Strathclyde Sirens to host Manchester Thunder in Glasgow tonight

1 April 2019

Members of Strathclyde Sirens. Photograph: Newcode UK Ltd

Scotland’s only professional netball team aim to propel themselves up the table

Strathclyde Sirens, the first semi-professional women’s netball team from Scotland, are playing against Manchester Thunder in the Vitality Netball League on April 1 at Emirates Arena.

Gail Parata, head coach of the Sirens, said that the game is going to be a “tough battle” because Manchester Thunder “have been playing some very good netball. When we last met them, in round three, they were very clinical in their attacking play.”

Claire Maxwell, centre and wing defence, added: “They’re really strong and they have lots of years of experience, but I’m excited to show them how much we have improved since our last meeting.”

For Ella Gibbons, goalkeeper and goal defence, the team’s fans are “awesome and passionate. So, it’s always great to be home and to play in front of them.”

Ella Gibbons and Claire Maxwell. Photograph: Sofia Teixeira Santos

At the moment, the Sirens occupy 9th place in the table with nine other teams competing in the Vitality League.

Maxwell said: “In terms of how we’re actually playing on court, we’re really proud of the performances we’ve put on, especially the last few matches. We stuck to the game plan and we’re definitely showing some progress.”

The Sirens still have seven matches remaining in the league and they expect to put up better performances in the games to come. “We are determined to put more points on the scoreboard, at the same time we understand that winning can come in many forms and we will take those as well,” Parata added.

This time, the Sirens are playing without their star Cathrine Tuivaiti, who is expecting her first baby. The goal shooter recently played her last game and therefore the last practice session turned out to be emotional for the squad.

“Her absence is huge for us, but we are absolutely delighted for her and [her husband], Jimmy,” said Parata.

Video: Sofia Teixeira Santos

Off the court, Sirens are known for their social responsibility and development of the game among local communities.

“We want to promote our sport and get people involved in physical activity,” said Maxwell. “Playing on court is really important but it is more than that. It is about trying to get young girls and boys playing with confidence. However, anyone of any shape or any age can come along and play netball. We’re trying to change things in Scotland.”

Netball in Scotland is expected to gain popularity and scale further providing young people with more opportunities to play.

More than half of the Sirens team are part of the Scottish national team, competing in the Netball World Cup in Liverpool in July.

“We are a young team, so it’s exciting heading into the World Cup, although we are placed in a difficult group. It will be quite challenging,” Gibbons said.

She added: “It is a really exciting time for netball in general, it’s growing massively in profile and in terms of media interest.”

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