Former England netball international Tamsin Greenway believes England winning the Netball World Cup on home soil in July would be the perfect way to cap off a monumental year for the sport.
England will play host to the quadrennial tournament in Liverpool from 12-21 July and all eyes are firmly fixed on the home nation who look more likely than ever to clinch the title after last year’s historic Commonwealth Gold win against Australia.
Few expected Tracey Neville’s side to overcome the defending Commonwealth champions last April and Greenway believes the new-found confidence could be exactly what England need to secure another monumental victory in a year of euphoria for netball.
“England is one of four teams who can go and lift that World Cup this year – it’s so refreshing to be able to say that,” said Greenway.
“For years I played and there were two teams reaching all the finals – that won’t be the case this year. The Commonwealth win has made a huge difference.
“We have tough opponents. It’s not just about Australia. We have to compete against New Zealand who will be better with one of the best coaches in the world – and no one has even talked about the threat of Jamaica yet.
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“I think it will be the closest and the best World Cup we’ve ever seen.But if England plays well and to their full potential, they are very capable of winning the World Cup which would be incredible for netball in this country."
“England definitely has the team and the backing to do it and it will be pretty special if they can go all the way on home soil in front of an English crowd.”
Helen Housby’s dramatic last-second winner in the Commonwealth final catapulted England Netball into the spotlight and ever since the sport has surged to new heights of popularity.
We saw Sky Sports’ netball viewing figures more than double, the national team sign a lucrative three-year sponsorship deal with Vitality and over 70,000 tickets have already been sold for this summer’s World Cup in Liverpool.
A recent survey conducted by YouGov PLC on behalf of England Netball revealed 130,700 adult women have started playing netball as a result of the Commonwealth Games.
Since the Commonwealth win, there has been a different feeling around the sport and Greenway believes World Cup success on home soil this summer would see netball gain momentum and exposure like we have never seen before.
“The England team being so successful has been a huge game-changer and I think their success at a World Cup on home soil will only further that,” she added.
“I think there has been a real positive change in attitude towards netball. Not only with media coverage of England but across the Super League too.
“It’s been fantastic to see people playing netball at university or a club really starting to get behind the elite sides. I don’t think we’ve ever seen that level of support before.
“We are really building a big fanbase and talking about netball more than ever before.
“The growth of the sport has been incredible. The pieces are finally all falling into place.
“A World Cup win would really be something to cherish for the growth of netball in the UK.”News Now - Sport News