England Netball

During the Commonwealth Games the 12-strong squad that make the England Roses form a wider team – Team England.

When Team England took part in the very first Games in Hamilton back in 1930, England topped the table with 25 gold medals.

Eboni Beckford-Chambers and Beth Cobden reflect on what it means to be part of this historic group of athletes, where they hope to add to the medal tally.

‘I’m so proud to be here with all the girls and all the other sports and I feel honoured to be part of Team England.’ says mid-courter Beth, who will be playing her first Games on the Gold Coast.

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‘When I first found out I was selected, I had to pinch myself, because you don’t really believe it until you get here.

‘When we arrived, I felt a bit overwhelmed. We had some good talks, a few of the England leaders did some speeches and they made me feel emotional.

‘After all the training and everything you’ve done – it’s exciting to think I’m here now.’

Defender Eboni Beckford-Chambers also spoke about how much of an honour it is to be on the Gold Coast: ‘I have immense pride to be part of Team England.

‘It’s my third Commonwealth Games and I think every single person has really earned their place to be in this squad of 12.

‘And to be part of Team England, representing netball amongst all the other sports is a really great feeling.

‘There’s high expectations for every single sport, and hopefully we’ll be able to contribute to the medal tally.’

With each new Commonwealth Games comes a new athletes village and netball court. So what do the Roses make of the venue where they’ll be battling it out for a medal?

‘The court is really good’ says Beth. ‘There’s a bit too much yellow and green around, we were hoping it would be a bit more neutral.

‘But no, it’s a really nice court and the stadium is all the way around the court, which I always like because it creates a really good atmosphere.

For Eboni, being in the athlete’s village adds to the atmosphere and sportsmanship: ‘It’s been great to see all of the netball girls from around the world in the village – players I know from when I was at West Coast Fever or Adelaide Thunderbirds, or even the South Africans.

‘Seeing each other in our different stripes is great – it’s nice that we’re able to share this experience and journey with them as well – not just my own team mates and Team England but all the different nations who are coming together in the name of sport.’

England will play their first Pool B fixture against Scotland on Thursday.

For details on BBC’s coverage of the Commonwealth Games, check out their schedule.

Make sure you’re following England Netball on FacebookInstagram and Twitter, and show your support on social media by using the hashtags #WeAreRoses and #TeamAndCountry.

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