FOUR fit Renfrewshire girls are hooping it up in Scotland’s only Netball Superleague team – and hope to compete in the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Fiona Moore, Gail Higgins, Rachel Holmes and Jenna Storie turn out for the Glasgow Wildcats – and their claws are out for success this season.
The glamorous girls admit love and socialising have had to take a back seat as they pursue Games glory because they spend at least 12 hours a week training on top of match time.
The Superleague is made up of the top nine teams in England, Scotland and Wales who compete for the most prestigious championship in the sport.
Accountant Jenna, 23, plays in wing attack and centre positions and hopes she’ll represent Scotland in the 2014 Games.
Jenna, from Houston, told the Paisley Daily Express: “This is our second season and we are doing alright.
“It is a bit harder for us because we are the only Scottish team in an English league and every second game is away, which means we usually have to travel to London.”
Jenna started out playing for Bellahouston in the Glasgow League and went for trials when she heard about the Wildcats.
And she is committed to juggling work and her personal life with team commitments to make a go of it for 2014 if Scotland compete.
“I am doing professional exams for work and that is a bit of a struggle for time. I aim to play in the Commonwealth Games – that is what we are all about.
“We are 100 per cent geared towards 2014.
“We train hard – including three lots of weight training, strength and conditioning and games themselves. We put in about 12 hours every week in training over and above games.
“But netball takes priority over everything. It’s the kind of team you need to be committed to, and we need to juggle boyfriends and work around it.”
The squad plays and trains at Bellahouston Leisure Centre and Kelvin Hall International Sports Arena, and they also train at the Donald Dewar Leisure Centre.
Around £200,000 has been ploughed into the team by Glasgow City Council, and competition in the league is so fierce that games are covered by Sky Sports.
Rachel, from Lochwinnoch, is studying maths and statistics at Glasgow University and agrees with Jenna that players must be disciplined and organised.
The 20-year-old, who plays in goal attack and goal shoot positions, said: “Yes, it is hard to juggle things. It is netball, netball, netball all the way and people do understand the commitment they are making.
“But we are very structured with training in the mornings and then I go off to uni.
“Sometimes when training starts at 7am I stay in Glasgow with one of the girls the night before to get a bit of extra sleep in.
“I used to play basketball with St Mirren and I do make time to catch up with those girls as often as possible.”
Rachel, who is a former Johnstone High School pupil, tasted success in the Scottish Schools Cup with her classmates in S2 and S3. And while she is hungry for continued success in her scoring position, she explained: “There is a lot of pressure, but there is pressure on all the girls to get the ball to players up front.
“We are just finishing off the hard work of the whole team.”
Scotland player Gail, from Glenburn in Paisley, plays wing attack and goal attack and is so dedicated she switched jobs from being a carer to a trainee dental nurse to free up more time for training.
Gail, whose mum Ann, dad Ronald, brother Ronnie and sister Angela are from Paisley, told us: “There isn’t time for anything else. Everything takes a back seat to netball. We are up at 6am for training and travel to Wales and England to play. Sometimes your family phone you just to make sure you’re still alive.”
Gail, 30, said it could be just five weeks before the Games that the girls find out if Scotland will compete. This is because only the top 12 squads are included – and Scotland is currently placed 13.
She said: “We need to be in the top 12. We went to Barbados last year and a win would have put us into 12th position. Although it was a good game, we lost.”
Paisley girl Fiona, 24, is a police officer and plays centre and wing defence. She says she loves the level of competition in the NSL and her hero is American swimmer Michael Phelps.
Glasgow Wildcats is the Netball Superleague franchise for Scotland and the girls are coached by Scotland head coach Denise Holland.
Denise said: “We are determined to show our supporters just how hard we have been working.
“We will win more quarters, shoot and convert more goals, capitalise on our own possession, and ball by ball break down our opposition's game.”
l To find out more about the Wildcats, their games and ticket sales or to volunteer on match days visit www.glasgowwildcats.co.uk
You can email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0141 287 8901.