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Mia Ritchie at Vitality Netball Superleague Season Opener 2020.

Team Bath Netball legend Mia Ritchie has returned to squad for the final month of the Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) 2021 season after being named as an injury replacement for Jess Shaw.

The vastly-experienced mid-courter was a key player for Team Bath for 11 consecutive Superleague seasons before taking time out this year to focus on personal and professional development off court.

Ritchie has made six senior appearances for England – making her debut against Barbados in 2012 – and helped Team Bath Netball to their last title back in 2013.

The 31-year-old has been back in training since April, though, and is today confirmed in the Blue & Gold’s 15-strong squad for the two remaining rounds of the regular VNSL season – against Saracens Mavericks on Sunday and Loughborough Lightning on 21 June – plus the finals weekend on June 26-27.

Anna Stembridge, Team Bath Netball’s Head Coach, said: “We are delighted to welcome Mia back into the squad and to be able to call on her experience and expertise at such an important stage of the season.

“We have followed a really thorough and robust return to training programme with Mia, although she has been keeping fit during her time out and is looking in really good shape. She has returned seamlessly, reigniting connections with players like Imogen Allison and Kim Borger.

“Mia is Blue & Gold through and through, she understands what we are about as a club and she knows what she can bring to the squad in the coming weeks. She knows there is no guarantee she will be selected for our match-day 12 as the squad has been performing well, connections have built and a number of younger athletes have really flourished this season.

“However, Mia’s attitude is, and has always been, ‘team first’ and ‘I am here if you need me’, and for that we are really lucky to have her as part of our squad again.”

Stembridge was also keen to praise training associates Georgia Jenkins, Anya Le Monnier and Elisha New for their contribution to Team Bath’s impressive season, saying: “Their commitment and contribution to our training environment has been outstanding, they’ve played a huge part in our success to date.”

Team Bath return to London’s Copper Box Arena on Sunday at 16:00 to face a Mavericks side locked in a four-way battle for the last remaining place in the semi-finals.

“These are the kind of games we want at this stage,” said Stembridge. “Mavs have everything to play for and we know first-hand what a threat they can be, having beaten us earlier on in the season. They brought their A game that day and deserved the win but I think we have really built since then and are really enjoying the brand of netball we are playing.

“Like every week, we have done our analysis and have looked at the key areas of the game we need to address, and to be honest, one of the things that I am most proud of this year is how the team owns the game plan as much as the coaches. This gives them confidence and clarity on match day to execute our plan on court.”

Ritchie could make her return against Saracens Mavericks on Sunday which you can watch live and for free on Sky Sports’ YouTube channel here.

Tickets are still available for Monday’s fixtures which you can by here.

Make sure you’re following @NetballSL on Twitter and Instagram. You can also sign up for the VNSL Newsletter to stay up to date with news, tickets and transfers!

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