Suzy Drane’s Wales netball side will get the chance to avenge their recent one goal defeat to Northern Ireland when they head to Scotland this weekend for the Netball Europe World Cup qualifiers.
With only two teams from the three nation tournament in Perth going through to the 2019 World Cup in Liverpool there is no margin for error. The Irish side triumphed by a single goal over both the Welsh and Scots in Cardiff in the recent Netball Europe Open Championships and will go in as favourites.
For Wales it will also be a great warm-up for the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in April, although the last thing they can afford is to miss out on playing in the biggest competition in the world on their own doorstep next year.
But they will have to cope without prolific goal-shooter Chelsea Lewis, who has opted to take a six-month break from international competition.
The 24-year-old, who plays for Superleague club Team Bath, is now a doubt for the Commonwealth Games in Australia in April.
Wales head coach Trish Wilcox said: “We respect and support her decision at this time.
“Players do quite often take a break from international netball and that’s the decision Chelsea has made at this time. Chelsea will be continuing to play for Team Bath in the Super League and we look forward to seeing her put good performances in.
“It’s not definite at all and we look forward to welcoming Chelsea back into the Welsh squad in the future.”
They start against the Scots on Friday night (19 January, 7.30pm) and then face the Irish the following afternoon. New Celtic Dragons shooter Eleanor Roberts, who made her international debut last month against Samoa, is included in the 12 player squad.
“These matches are must wins for us with all three countries so evenly matched. It is going to be a thrilling and tense couple of tests, but we are confident in our abilities,” added Wilcox.
Suzy Drane (captain), Kelly Morgan, Georgia Rowe, Eleanor Roberts, Cara Lea Moseley, Sarah Llewellyn, Clare Jones, Kyra Jones, Bethan Dyke, Lateisha Kidner, Fern Davies and Nia Jones.
Both matches will be available to watch live on the Welsh Netball Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/welshnetballassociation