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Shaw and Harris join Team Bath

England Futures player Jess Shaw says she is returning to Team Bath Netball as “a more confident player” and looking forward to renewing long-standing partnerships on and off court after signing up for the 2021 Vitality Superleague season.

Shaw, who plays at wing-attack or centre, spent the 2017 and 2018 seasons with the Blue & Gold before gaining more valuable top-flight experience during the past couple of years with Loughborough Lightning.

The younger sister of fellow Team Bath player Rachel, Shaw is also part of the England Roses Futures programme and won U21 Netball World Cup bronze in 2017 alongside Summer Artman, Imogen Allison and Sophie Drakeford-Lewis – players she is excited to be renewing on-court partnerships with in the new season.

“It’s really good to be back down here in this environment, the girls have made me feel so welcome again,” she said. “Getting that game-time at Loughborough has made me feel a lot more confident and I can’t wait to get on court with the Bath girls and see where we can go.

“When I was here last time we got to the semi-finals but I feel with the squad we have this year we can take the title. The coaches for me are among the best in the Superleague, so that was definitely a selling point to come back and be coached by Anna Stembridge as I have masses of respect for her.

“Obviously there is a lot of competition in the mid-court with the likes of Serena Guthrie but I think that is only going to improve my game and push me to be better. I can learn a lot from Serena and Rach, and by coming up against Imo week in, week out in training.

“Imo is from Yorkshire as well, so we’ve actually been playing together since we were quite young. Summer, Soph, Imo and I were all in the England U21 squad together, so we’ve all been around each other for quite a while and have good relationships on and off the court.

“I’ve also been training with Serena, Imo and Soph on the England programme this year, which is great because we’ve been able to work on combinations in the England environment which we’ll be able to bring back to Bath.

“I’m really excited to get stuck in and see where I am at the end of the season. Obviously I would like a starting position which is going to take a lot of hard work but I’m looking forward to that challenge.”

Anna Stembridge, Team Bath Netball’s Superleague Head Coach, said: “I’m delighted that Jess is coming back to us at Team Bath, she has really matured as an athlete and offers us something different in mid-court. She is a naturally gifted player with great vision and her touch and placement of the ball is up there with the best in the Superleague.

“It will be great to see her renewing the partnership she developed with Sophie Drakeford-Lewis, both at Team Bath and England U21 level, and developing new ones. She has also been training alongside and learning from Serena Guthrie in the England squad, and will now do the same at club level too.”

Kirsty Harris has become the latest talented player to progress through the Team Bath Netball youth ranks and into the Superleague squad after being selected for the 2021 season.

The 21-year-old wing attack, from Swindon, first joined Team Bath’s prolific Academy pathway programme in 2015 and has worn their famous colours at U17, U19 and U21 level, as well as represent the University of Bath in BUCS [British Universities & Colleges Sport] competition while studying Sports Performance.

She was a training associate with the Superleague squad during the 2020 season and this week was told she would be making the next step up for the forthcoming campaign.

“I am very happy and very excited to be given this opportunity, it’s going to be amazing,” said Harris, who will be a familiar face to many young netballers in the South West region after leading coaching camps with both Team Bath Netball and Team Bath Tribe.

“I intend to enjoy every moment and can’t wait to learn from some of the best players in the country.”

Among her squad mates is Rachel Shaw, who also plays wing attack and is coach of the University’s BUCS team that Harris represented for two years before graduating this summer.

“It has been really helpful to be coached by Rachel and then watch how she applies that to her own performances on court,” said Harris, who has recently started work as an assistant PE teacher at St Helen & St Katharine School in Abingdon, Oxfordshire.

“I also played alongside Imogen Allison, Sophie Drakeford-Lewis, Chartie Curtis and Tash Pavelin in the BUCS team, all of whom are in the Superleague squad, so it’s good to have built those friendships and on-court links too.”

Anna Stembridge, Team Bath Netball Superleague Head Coach, said: QUOTE

Bath Netball is supported by its Principal Partner, chartered accountants Haines Watts, who are also a pathway partner, and by Rengen Developments and Centurion Chartered Financial Planners. O’Neills are Team Bath’s official kit supplier.

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