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Stars to look out for at the Commonwealth Games

We are just days away from the first centre pass of the Commonwealth Games, when title holders England take on Trinidad & Tobago at 12pm on Friday.

That match also marks the first of several clashes between Vitality Netball Superleague stars in Birmingham with 44 VNSL players set to feature.

All of them will be hoping to be standing on the podium come the 7th of August, but before that, VNSL fans can expect more of the high-level performances showcased all season long.

Here are the VNSL stars to look out for:

Uganda – Peace Proscovia
She Cranes players have topped the goal-scoring charts in the VNSL for the past two seasons, with Mary Cholhok scoring 849 goals in 2021.

But it was her Uganda teammate Peace Proscovia who took top spot this year, going four better and scoring 78.4% of all of Surrey Storm’s goals.

The goal shooter won’t just be leading Uganda’s scoring efforts, she has also captained the team since 2013 leading them to sixth place at Gold Coast 2018.

South Africa – Ine-Mari Venter
Five South Africans ply their trade in the VNSL including Saracens Mavericks shooter Ine-Mari Venter.

Venter snuck into the top ten goalscorers for the season with 423 goals despite missing eight weeks out with injury.

Before her injury, the 27-year-old made a flying start to her second VNSL season and will hope to be quick out of the blocks when South Africa take on Jamaica in their opener.

Trinidad & Tobago – Shaquanda Greene-Noel
There is only one VNSL player in the Trinidad & Tobago squad but she has enough star power on her own.

Shaquanda Greene-Noel took the Superleague by storm last season as she represented Celtic Dragons, with her personality impressing just as much as her netball skills.

On the court, she produced a league-high 119 turnovers and was also in the top three for deflections, penalties and intercepts with the defender proving a wall as the Dragons conceded fewer goals than the top two teams in the table.

Wales – Bethan Dyke
Comebacks don’t get much better than Wales’ Bethan Dyke’s in 2022.

The Severn Stars player was ruled out of the 2021 season with an ACL injury but roared back this year as she was named Coaches’ and Players’ Player of the Season by her club coaches and teammates.

But the mid-courter also caught the eye of onlookers as she scooped up four player of the match awards.

Malawi – Towera Vinkhumbo
There will not be many players with as much international experience as Malawi and Strathclyde Sirens’ Towera Vinkhumbo.

The defender first represented the Queens in netball in 2010 aged 19, but her first taste of international sport came when playing international football for Malawi aged just 14.

Vinkhumbo was part of Malawi’s historic defeat of New Zealand at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, and the star has continued to rise as a defensive stalwart for Sirens over the past two seasons.

Northern Ireland – Michelle Magee
Michelle Magee had not finished school the last time she played at the Commonwealth Games, but now she is a reliable defender for Leeds Rhinos.

The 22-year-old will once again be joined in the green of Northern Ireland by sister Emma Magee, with both also playing Gaelic football for Antrim.

For Rhinos, Magee missed only two games this season as they ended in sixth, and will be hoping to push Northern Ireland to similar heights after their eighth-place finish last time out.

England – Jade Clarke
After the 2019 Netball World Cup, and with a Commonwealth Games gold medal already in her pocket, Jade Clarke thought about retiring.

Luckily for Leeds Rhinos and England the 38-year-old decided to keep going and will now embark on a fifth Games.

England’s most capped player joined Rhinos as their first-ever signing in 2021 with the mid-courter going on to be named as Players’ Player of the Season by her teammates.

Scotland – Claire Maxwell
While Claire Maxwell may be Scotland’s star to look out for on the court, her young daughter will be the fan to find in the stands.

Strathclyde Sirens captain Maxwell returned to netball last year after giving birth to Lucy in April and will lead Scotland for a second Games.

She was never far away from a netball court during her pregnancy, serving as Sirens’ assistant coach with her wealth of experience making her a calm head in the mid-court

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