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Jess Shaw of Team Bath.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 27: Rachel Shaw of Team Bath holds the ball during the Vitality Netball Super League Grand Final match between Team Bath and Loughborough Lightning at Copper Box Arena on June 27, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Chloe Knott/Getty Images for England Netball)

Rachel Shaw is eyeing a trophy double as she goes into her ninth Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) season with Team Bath Netball.

As well as targeting the Superleague crown with the Haines Watts-sponsored Blue & Gold, the influential wing-attack is also coach of the University of Bath’s talented student squad who are returning to BUCS [British Universities & Colleges Sport] competition this week after a year out.

“This is my ninth season with Team Bath and I’m just as excited as the first season I stepped out in the Blue and Gold, I can’t wait to get going,” said England international Shaw, an instrumental figure in attack for Team Bath, also backed by Rengen, and the second player to recommit to the club for 2022 alongside shooter and close friend Kim Borger.

“It was great to get so close to the gold last season and we want to take the next step this year. We’re quite hard on ourselves here at Bath, we always want more which is what you have to do when you are striving to be the best in the league.

“There were a few little cracks which stopped us getting the gold medal but we’ll figure out what didn’t get us over the line, refine some things and really concentrate on those improvements.

“Some of the younger players will be a lot more confident taking the bibs this year too. Last season we started to show versatility with the different combinations we can put out and some developing players really started to come into their own.

“I can’t wait to see players like that stepping up again this season. It takes time for units to fully click but I think this year will be when we see the whole starting seven flow.”

Full pre-season training begins this week for the Superleague players but the student squad that Shaw coaches have been hard at work for the past month ahead of their season opener against Cardiff Met at the Team Bath Sports Training Village on Wednesday 6 October.

“It’s excellent to have BUCS netball back,” said Shaw. “We have been fortunate enough to continue our netball at Superleague level but some of the girls have missed out on 18 months of matches.

“We have got a nice cohort of freshers, a lot of whom you will hopefully see in the Blue & Gold of Team Bath for the U19s and U21s. It’s an exciting young group and I’m really excited to see what I can do with this group. I want to win the BUCS and Superleague this year.”

Shaw is also excited for the return of Superleague matches to the Team Bath Arena, with the 2022 season reverting to a traditional home and away format after last season’s Covid-enforced centralised venue system.

“It’s great to have your home fans there supporting you and cheering you,” she said. “There are going to be a lot of tight games this season and the fans are our eighth player, walking out and hearing those cheers really gets you going.

“Interacting with the fans is one of the things we like the most. There are loads of girls who are striving to better their netball careers and dream of stepping out in Superleague, and it’s great to chat to them before and after games, show them what they can be and hopefully be their role models.”

Tickets for the 2022 Superleague season will then go on sale later this month. More information will be available at netball.teambath.com/tickets.

Team Bath Netball is supported by its Principal and Pathway Partner, chartered accountants Haines Watts; Rengen Developments, who are an overall Team Bath Partner; Centurion Chartered Financial Planners and Ecus Ltd, our environment partner. Team Bath’s suppliers include O’Neills, 2XU, Pulseroll and Halo Hydration.

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