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Dyke looking forward to Wales World Cup return

Wales are using the pain of missing the 2019 World Cup as fuel for their ambitions in South Africa next year according to Bethan Dyke.

After narrowly missing out on the World Cup in England three years ago, they bounced back with an undefeated performance at the European Qualifiers and booking their ticket to Cape Town in 2023.

And Dyke, 27, has praised the strength of her team as they stepped up their performance one stride at a time.

“As a squad we’re really proud to have qualified for the World Cup in South Africa next year, especially because we didn’t qualify four years ago,” said the newly signed Team Bath Netball star.

“We’ve really made strides forward and made great progress in that qualifying competition.

“I think that the depth and the unity we showed as a squad across all five games was a testament to the strength and dedication of the squad.

“There are a couple of us that were there four years ago and I remember that feeling of disappointment that we had.

“We knew that coming into this competition, anything could happen, and we had to make those strides forward this time out.

“And we did, we stepped up in every single game. Every game posed a different challenge and I think we adapted really well to the different styles of play.”

Wales claimed top spot at the 2022 qualifiers with wins over Scotland and Northern Ireland, the Warriors narrowly missing out on next year’s showpiece.

And Dyke’s side will step out in Cape Town as the newly titled Welsh Feathers – announcing their national identity in September this year.

The Prince of Wales Feathers have been a symbol of sporting pride in the country for around 140 years and the affiliation with netball has been a long time coming according to the mid-courter.

Dyke said: “We were the only country in the top 10 to not have a national squad identity.

“So, the process involved staff and athletes and we really wanted to represent the Welsh way, we always talk about wanting to play the Welsh way so that was important to us.

“So, we are thrilled as a squad to now have the name and the logo.

“It makes it even more special when you earn the feather, when you get that call up to the senior squad and wear the feather on your dress.

“There are 220 Welsh feathers so far and hopefully a lot more to come. We want to do Wales proud.”

Wales welcomed the Uganda She Cranes as part of a two-game series in October and despite falling to successive defeats against their Commonwealth rivals, Dyke believes that exposure to top teams is another vital building block needed ahead of the 2023 World Cup.

She said: “I think it’s really important for us to challenge ourselves against teams that are above us.
“Teams like Uganda who bring a very different style of play, we really enjoy the challenge.

“And I think the progress we made when we were playing in the World Cup Qualifiers really showed that we had had that exposure and that only benefitted us as a squad.”

With her eyes now set on the return of the Netball Super League, the former Severn Stars player is thrilled to start her new partnership with Team Bath following her tough comeback from an ACL injury in 2021.

Asha Francis’ team saw plenty of movement over the summer signing window and Dyke knows there is plenty of work to be done for the new-look side before they make waves on the court.

Dyke said: “Team Bath is a club with such rich history and success so when I got asked, I just jumped at the opportunity to go.

“We’re still a bit unknown at the minute but I’m loving building those new connections on and off the court.

“We’re really excited about what we can do and what success looks like to us as a team.

“I’m really excited for this season in particular, lots of change but it will be exciting.”

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