INF world ranking: 9
World Cups played: 13
Highest World Cup finish: 6
Scotland have appeared at 13 Netball World Cups and hosted the 1987 edition in Glasgow. They currently sit ninth in the INF world rankings and qualified ahead of Northern Ireland and Wales in the Regional Qualifiers Europe late last year. The team’s very first international game was played against England during the 1947/48 season. Prior to the match, Scotland had no official playing uniform so borrowed kit from Essex Netball. The purple tones of the kit reflected Scotland’s national colour, and that of the Scottish thistle – their national emblem. Purple stuck, and the team has since named themselves the Scottish Thistles.
Players to watch:
Claire Maxwell – Netball is a family affair for centre and wing defence player Claire Maxwell. Her mum is a local club coach and introduced the sport to both Claire and her sister from a young age. Fast and furious on the court, Maxwell represented Scotland at the 2015 netball World Cup in Sydney. Alongside her team duties, she works as a PE teacher and delivers success programmes across Glasgow. What she doesn’t know about netball isn’t worth knowing.
Ella Gibbons – Goalkeeper and goal defence for the Scottish Thistles, Ella Gibbons has played netball from a young age. The 24-year-old picked the sport up for the first time in primary school and progressed to represent her country for the national under 17s side. Netball is not her only sport however, Gibbons took a brief break in her netball career to compete for Scotland in the high jump. She returned to play for the Thistles in 2014. If selected, Liverpool will be her first experience of a World Cup.
Nicola McCleery – Wing attack Nicola McCleery has her sister to thank for getting her into the sport at the age of 12, after a being coaxed into attending her sister’s training session. 11 years later McCleery has become a core player for the Scottish side. If selected, Liverpool will see her make her World Cup debut.