By Fraser Clarke
Tanya Dearns, coach of Scotland’s only professional netball team, UWS Sirens, has hailed the University of the West of Scotland for becoming the club’s title sponsor.
The Emirates Arena based franchise finished a highly impressive sixth in their debut season in the Vitality Superleague, the top division of netball in the UK, drawing in record viewing figures on Sky Sports along the way. Despite that their future was in doubt, as Dearns explained: “If we didn’t have the sponsorship that UWS have given us then we wouldn’t have been able to put a team on court”.
Dearns is now optimistic that, with their future secured, the new partnership can start having a positive impact on participation figures in the country. She continued: “In Scotland they don’t have the depth or the numbers that other countries have. I think that there are only 6000 registered netballers here in Scotland, so it’s really important that we provide a pathway for girls to aspire to.
“I’d like to think that the Sirens will have some impact, I’ve just heard about the launch today of the ‘A West Girl Can’ campaign for getting girls involved in sport, and I’d like to think that the Sirens could be a flagship team for the girls here to look up to.”
Early signs that the partnership could be a productive one are positive too, with UWS student Kelly Boyle being announced as the 15th, and final, member of Dearns’ squad.
Despite having finalised their playing squad, the Sirens’ season doesn’t start until February 10 – when they face a trip to reigning Champions Loughborough Lightning, with their first home tie coming against Team Northumbria on February 26.
Dearns concluded: “It seems a long way off, but we’re just starting our third week of pre-season, I think we’ve got about 20 more training sessions that we counted up on the calendar, so it’s not too far away.”