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Vitality Roses Head Coach Jess Thirlby announces Vitality Roses programme for 2020/21 season.

England Netball has announced that former Team Bath coach Jess Thirlby has been named as the Vitality Roses Head Coach.

Thirlby was selected for the role shortly after Tracey Neville stepped down from the position following Neville’s four-year stint at England Netball.

A 15-year coaching career has seen Thirlby take charge of Celtic Dragons and then most notably at Team Bath where she had enjoyed a successful time as a player. In this time as a coach with Team Bath, Thirlby was part of three out of five of Bath’s Vitality Netball Superleague titles winning it in 2009, 2010 and 2013. Thirlby was a player with Team Bath when they won their first title in 2006.

In her final year as Team Bath Head Coach working with VNSL Head Coach Anna Stembridge, Thirlby helped guide her side into third place. Although missing out on a place in the final at the hand of eventual winners Manchester Thunder, Bath beat Loughborough in the third-place playoff.

Thirlby joins England Netball with a wealth of experience in identifying and developing high-performance athletes.  Thirlby has worked with a number of these athletes in the Vitality Netball Superleague including current Vitality Roses captain Serena Guthrie, Eboni Usoro-Brown, Rachel Dunn, Layla Guscoth, Pamela Cookey, Stacey Francis and many more.

During her time at Bath Thirlby consolidated her experience as an elite player to take on the role of Head Coach at the England Netball Intensive Netball Training Centre, which in turn led to her role as Director of Netball at Team Bath in 2008.

Thirlby, who was the first netball coach to be selected and graduate from the highly respected UK Sport Elite Coaching Programme, said: “It is an absolute honour and privilege to be appointed as the Vitality Roses Head Coach. I have a huge amount of respect for Tracey, the Roses and the team behind them that have led this wonderful sport to where it is today. This is a great time to be taking on the role as we head into Netball‘s exciting next chapter. My focus will be to harness and build upon the momentum and solid foundation gained over the past four years.

“I expect the look and feel of the team to change as some players may begin to consider hanging up their netball trainers following the Vitality Netball World Cup, but I am excited to invest in and develop the amazing new talent that is coming through. We‘ve had phenomenal national support and wide coverage of the 2019 Vitality Netball World Cup, which can only strengthen our focus and resolve as we set our sights on the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, another major event on home soil.

“I recognise and am truly honoured that England Netball have put their faith in me to take on this pivotal role within the England programme and can’t wait to get stuck in.”

Joanna Adams, CEO of England Netball, said “We are delighted to welcome Jess Thirlby to England Netball as our new Head Coach. Jess’ thorough understanding of the elite netball landscape and experience of working with some of the Vitality Roses’, both past and present, makes her the perfect fit for this role.”

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