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BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 06: Anna Stembridge, Head Coach of Team Bath reacts during the Vitality Netball Superleage 2022 Round 1 Match Team Bath and London Pulse between at Resorts World Arena on February 06, 2022 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Morgan Harlow/Getty Images)

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 06: Anna Stembridge, Head Coach of Team Bath reacts during the Vitality Netball Superleage 2022 Round 1 Match Team Bath and London Pulse between at Resorts World Arena on February 06, 2022 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Morgan Harlow/Getty Images)

Team Bath Netball Head Coach Anna Stembridge has today announced that she is stepping away from Superleague coaching at the end of the 2022 season for personal reasons.

The former England Roses coach, one of the most respected coaches in the game, is in her second spell with the Haines Watts-sponsored Blue & Gold having also been a player in the pre-Superleague Super Cup-winning squad.

Her two-decade association with Team Bath meant it was not an easy decision to step away, said Stembridge, but she believes the timing is right both personally and for the club as they look to appoint a successor with plenty of time to plan for the 2023 season.

“It’s obviously been really hard because I absolutely love coaching here at Team Bath and working with the players and staff but it’s the right decision for me and my family,” she said. “I want to be at home more with my young family and I also have the pressing demand of finishing my PhD at Cardiff Met University.

“It’s really important to stress that this will not affect our intent for the rest of the season and we remain focussed on our mission to make the top four. I know we will throw everything we can at making the play-offs. We’ve got a lot of minutes still to play and, as we saw at the weekend, we are starting to build some great form.”

Stembridge, a Welsh international as a player, first coached Team Bath from 2008-2010 in partnership with current England Head Coach Jess Thirlby, winning two Superleague titles. She then coached England for four years, guiding the Roses to a first-ever series whitewash of Australia, before returning to the Blue & Gold in 2015.

Team Bath have qualified for the play-offs every year since and reached their first Grand Final since 2013 last season. They also won the British Fast5 All-Stars Championship for a first time in October 2021 and currently sit third in the 2022 Vitality Netball Superleague table.

“I’m heavily invested in Team Bath and to step away from something I absolutely love doing is going to be difficult,” said Stembridge. “It’s such a humbling experience to be part of such a great club with such amazing history.

“I would like to think I have made a positive contribution to the environment and helped the individuals within it, whether that is players, fellow coaches or support staff. I am very proud to have been part of the fabric here and I hope I am leaving the club not just in a better place but one where it can continue to flourish and grow. I look at some of the youngsters coming through our pathway and know the future of the Blue & Gold is in a really good place.”

Alicia John, Team Bath Franchise Manager, said: “We support Anna’s decision and wish her well in this next chapter. She is an exceptional coach and well worthy of the respect that players and coaches around the world have for her.

“We are grateful for the total commitment and dedication she has shown to the Blue & Gold, particularly with the extra challenges presented over the past couple of years.

“Whilst preparations for the future will begin in the background, we remain firmly focussed on supporting Anna and the team in the pursuit of a top-four spot this season.”

As well as the Head Coach role, Team Bath are also looking to recruit a Student Performance Programme Lead to work with the University of Bath student netball programme. Applications for both roles will go live on Wednesday 20th April, with further details available at netball.teambath.com.

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