Team Bath Netball players stake their claim for Superleague
Team Bath Netball’s encouraging pre-season form continued as they recorded an impressive 66-42 victory against Celtic Dragons at the Sports Wales National Centre in Cardiff.
Friday’s fine result followed on from Team Bath’s 62-46 win over the same opposition at the University of Bath last month, as well as victories against Surrey Storm and Hertfordshire Mavericks in the previous week’s tri-tournament.
Director of Netball Jess Thirlby said: “It was another positive performance against good opposition. What was particularly pleasing is that we won every quarter, which shows real progress, and we started and finished really strongly.
“All 14 of the long-squad members we took to Cardiff got a run-out, including some of the younger players like Laura Rudland, Sophie Carter and Alana John, and it was good to see Jazz Scott and Shaunagh Craig get more time on court.
“Lenize Potgieter and Karla Mostert also had another valuable opportunity to work within their respective attacking and defensive units. Integrating them this early in our pre-season is paramount in forming lasting and effective relationships with team-mates to benefit us once the season starts.”
With the final 2016 Vitality Netball Superleague squad due to be finalised by the start of December, players will have another chance to stake their claim for a spot at this weekend’s Mike Greenwood Trophy.
Taking place at the Manchester Thunderdome on Saturday, the round-robin tournament will see the Blue and Gold take on Team Northumbria (12.16pm), Loughborough Lightning (1.37pm), Celtic Dragons (2.31pm), Manchester Thunder (3.25pm) and Yorkshire Jets (5.13pm).
“We’ve never been to this tournament before but we decided to take part this time as part of our improved pre-season programme,” Thirlby explained.
“It means we will have played every Superleague team during pre-season and, while some do not have their imports yet, we will have a good idea of where we are compared to everyone else and what we need to work on.
“We have 20 players at the moment and it is going to be a very tight selection process for the final 15 but that is how it should be.
“This whole window was about giving the players the chance to show [Head Coach] Anna Stembridge and I what they can do and they have all really embraced that opportunity.”
Team Bath Netball – backed by Carter Jonas – begin their 2016 Superleague campaign against defending champions Surrey Storm on Saturday, January 30 (8pm).
That match is taking place at the Genting Arena in Birmingham as part of a Super Saturday season opener which sees all eight franchises in action on one day.
Tickets are on sale for that match, as well as Team Bath Netball’s home fixtures at the University of Bath Sports Training Village. Season tickets are also available, priced £50 for adults and £35 concessions.