WORCESTER-born Scottish international netballer Ella Gibbons is relishing a Commonwealth Games match-up with England.

Scotland, ranked 11th in the world, will take on their bitter rivals from across the border, the second-ranked team New Zealand, Wales, Malawi and Uganda in the group stages.

Former Worcester Netball Club and Saracens ace Gibbons cannot wait to fly out to the Gold Coast, Australia, on March 23 before their Games starts on April 5 with England up first.

Glasgow-based Gibbons, 23, said: “It’s going to be a really hard game for us. They are a lot higher in the rankings.

“We are quite a young team and it will be a physical match but I don’t mind that at all.

“Everyone on our team plays with passion and determination but we take that to another level when we face England.

“We really raise the bar and we have been getting closer with our results against them.

“I’m also looking forward to playing against Uganda as my old team-mate from Loughborough Lightning, Peace Proscovia, will line up for them.”

Goal keeper or defence Gibbons, who now plays for Glasgow side UWS Sirens, hopes for plenty of minutes over the course of the competition among a squad of 12 and aims for a top-eight finish.

For her first trip Down Under, she will be joined by Pershore-based mum Sharon while Scottish father Dougie is going to be setting his alarm clock for some early-morning viewing.

Gibbons, who has nine Scottish caps so far after being called up two years ago, continued: “It will be great to have my mum there.

“It’s my first time travelling overseas with netball so it’s really exciting.

“I feel our Scottish team are in the best place we’ve been in. We’ve just qualified for the 2019 World Cup in Liverpool after beating Wales and Northern Ireland.

“We also won both games in a Test series with Samoa.

“There will be a lot of matches over a short period at the Games and everyone should get game time. We are all battling to get on the court.”

Gibbons moved to Sirens from Netball Superleague rivals Loughborough, where she studied at the town’s university, for more minutes on court and to get more involved with her national side.

But the talented sportswoman, who attended Defford and Besford First School, St Barnabas Middle in Drakes Broughton and Pershore High, said Worcester has played a major role in her sporting path.

She was a promising high jumper with Worcester Athletic Club, winning an English Schools Championships gold medal in 2013.

But a back injury and desire to play team sport led to her focus on netball after starting the sport in her early teens.

Gibbons, the city’s sportswoman of the year five years ago, said: “Worcester is where it all started for me. The athletic and netball clubs were huge in helping me get to where I am now.

“I’d particularly like to mention my high jump coach at Worcester, Deirdre Elmhirst. Her support for me was phenomenal. I took a lot of what I learnt from athletics into netball.

“I also appreciated her understanding when I decided to concentrate on the netball. She has had a big part to play in this and we still keep in touch.”

As much as Gibbons would like to become a professional netballer, she is also doing a part-time masters degree in equality and human rights at the University of Glasgow so it may not just be in sport that she makes her name.