BETHAN GOODWIN’S progress over the past two years has been nothing short of remarkable. This time two years ago, the netballer was a school pupil who aspired to make a career in her sport whereas nowadays, she is a professional netball player who has just competed in her first multi-sport games.
Goodwin has spent the past 18 months plying her trade in the UK-wide Superleague as a Sirens player and the 18-year-old was an integral member of the Scottish team that Travelled to Gold Coast for last month’s Commonwealth Games.
Scotland finished in ninth position at the Commonwealth Games, which matched their world ranking, and while Goodwin admits that the team had aspired to better their ranking, they were happy with their overall performance.
“As a team, we were really proud of the performances we put out,” she said.
“We feel like we showed the world how much Scotland has progressed as a team over the past two years and we feel like there’s a lot more good things to come from us.
“One of the big things at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast was that we had the belief that we can challenge anyone as long as we play our best netball and I feel like we did that well.”
The Scottish netball team has improved consistently since the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, with the sport becoming considerably higher-profile as well as participation numbers improving dramatically. And while Goodwin, from Hamilton, believes that the standard of the international players has increased dramatically in recent years too, she is keen to stress that the squad are striving for further gains.
“We’re much fitter and faster than we were at the last Commonwealth Games so physically we’re capable of matching the top teams as well as having the skills,” the teenager said.
“To take the next step up, I think we just need to keep doing what we’re doing and get more match practice so that we can get better at implementing the things that we’re working on in training into matches and continuing to improve our consistency throughout matches. The more we play at the top level, the better we’ll get at that and that’s why having a team in the Superleague has made such a difference.
While many of the Scottish athletes enjoyed a well-earned rest on their return from Gold Coast, there was no opportunity for the netballers to put their feet up. Within a week of their return from the Commonwealth Games, many of the national team players were back into club duty with Sirens and with the Scottish club currently sitting bottom of the Superleague, they players know they must pick up their form if they are to climb up the league before the end of the season.
But Goodwin is optimistic that they can start accumulation points before the end of the season, starting with their home match against Team Bath tomorrow.
“It was definitely back to reality with a bang when we got home from Gold Coast,” she said.
“We aren’t sitting where we’d like to in the table but we feel like in this last part of the season, we’ve been putting out better performances and so we just need to make sure we get the results. It’s been a tough season but we’ve got to just keep trying to improve.”
For Goodwin who is currently a first year accounts and finance student at Strathclyde University, playing consistently at the highest level both internationally and on the club scene has improved her level of netball considerably and she admits that having played in netball Australia gave her a taste for perhaps one day continuing her career abroad. That is well in the future though.
“I’ve improved so much in the past year or two and the opportunities that have come my way have been amazing,” she said.
“After Commonwealth Games, it was quite tempting to consider playing abroad. At the moment though, I’m really settled playing netball in Scotland but I’ll just have to see what opportunities come up for me in the future.”
Source : HeraldScotland