World ranking: 10th
Previous Commonwealth Games results: 1998 (5th in Pool B), 2002 (6th), 2006 (8th), 2010 (DNQ), 2014 (8th).
Commonwealth Games win/loss record: 7 wins, 13 losses, 1 draw.
It’s been a turbulent Commonwealth Games preparation for Wales. Seventh in the world in late 2017, in January this year they were defeated by the lower-ranked Scotland and Northern Ireland, failing to qualify for the 2019 Netball World Cup and slid down the rankings.
Their game looked overly predictable, with a lack of options to goal. As a result coach Trish Wilcox was abruptly removed from her position, replaced in the interim by experienced Australian Julie Hoornweg.
A more open selection policy was also implemented – prior to this only players listed with the Celtic Dragons in the U.K.’s Superleague were eligible for national duties.
Chelsea Lewis was a casualty of the original move and wasn’t selected for the World Cup Qualifiers. Lewis plays for Team Bath in the Superleague and is likely to have the shooting circle structured around her. She is crucial to Wales’ chances of improvement.
Amanda Varey recently returned to the Celtic Dragons after a stint with the successful Team Bath franchise. Her experience should hold her in good stead in this tournament.
Passionate Welsh captain, Suzy Drane, leads by example both off and on the court. She’s one of the team’s most experienced and reliable players. Drane is in line for her 90th test cap on the Gold Coast.
Kyra Jones played her junior netball in Australia and has a gritty approach to her game. She has good defensive capabilities and on the taller side for a midcourter. Jones notched up her 50th test earlier this year.
Georgia Rowe is a youngster who works at both ends of the court. Rowe struggled in recent matches at the World Cup Qualifiers at goal shooter due to lack of movement, but is a talent for the future.
Fern Davies is another youngster, promoted from the 21U team. She’s worked with former England coaches Maggie Jackson and Mary Beardwood and is another player to watch in this tournament.
A former soccer player, Nia Jones is a tough, uncompromising defender who has the capability to wear down her opponent. Jones has been sent off the court numerous times for overly physical play, to Wales’ detriment and needs to curb this aspect of her game.
Although heavy snow hampered training, with venues inaccessible at times, there is now a renewed sense of optimism within the camp. Selection emphasis has been placed on youth, perhaps looking to rebuild for the future.
In general terms, Wales have an experienced midcourt, may struggle defensively and will rely heavily on the form of Chelsea Lewis in goals.
Wales the bottom-ranked country in Pool B and will have to perform strongly to avoid playing off for the 11th or 12th position.
Commonwealth Games team
Suzy Drane (c) WD/C/WA
Fern Davies GD
Bethan Dyke C/WA
Kyra Jones C/WD/WA
Nia Jones GD/WD
Chelsea Lewis GS/GA
Sarah Llewelyn WA/GA/GS
Kelly Morgan GD/GK
Cara Lea Moseley GA/GS
Georgia Rowe GS/GK
Leila Thomas GK/GD
Amanda Varey C/WA
Coach: Julie Hoornweg
Last five international results:
Wales lost to Northern Ireland 42-57 (2018)
Wales lost to Scotland 40-52 (2018)
Wales def Samoa 71-45 (2017)
Wales def Samoa 72-46 (2017)
Wales lost to England 50-72 (2017)