Jan 13 2011 By Tom Reynolds, Sportsbeat
ENGLAND netball ace Rachel Dunn insists her Commonwealth Games bronze medal will count for nothing if she doesn’t back it up by securing her World Championship berth this summer.
Dunn helped the England side climb the podium in Delhi last October and will be back in international action on Saturday (Jan 15) in the first of a three-game series against New Zealand.
England’s showdown with the commonwealth champions is the first action of a 2011 season which culminates with the World Netball Championship in Singapore in July.
Also high on Dunn’s agenda is the domestic Superleague season which kicks off on January 22. And while admitting she cannot afford to waste her chance to shine against the Silver Ferns the 28-year-old is adamant her long-term domestic form is just as important in securing her World Championship berth.
"We were really pleased with the way we played at the Commonwealth Games and getting the bronze medal was a great performance for us," said Dunn. "But what is important now for me is that I make sure I get myself on the plane to the World Championships. I didn’t have as much time on the court as I would have liked at the Commonwealths. That is the nature of high-level sport and it is great that our team is that competitive.
"But I want to be making sure I go out to Singapore and to do that I need to be producing my best form first against the Kiwis this month but then also in the domestic competition.
"The England scouts and management will all be out watching the Superleague every week and so I need to be in great form there and then that can hopefully get me to the world champs."
England’s three-game series with the Kiwis will head from Manchester to Nottingham on Monday (Jan 17) before moving to the capital for the tournament finale on Wednesday (Jan 19).
And Dunn believes her side are more than capable of issuing a statement of intent to the Silver Ferns that England are the ones to watch in the Far East.
"The England set-up is a great place to be and everything about it is well run and there is a real attitude that we can be challenging the world’s best now," added Dunn.
"We have started to beat the best sides in the world like Australia and New Zealand quite regularly over the last year or so and we really believe we can go out to Singapore and be challenging for gold."
For tickets to watch England vs New Zealand in the FIAT International Netball Series on January 15, 17 and 19 at the M.E.N Arena Manchester, Capital FM Arena Nottingham and the O2 Arena London please visit http://www.englandnetball.co.uk/