Wales netball: Coach Sara Hale names squad for first game in two years

Suzy Drane
Suzy Drane made her Wales senior debut in 2005

Coach Sara Hale has named a squad of 15 players for Wales' first netball games in two years.

Her selection does not includes Bethan Dyke who missed the end of the Superleague season after surgery on a serious knee injury suffered playing for Severn Stars.

Experienced players such as Suzy Drane and Nia Jones are joined by a number of younger players.

"It's a great marker in the sand for us as a group," said Hale.

"The combination of big-match experience from some of our existing players, along with the youth and eagerness to show what they can do at senior level from our newer members will stand us in good stead."

Wales last senior internationals were in 2019, a summer test series in Cardiff when they beat Trinidad and Tobago 72-64 after losing twice to South Africa while coached by Julie Hoornweg. Under Hoornweg they failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time.

The Australian left her post in November 2019 after 21 months in the role, with former player and assistant coach Hale promoted to the head coach role in February 2020.

There have been no international games since because of Covid-19, but Wales will now play Northern Ireland on Saturday, 22 August (16:00 BST) and Scotland on Sunday, 22 August (13:00 BST) at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow.

"We are extremely excited to get back onto the match court," said Hale.

"Like everyone, it has been an incredibly challenging 18 months, but the team has worked hard on their development off-court, and they are hungry to perform, so we see this as a great opportunity.

"Now that we've been able to reunite as a team, I'm really excited to see what we can do, and I see this as a real opportunity to build some strong foundations over what will be a crucial year for us.

"I absolutely believe this team can qualify for the Commonwealth Games next year and subsequently the 2023 Netball World Cup, and we'll take to the court in Glasgow later this month with determination and positivity."

Ten of the 15-strong squad play in Superleague, with five of those representing Celtic Dragons.

Wales netball squad: Georgia Rowe, Betsy Creak, Lydia Hitchings, Zoe Matthewman, Suzy Drane, Clare Jones, Celyn Emanual, Kyra Jones, Shona O'Dwyer, Nia Jones, Leila Thomas, Christina Shaw, Ella Powell-Davies, Millie Carter, Lucy Howells.

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