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Vitality Netball Superleague at the 2022 Commonwealth Games

It seems like just yesterday that Helen Housby’s last-gasp goal clinched England’s first-ever Commonwealth Games gold medal.

Yet four years have flown by and nations have swapped Brisbane for Birmingham as they vie for one of the biggest titles in the sport.

Across the next two weeks, a host of Vitality Netball Superleague stars will be battling it out as they represent their countries and show demonstrate the talent the league has to offer on the world stage.

England will be out to defend their title and will hope home advantage can push them over the line.

Jess Thirlby’s team arrive in Birmingham with a wealth of talent plying their trade across Australia’s Suncorp Super Netball and the Vitality Netball Superleague.

Leading the defending champions will be Manchester Thunder’s Nat Metcalf, who has been named as captain by boss Thirlby.

Metcalf was part of the side that won gold four years ago but will be joined by several players for whom this will be their first Games, including fellow Thunder invincibles Eleanor Cardwell and Laura Malcom.

There’s room too for Leeds Rhinos’ Jade Clarke plus Team Bath trio Imogen Allison, Sophie Drakeford-Lewis, and 2022 Vitality Netball Superleague Player of the Year Layla Guscoth.

 

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England get the tournament underway on Friday as they take on Trinidad and Tobago, and will have to get past the fearsome Shaquanda Greene-Noel, who lit up the court for Celtic Dragons in 2022.

They will be joined in Group B by reigning World Cup champions and 2010 gold medallists New Zealand, and outside bets Malawi.

The Queens will be looking to Thunder’s Joyce Mvula to shoot them to glory, while they will hope Strathclyde Sirens’ Towera Vinkhumbo can keep it tight at the back.

Completing Group B are Uganda and Northern Ireland, with both sides hoping to cause an upset and reach the medal matches.

The SheCranes finished sixth in 2018 and will need shooters Loughborough Lightning’s Mary Cholhok and Surrey Storm’s Peace Proscovia to have their sights finely tuned to improve on that performance.

For Northern Ireland, a quintet of Vitality Netball Superleague stars will carry their cause, led by Caroline O’Hanlon.

The veteran is leaving Manchester Thunder this summer after controlling the midfield for the Manchester side in 2022, and will hope to do the same for the Warriors in Birmingham alongside Storm pair Niamh Cooper and Emma Magee, Rhinos’ Michelle Magee, and Severn Stars’ Michelle Drayne.


Only the top two will make it out of the groups for a chance to compete for a medal, contesting a semi-final before the medals are decided.

Group A sees 2018 runners-up Australia as the top-ranked team, with the Diamonds hoping to go one better this time around.

They’ll get things underway against Barbados before Jamaica take on Wales on Friday. Wasps’ Gezelle Allison is a reserve for Jamaica, while there will be plenty of Vitality Netball Superleague representation on show from the Welsh.

Nearly all of their squad saw court time in 2022, with Nia Jones leading a fleet of six Celtic Dragons ballers, including Georgia Rowe and Clare Jones.

They will be joined by Team Bath’s Betsy Creak, Wasps duo Ella Powell-Davies and Christina Shaw, and Stars’ Bethan Dyke as they look to be one of the tournament’s dark horses.

There’s also plenty of Vitality Netball Superleague representation from Scotland, coached by the legendary Tamsin Greenway.

Strathclyde Sirens dominate the Thistles’ squad, led by attacker Bethan Goodwin, while Wasps’ Iona Christian will look to feed Goodwin with the type of dynamic performances seen in the 2022 Vitality Netball Superleague.

They’ll be battling for a place in the top two with South Africa, who have Vitality Netball Superleague stars running throughout their team.

 

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A post shared by Iona Christian (@iona_christian_)

It was hard to find better defenders than Bath’s Phumza Maweni and Thunder’s Shadine van der Merwe last term, so attacks will have to be at their sharpest to outscore the SPAR Proteas.

They’ll hope to provide the foundations for Saracens Mavericks’ Ine-Marie Venter and Dragons’ Lefébre Rademan to net the goals needed to push them towards a medal.

The groups will be decided by next Thursday, with wall-to-wall netball to keep you entertained for the next week before the medals are decided at the end of next week.

It’s going to be a frenetic few weeks, and we can’t wait to see the Vitality Netball Superleague stars show their talent on the world stage.

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