TeamBath to begin defence of Superleague title
TeamBath’s netballers get their 2011 Fiat Netball Superleague campaign underway with a trip to Team Northumbria on Saturday (29 January).
The four-times Superleague champions are bidding to win an historic third successive title this season - and head coach Jess Garland said her 2011 squad are ready for the challenge.
“We’re good to go,” she said. “It feels a bit like a pressure cooker at the moment and we can’t wait to get going. We need a game to be able to measure where we are and where we need to focus our energy.
“We’ve got an exciting group of players. The likes of Serena Guthrie, Sasha Corbin, Eboni Beckford-Chambers and Stacey Francis really stepped up last season.
“This season we have players like Mia Ritchie, Scarlett Williams and Rosie Allison who we’re looking to step-up and make an impact,” she added. “I’ve also got my eye on some of our Netball Talent League (NTL) players who could come into the Superleague squad.
“We’re working with a group of players that want to continually raise the bar, and searching for a hat-trick of wins is a nice way to try to keep up the momentum.
“We’re about more than outcomes this year, we’re looking to develop a team that can keep wining the title over the next five years,” she said.
TeamBath will be captained again by Pamela Cookey, three-times winner of the national Superleague player of the season award. She is joined by Eboni Beckford-Chambers and Stacey Francis, who were also members of the England team that won bronze at the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games.
That trio, as well as Corbin and Guthrie also played in England’s recent test series against New Zealand. The new season also sees Katy Rose and Sam Perry returning to TeamBath.
TeamBath have a new coaching partnership for their Superleague campaign, with former TeamBath captain Kat Ratnapala, formerly Rawson, returning to the club as assistant coach working alongside Garland and her other assistant, Denise Ellis. Ratnapala succeeds Anna Mayes, who has moved to work as England’s assistant coach.
“We’re really proud to see Anna involved in the senior England coaching set-up and we wish her luck for the World Championships later this year,” said Garland.
Team Northumbria, now coached by the experienced former England international Tracey Neville, lost their opening game against Surrey Storm 58-32 at the weekend.
* TeamBath play their first home Superleague games of the season in early February – taking on Celtic Dragons on Thursday 3 February and Loughborough Lightning on Monday 7 February.
There is now the bonus of an additional home game, with the televised game against Leeds Carnegie on Monday 21 February also taking place at the Sports Training Village. That game was originally scheduled to be played in Leeds. Event start times for all three of these homes games is 6.45pm, with entertainment taking place ahead of the start of the games.