport, and a packed training and competition calendar in the run up to the Games, we will be more than ready to face our opposition next April.”
The full match schedule can be seen here.
Each team will comprise a maximum of 12 athletes, with individual player selection to be made in early in 2018 to ensure form and fitness.