A CLAREMONT Netball Club trio will take on the best in Europe next week when they represent Scotland at the European Championships.
St Leonards women Sarah Kerr and Nicole Breen will play for the under-19 side in Wales, while Calderwood teenager Nicola McCleery will compete as part of the under-17 team in Ireland.
All three girls came through tough trial sessions to make the final cut and for Sarah, her hard work has really paid of.
The 18-year-old told the News: “It’s a brilliant feeling to know I’m in the squad and it means that all the hard work and effort I’ve put in since September has been worthwhile.
“The preparation has been pretty intense – I’ve been training every Saturday and Sunday for four hours doing fitness work, ball work and strength and conditioning – so it’s been quite tiring.
“Every Thursday I’ve been training from 7am until 9am as well so with the amount of work all the girls have been putting in I don’t see why we can’t win the event.
“All the teams in the competition are tough, but we’ve got players capable of beating them and winning the tournament.”
Meanwhile, Nicole, also 18, is relishing the prospect of representing her country in Wales.
She added: “This is always a very tough competition and it’s absolutely brilliant that I have made the final 12 for Scotland again.
“I’ve played at under-17s before and this is my second time in the under-19s so I’m looking forward to it.
“I always give it my best in training and even although it’s been a long training process, I can't wait to get out there and play. As a nation we are a good team who work well together, so that will help us in Wales.”
While the under-19s face up to England, Ireland and the hosts Wales in Deeside, the under-17s team are off to Dublin for their encounters.
And debutant Nicola McCleery is looking forward to testing herself against some of the best players at her age group in Europe.
The 15-year-old beamed: “I cannot wait. I’ve never played for my country before so this is a big step up, but one I’m looking forward to.
“I’ve played in the South Lanarkshire district team before but this is as good as it gets at my age group.
“I was involved in the trials last year, but didn’t make it past the first stage so I’m delighted to make it this time.
“Last year I was the youngest in the group and I was really disappointed when I didn’t make it through, but the last year I have improved so much; I’m a lot stronger now and I’ve improved on most aspects of my game.”
Both championships take place from March 11-13 and Claremont coach Christine Barlas is thrilled for the girls.
“This is a wonderful achievement for them and the club,” she said. “I’m very proud of all of them because these girls always give me 110 per cent in their performances at the club and in our league games.
“I know they will do the same for Scotland and the girls are a credit to the club and their parents. I wish them and the rest of the squad great success in their events.”
The Claremont girls are also joined in the Scotland teams by five girls from East Kilbride Netball Club.
Cheryl Costello, Gillian Crozier, Lynsey Gallagher and Lauren McLeod have all been included in the under-19 squad, while youngster Emma Hardie has been selected for the under-17 team.