The first matches for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games have been announced, as the organisers of the Games have revealed the schedules for the netball competition and the women’s cricket T20 at the event.
Last month the first six qualifiers for the netball competition, which will be held at the NEC Arena, were announced, with the final six set to be confirmed early in 2022.
The netball matches will begin on Friday 29 July, one day after the opening ceremony for the Games, the largest multi-sport event to be held in the UK for a decade and the biggest ever event to be held in the West Midlands region.
Team England, the reigning Commonwealth Champions, and the host team for the tournament, will be first on court in the early session on 29 July, taking on one of the sides that will be announced next year.
The following day they will play Malawi and they will also have games on the 1 August and 2 August, with their final group match set to be a showdown with New Zealand on 4 August.
Other netball matches that have been revealed so far include Jamaica against South Africa in the evening session on 30 July, Australia against South Africa in the morning session on 1 August and New Zealand against Malawi in the evening session of the same day.
Australia against Jamaica will be the match in the morning session on 4 August – the first of three netball sessions to be held on that day.
Team England are the defending champions in netball and Ama Agbeze, who is now a Birmingham 2022 board member, was captain of the team when they won gold in dramatic circumstances on the Gold Coast.
Agbeze said: “The gold medal match at Gold Coast 2018 was one of the greatest experiences of my life and we can expect more drama at Birmingham 2022.
“It has been a tough couple of years with many international netball matches having to be postponed or cancelled, so I know that all of the teams will be looking forward to the Commonwealth Games and a chance to renew their rivalry.
“With the final of both of netball and women’s cricket T20 being staged on Sunday 7 August and with the women’s hockey tournament medal matches on that day too, it will truly be a super Sunday for women’s team sport and I can’t wait to witness it.”
World Netball President, Liz Nicholl CBE said: “With the hosts England confirmed to be part of the opening match at this very special multi-sport event, the athletes and their supporters will await with excitement the announcement of the remaining six qualifiers for Birmingham 2022, to see who the hosts will face.
“World Netball will continue to work with the Commonwealth Games Federation, Commonwealth Games Associations and Birmingham 2022 on the announcement of the remaining teams.
“Thank you to all our Netball Family who have already purchased tickets to support our athletes and their nations in Birmingham, I look forward to joining you all at the NEC Arena for what is sure to be an exciting event to showcase our sport as we continue to grow, to play and to inspire.”
The announcement of the match schedules for the two team sports (netball and women’s cricket T20) comes just a few weeks before tickets for Birmingham 2022 are expected to go on general sale.
Matt Kidson, Director of Sport for Birmingham 2022, said: “Not surprisingly we have already sold thousands of tickets for both the netball and cricket T20 sessions through our ticket ballots, but we know that some fans have been waiting to find out the details of the match schedules before choosing which sessions they want to attend, so we’re expecting these sports to sell quickly, when ticket sales go live.
“If there are netball and cricket fans who haven’t yet set up their ticketing account, then now would be a great time to do so, as tickets will be sold on a first come, first served basis, once the general sale begins.”
To find out more about Birmingham 2022, create your ticket account or see the full competition schedule for all 286 sessions of sport, go to birmingham2022.com.