Countdown to the Netball World Cup 2019 has begun in earnest, with tonight’s tournament draw pitching Commonwealth Games gold medal winners England against Scotland as Group D opponents in the Preliminaries Stage One, with just 300 days to go until the the tournament gets underway in Liverpool.
Tonight’s draw for the 16-team tournament took place at England Netball’s annual volunteer recognition event, the Vitality Goalden Globes Awards, held in Nottingham. It has confirmed all the teams and fixtures, across the four groups, for the first phase of the new format competition (Preliminaries Stage One).
Host nation England, who are second seeds for the first time in their history, after climbing up the world rankings following their historic Commonwealth Games gold medal victory in April 2018, will also face 7th seeds Uganda and Samoa in Group D, along with Scotland as 9th seeds.
Here’s how the groups shape up:
The Hon. Molly Rhone, OJ, CD, President of the International Netball Federation (INF), who attended tonight’s event said:
“Excitement is mounting now as the draw has been made and with just 300 days to go before we welcome the world to the fabulous city of Liverpool next July. The Netball World Cup is the International Netball Federation’s most prestigious tournament and I have no doubt that this will be our most thrilling world class event ever, with our magnificent athletes – all powerful role models for our sport – showcasing netball at its finest. Netball has never been more exciting and I know this will be a fierce and closely-fought competition from start to finish.”
England coach Tracey Neville said: ‘
“I think all nations have been waiting for the draw for the Netball World Cup so we can forecast who we’re going to be up against, prepare our teams and set our game plans. We had a really close game against Uganda at the Commonwealth Games and our Home Nations are always coming out to battle as well, so that brings on a really exciting outlook for us.
‘’We have obviously got some huge preparations as we come into this international phase. The key for us now is to try and find and select the best players who can give us the best possible outcome, given the draw. It’s a really exciting journey for us.’’
Commenting on their England clash and other Group D opponents, Scotland team captain Claire Maxwell, (formerly Brownie), said: ‘’Obviously it’s a tough group but I believe every group is tough with where netball is at the moment, with some incredible talent and players at the top of their game.
“We faced both England and Uganda at the Commonwealth Games so we know what styles they bring and there’s definitely some fantastic talent, including Uganda’s Peace Proscovia who is going from strength to strength and is one of the key players in world netball.’’
Fellow Europe region qualifiers Northern Ireland, seeded 8th for the prestigious event, will have a challenging clash over in Group A against top ranked Australia the reigning champions and will also face Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka.
The Zimbabwe team are one to watch as first time qualifiers in next year’s tournament, ranking second to Uganda in the NWC2019 Regional Qualifier – Africa last month.
Commenting on their Group A fixtures, Northern Ireland’s captain, Caroline O’Hanlon, said:
“We have to be happy with tonight’s draw – obviously all the teams who’ve qualified are going to be good and we want to be playing against the best, like Australia who we faced at the Commonwealth Games.
“We were up against Sri Lanka in the last World Cup and they’re tough to play against. Their shooter is really tall and she’s just come back into the fold, which is having a significant positive impact on their results. We know what their style is, it’s just tough to stop them going ahead and doing it. We don’t know anything about Zimbabwe but they’re an up and coming team, which is exciting.’’
In the other Preliminaries Stage One groups, Jamaica and South Africa (4th and 5th seeds respectively) will meet along with Trinidad and Tobago and Fiji in Group C. In Group B, 6th seeds Malawi will take on 3rd seeds New Zealand, with Barbados and Singapore completing the line-up.
Tickets will go on sale at 10am on Wednesday, 19 September, find out more here.
Friday 12 July
Session one court one: New Zealand (B1) v Malawi (B2), Australia (A1) v Northern Ireland (A2),
Session one court two: Barbados (B3) v Singapore (B4), Zimbabwe (A3) v Sri Lanka (A4)
Session two court one: Opening ceremony, Jamaica (C1) v Fiji (C4), England (D1) v Uganda (D2)
Session two court two: Opening ceremony, South Africa (C2) v Trinidad and Tobago (C3) Scotland (D3) v Samoa (D4)
Saturday 13 July
Session three court one: Australia (A1) v Zimbabwe (A3), New Zealand (B1) v Barbados (B3)
Session three court two: Northern Ireland (A2) v Sri Lanka (A4), Malawi (B2) v Singapore (B4)
Session four court one: England (D1) v Scotland (D3), Jamaica (C1) v Trinidad and Tobago (C3)
Session four court two: Uganda (D2) v Samoa (D4), South Africa (C2) v Fiji (C4)
Sunday 14 July
Session five court one: New Zealand (B1) v Singapore (B4), England (D1) v Samoa (D4)
Session five court two: Malawi (B2) v Barbados (B3), Uganda (D2) v Scotland (D3)
Session six court one: Australia (A1) v Sri Lanka (A4), Jamaica (C1) v South Africa (C2)
Session six court two: Northern Ireland (A2) v Zimbabwe (A3), Trinidad and Tobago (C3) v Fiji (C4)