Now not the ‘child’ of the Scotland netball squad, Niamh McCall is now able to step into the senior highlight, writes Jack Lacey-Hatton.
When McCall went to the final Commonwealth Video games on the Gold Coast, she was the youngest member of the workforce nonetheless a number of months shy of her 18th birthday.
The Strathaven native was travelling down below for the expertise somewhat than as a pivotal participant down below.
Now thanks partially to the assistance of Scotland coach Tamsin Greenway, she needs to be a part of a Thistles workforce that improves on their ninth-placed end from 2018, after they take to the court docket in Birmingham.
“It undoubtedly feels completely different this time round,” she stated. “However I feel that additionally comes with much more stress.
“I feel once I went to the Gold Coast I used to be a wee child, so there have been no expectations on me.
“Now I’ve performed extra Superleague, folks know what to anticipate and I really feel there’s much more duty on my shoulders.
“You don’t get one other competitors like this (the Commonwealth Video games) and I wish to take advantage of it.
“To compete in that is one thing particular.
“The expectation to carry out nonetheless makes it nerve-wracking, however I’ll simply focus by myself recreation and serving to the workforce do properly.”
This summer season, Staff Scotland, supported by funding raised by Nationwide Lottery gamers, will comprise of over 250 athletes, and having secured her place on the squad, McCall is on the lookout for medal success.
And with the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Video games set to encourage folks and communities throughout the nation this summer season, McCall hopes sharing her story will give others motivation to get entangled in sport and switch their desires into actuality.
Scotland have a troublesome attract Group A, with video games towards Australia, Jamaica and South Africa, alongside Wales and Barbados.
However Greenway, who gained two Superleague titles with Wasps as director of netball, has improved the Thistles’ organisation since taking the job in 2020 and hopes are excessive they’ll end inside the highest eight at a Commonwealth Video games for the primary time.
They open their marketing campaign towards the Aussie Diamonds on July 30 and though the problem is daunting, McCall is relishing the chance to go up towards the world’s finest.
“We wish to enhance on it for positive,” she stated. “We do have a troublesome group and are life like about our targets, however there is no such thing as a motive we are able to’t push on and enhance upon the Gold Coast.
“To play the most effective workforce on the planet goes to be one thing particular, in addition to extraordinarily onerous. However I can’t wait to get cracking.
“You’re by no means going to have that problem, week-in, week-out in our sport. So we have to take these alternatives after they come round and see what we are able to take from it.
“We no less than wish to get our world rating up and that may be a life like purpose.”
The purpose assault additionally revealed the Scotland squad have been participating in some workforce bonding forward of the Video games.
“It has been hilarious truly,” quipped McCall. “Tamsin made positive we’ve got completed quite a bit to convey us collectively as a squad.
“We had an axe throwing session, which was a bit completely different.
“We’ve additionally bought a expertise present developing however that’s fully prime secret! However we’re actually related as a workforce.”
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