The waiting is almost over until the first centre pass of the Commonwealth Games 2018. Twelve nations will compete over the next week and a half to determine who gets their hands on the prestigious Commonwealth Games medals. Four games will take place on day one, with all top four sides in the INF World Rankings in action.
Pool A – Jamaica v Fiji – (1pm)
The Sunshine Girls and the Fiji Pearls will open proceedings in the first game of Gold Coast 2018. These sides recently met at the Taini Jamison Trophy as part of their preparations for the Games. Jamaica were the victors in Auckland by 83-38.
During the Taini Jamison Trophy both goal shooters for both sides impressed. Jhaniele Fowler-Reid yet again couldn’t stop scoring for Jamaica while Fiji’s Afa Rusivakula put in some stellar performances along the way including a 32 personal goal haul against Malawi. Expect to see goals in this one.
Pool B – England v Scotland – (3pm)
England and Scotland will be used to playing each other, however, it’s not often they do so in Australia. The Roses and The Thistles last met in October during the Netball Europe Open, where the Roses claimed the win.
If England’s Geva Mentor were to feature in this game it would mark her fifth consecutive Commonwealth Games campaign. In contrast Scotland have seven athletes waiting to make their inaugural appearance on the Commonwealth stage. The Thistles have three players within the squad who are aged twenty or younger, one of which is Bethany Sutherland, who captained Scotland during the Netball World Youth Cup last summer.
Pool B – New Zealand v Uganda – (6:30pm)
It will be a historic day for Ugandan Netball on day one, as they play their first ever match at the Commonwealth Games, against two time gold medalists, New Zealand.
Uganda’s rise up the INF World Rankings has been well documented. The She Cranes were 15th in the world four years ago when the Commonwealth Games were in Glasgow. They have since moved up the rungs of the international netball ladder and currently find themselves ranked 7th in the world.
As for the Silver Ferns, they have had a rocky start to 2018 but have a great record at the Commonwealth Games. They have competed in the final every single time, scooping up the gold medal on two occasions (2006 & 2010).
Pool A – Australia v Northern Ireland – (8:30pm)
Day one concludes with the hosts taking on Northern Ireland. The Aussie Diamonds are the defending gold medalists, and will be in search of their fourth gold medal at the Games and their first ever on home soil.
Northern Ireland are making their second appearance at the netball event in the Commonwealth Games. Four years ago in Glasgow, Elaine Rice’s side finished 7th following a victory over Wales in the seventh placed classification match. Half of the current squad were present at Glasgow 2014 and will have prior Commonwealth Games experience in their locker.
For the Diamonds, they have five players looking to win their second Commonwealth gold medal having been in the gold medal winning squad four years ago. Susan Pettitt missed out in Glasgow 2014, but does have two silver medals to her name following her selection at Melbourne 2006 and Delhi 2010.
Expect a rocking atmosphere for this one.
* Note that all times listed above are local Gold Coast time.
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