Updated: Saturday, 22nd September 2018 @ 5:47am

Commonwealth Games: 'Pearls of wisdom' to help England netball medal chances, says Clarke

Commonwealth Games: 'Pearls of wisdom' to help England netball medal chances, says Clarke

| By Dora Allday

Jade Clarke has her eye on a third Commonwealth Games medal on the Gold Coast next month.

The 34-year-old Mancunian netballer (above left), who primarily plays as a midcourt defender, has two bronze medals to her name after success at Melbourne 2006 and Delhi 2010.

It was not, however, third time lucky at Glasgow 2014, as she narrowly missed out on another medal in fourth place – a memory she does not want to repeat this year.

“It hits you as soon as you start playing in Australia,” she said, likely recalling her debut Games in Melbourne 12 years ago from Team England’s preparation camp in Brisbane.

“You have to up your intensity when you are playing against those Aussies, so we are in the perfect place with all these practice games – you have to take the catches so hard and really lift your level.

“We are with just the right group of people, with all the girls that have been playing over here in Australia and New Zealand, so they are giving us their pearls of wisdom as well.

“Because we had all been at our different teams, when we first got together it took us a few days to find out feet.

“But now we have really hit the ground running – we are playing well and building those combinations.

“Some combinations have been going for ten years plus, and some are new and building, so it has been a really interesting training week.”

Clarke was first selected for the England national netball team 16 years ago in 2002, and made her senior debut the following year against New Zealand.

She may have more experience than most wearing the England strip, but the support of the fans both at home and abroad never gets old.

And should England make it to the top of the podium, they will be listening to Team England’s Jerusalem anthem, which was reworked by long jumper Jazmin Sawyers and Britain’s Got Talent winner Tokio Myers especially for the tournament.

“We know a lot of people are going to be getting up at five in the morning to watch our games so we just want to play for them, as well as ourselves and our families,” she said.

“We absolutely love playing for England and having that support behind us.

“It would be amazing to sing the anthem – that is why we get up and train, that would be the moment.”

npower is the Official Partner of Team England and is giving our athletes the power of support by recording a brand new version of their anthem, Jerusalem. To listen to the track visit npower.com/teamengland