World ranking: 11th
Previous Commonwealth Games results: 1998 (4th in Pool A), 2002 (8th), 2006 (10th), 2010 (7th), 2014 (11th).
Commonwealth Games win/loss record: 8 wins, 14 losses.
Barbados are one of six nations to have competed in every netball competition at the Commonwealth Games and sit in pretty good company alongside Australia, New Zealand, England, Jamaica and South Africa.
Their best ever result was 7th placing in Delhi, where they pipped Trinidad and Tobago 60-59 after trailing by seven goals at half time.
Head coach Sandra Bruce-Small, a former Bajan Gem herself, has also previously coached the open and 21 & Under national sides.
Over the past 12 months, Barbados have drawn a series with an underwhelming Jamaican outfit (granted, they were without the services of Jhaniele Fowler and Romelda Aiken), swept aside Trinidad and Tobago and wrestled with Uganda in a 2-1 series loss at home.
These series were timed to take place before the cut-off date for the new world rankings release to maintain their place in the top 12. The plan worked and, with that, they keep their perfect Commonwealth Games attendance record intact.
Vice-captain Latonia Blackman is the Gems most-capped player with 132 tests, gathered over a career spanning two decades. In fact, she’ll be the most-capped netballer at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Blackman will be the first netballer to compete at five Commonwealth Games after debuting for Barbados as a 15-year old. So versatile is Blackman, she’s played in all seven positions for the national team.
Six players from this Commonwealth Games team competed at the World Cup in Sydney three years ago (Niles-Mapp, Azore-Bruce, Payne, Smith, Wharton and Blackman) and Damisha Croney has been recalled after taking part in the Commonwealth Games four years ago.
Their target goal shooter Shonica Wharton was just 18 in Glasgow, but now has a few more campaigns under her belt, including the World Cup and last years’ World Youth Cup. She was unstoppable last July against Trinidad, averaging over 37 goals per game.
Cramming upwards of seven games in eight days is an arduous task in itself, but Barbados have given themselves the best chance for a top-10 finish by having a good blend of youth and experience – a known key for any side contesting this type of tournament.
Barbados have an extra day for preparation up their sleeve, before their Games campaign begins against Australia. The host nation were 83-16 victors in their last meeting at the 2015 World Cup and Barbados will no doubt use that result as a yardstick this time around.
Their best chance for success in Pool A will be against Fiji, who are fresh from four tough matches in the Taini Jamison Series in New Zealand.
Commonwealth Games team
Rhe-Ann Niles-Mapp (c) GK/GD/WD – 64 caps
Latonia Blackman (vc) GD/GA/C – 132 caps
Shonette Azore-Bruce GK/GD – 72 caps
Vanessa Bobb WA/WD/C – 3 caps
Damisha Croney WA/C – 48 caps
Rieah Holder WA/C/GA 17 caps
Teresa Howell WD/C – 12 caps
Nikita Payne WA/GA/GS – 77 caps
Tonisha Rock-Yaw C/WD/GD – 19 caps
Shonte Seal GK/GD/WD – 3 caps
Sabreena Smith C/WA – 67 caps
Shonica Wharton GS – 45 caps
Coach: Sandra Bruce-Small
Last five international results:
Barbados lost to Uganda 28-46 (2018)
Barbados def Uganda 42-38 (2018)
Barbados lost to Uganda 40-48 (2018)
Barbados def Trinidad and Tobago 44-40 (2017)
Barbados def Trinidad and Tobago 49-37 (2017)