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Vitality Netball Superleague Watch: Northern Ireland v Zimbabwe

Former Manchester Thunder coach Dan Ryan is currently in charge of Northern Ireland, who are ranked eighth in the International Netball Federation’s World Rankings.

The Lowdown

Northern Ireland will make their twelfth appearance at netball’s pinnacle event when they land in Liverpool this July. The side qualified for Liverpool alongside Scotland at the Regional Qualifier–Europe event in January 2018. They’ll be hoping to better their highest World Cup finishing position to date – seventh at the 1983 World Cup in Singapore.

Zimbabwe will make their World Cup debut when they play Sri Lanka in their opening match on Friday 12th July – they’re the only team in the tournament to be making their first World Cup appearance.

Thirteenth in the world, the Zimbabwe Gems qualified for the World Cup in style, winning all of their matches bar one (against Uganda) at the Regional Qualifier – Africa in August 2018. They’ll be one of four African nations competing at the World Cup, the other teams being South Africa, Malawi and Uganda, meaning Africa has more teams competing in Liverpool than any other INF region.

VNSL Players involved

  • Caroline O’Hanlon (Northern Ireland & Manchester Thunder)

Captaining Northern Ireland at the Vitality Netball World Cup will be Caroline O’Hanlon, who had an impressive season as part of Manchester Thunder’s title-winning side. This will be the 34 year old’s third World Cup, after previously competing in Kingston (2003) and Singapore (2011).

  • Fionnuala Toner (Northern Ireland & London Pulse)

London Pulse’s Fionnuala Toner will serve as vice-captain. Liverpool will be her second World Cup, after being named in her country’s team for the 2011 edition. She’s heading into the competition off the back of a great season which saw her complete the most interceptions for her side across the regular season.

  • Michelle Drayne (Northern Ireland & Saracens Mavericks)

Saracens Mavericks’ Michelle Drayne is the third Vitality Netball Superleague representative in Ryan’s squad. With 58 caps and two Commonwealth Games for her nation, the centre/wing attack will add plenty of experience to the side.

  • Adelaide (Adz) Muskwe (Zimbabwe & Severn Stars)

Adelaide Muskwe, who plays at either goal defence or wing defence, joined Severn Stars for her first season in the Vitality Netball Superleague in 2019. With speed and power in abundance, Muskwe is a hot prospect for the future.

Head-to-Head

With Zimbabwe making their World Cup debut in 2019, this will be the first time that the Gems and  Northern Ireland have gone head-to-head in the sport’s pinnacle event.

Make sure you’re following the Vitality Netball Superleague on Twitter for the latest news and updates!

 

 

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