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Serena Guthire led her teammates out at the M&S Bank Arena for the first time on Friday afternoon as the Vitality Netball World Cup opening ceremony celebrated all things netball with a Liverpool twist.
The Vitality Roses joined the other 15 competing nations taking part in the 45-minute display on the city’s world-famous waterfront which was dominated by an impressive array of colour, costume and choreography.
The ceremony began with a rendition of Across the Universe by The Beatles by ‘Lady Liverpool’ – portrayed by Jennifer John – and this was followed by the arrival of all participating countries, who were welcomed by a soundtrack of covers to famous Liverpool songs.
Holding St George’s Cross aloft, Vitality Roses captain Serena Guthire escorted her teammates, head coach Tracey Neville and her coaching staff out to a rousing reception from the 6,000-strong crowd.
Topics ranging from empowering women and girls to the rising popularity of netball were then touched upon in speeches from Nicky Dunn OBE, Minister for Sport Mims Davies, and International Netball Federation President-elect Liz Nicholl CBE.
The Vitality Roses later watched on as an interactive dance, projection, pyrotechnic multi-media show took over both courts. Dancers from Iceland, Spain, Russia and Mexico formed part of the troupe, who had been rehearsing for several months.
Following the appearance of a special Liver Bird, who emerged to the sounds of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, Tracey Neville and her side were guided out of the arena by the voices of a choir made up of Sense of Sound, Liverpool Signing Choir, Pop Vox and Voice to Voice.
While a handful of games took place before the ceremony, the vibrant display truly represented the beginning of the Vitality Roses’ World Cup campaign.
The closing ceremony will take place on Sunday 21 July, which will focus around the medal ceremony and the official handover to the Netball World Cup 2023 hosts, South Africa.
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