IT took a trip to the other side of the world for faces that looked vaguely familiar to Emily Nicholl to become colleagues and friends.

The netball player was one of 50 athletes named yesterday in the Team Scotland squad for this summer’s Commonwealth Games with 50 days to go. The media call to mark that milestone provided the Scottish Thistles vice-captain with the rare opportunity to chat with boxers, badminton players, judoka and squash stars, replicating her experiences from her previous Games participation four years ago.

Nicholl admits she didn’t feature on-court as much as she would have liked on Gold Coast but any personal disappointment was tempered by the joy at being part of something bigger than netball and getting to know athletes from other disciplines whose paths she ordinarily wouldn’t cross.

“It was nice to see people from other sports again [yesterday] and start to get a bit of a buzz going around the Games,” says the 28 year-old. “Gold Coast was my first one and I couldn’t believe how big it all was.

“It was really cool to be part of a multi-disciplined event and cheer on people from other sports. I’d never really watched beach volleyball before but we got the chance to watch the Scottish women’s team and give them some support.

“All the off-court stuff was amazing, staying in the village, going into the food court and the rest. Being part of a team sport I think we’re naturally quite sociable and like talking to others. We got to know the women’s hockey team at prep camp so it's nice when we see them back here at the Emirates Arena, or the guys from the Rocks basketball team who were in the Scotland squad, you can have a chat and a catch-up.

“Building connections has been handy, too. Some of our squad are teachers and they’ve asked some of the other athletes to come in and speak to their classes. That probably wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t all been together at the Games.

“We all play different sports but it’s great to see people with the same passion and drive. We’re all just proud to be part of the same team and trying to do well for Scotland.”

Head coach Tamsin Greenway has named a mixed squad, with seven of the 12 women selected appearing at their first-ever Games. Scotland finished ninth on Gold Coast and Nicholl says that will be the aim again with the Thistles facing another tough challenge that begins with an opening match against world number one Australia on July 30.

“We’ve got seven players who haven’t been involved in a Games before so it’s a new group in that respect but one that’s got quite big ambitions,” she adds. “Our main target this time is to try to meet our world ranking (ninth) and anything above or beyond that will be a bonus.

“As the years tick by we want to eventually be challenging those teams in the top-five in the world but first off we’ll see if we can meet our ranking and take it from there. All our group fixtures are going to be tough which is a sign of how competitive world netball is at the moment.

“First up is Australia who are the best team in the world in my opinion so it will be good to see how we match up against them and maybe learn a few things that will help us for the rest of the tournament. And we’ve got a home nations match against Wales which is always a fiery experience too.

“Between now and then we’ll do all we can to be as prepared as we can be. Tamsin will come up most weekends for camps and we’ve got other coaches we can train with during the week to help us prepare. We’ve got a couple of friendlies lined up too to get us match ready and to allow us to play in front of a crowd again before we head to Birmingham.”

Like many of her team-mates, Nicholl combines training and playing netball with another commitment, in her case her work as a solicitor. She is, therefore, grateful to her bosses and colleagues at Pinsent Masons for allowing her the flexibility to try to make it all work.

“At the last Games I was due to start my traineeship and I deferred it to focus on netball,” she recalls. “So this is the first time going to a major event as a qualified solicitor. It’s challenging trying to fit it all in but I feel that I’ve got a decent handle on things now.

“Work have been really supportive and given me time off when I need it so that’s been a huge help too. It’s good to have one less thing to worry about!”