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Izzi Phillips revelling in meteroic rise with London Pulse

Izzi Phillips missed out on tickets to last year’s sold-out Netball Super League Grand Final but now she is pulling the strings of London Pulse to ensure she will be there on the court this year.

With maturity beyond her years and the backing of Pulse director of netball Sam Bird, the 17-year-old’s rise over the past 12 months has been nothing short of meteoric.

But it has not all been plain sailing for the A-Level student, who returned to netball at the start of last season after recovering from a career-jeopardising broken leg.

The mid-courter admitted her call up to Pulse’s 12 came as a huge shock but a seamless transition has made her look right at home in the starting seven.

She said: “Sam texted me saying she was going to call me in a few hours. I was thinking, ‘What is this cryptic message, what does it mean?’.

“I thought there would be a training partner role on the line – when I had that call I had no idea and said yes before I’d even thought anything through.

“I’m not naïve to the fact that it is a big step up but the fact that she saw my ability and my talent meant so much.

“I was out for a good seven months with my leg and I was constantly around that netball environment.

“Seeing everyone playing and progressing while I was on the sidelines was hard, I’m one of those people that wants to be up there doing everything I can.

“It makes it so much sweeter coming off the back of an injury and 12 months later being in the place I am now – when I look back the growth is genuinely insane.”

After Phillips sits her first A-Level exam in May, she will hop straight on a plane with Pulse and travel to Glasgow to play Strathclyde Sirens.

It would seem a daunting task to most but the starlet feels a huge sense of comfort in being with the club she been with since the age of 13.

An undefeated season as captain of the under-19s, her first international cap and a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Trinidad & Tobago has given Phillips all the confidence required.

She said: “This season I went in with no expectations, if I got no opportunity on the court, my goal was just to do as much as I could.

“Coming on in the second half of that Thunder game for my debut, I was just saying to myself to take those opportunities.

“The idea that I’m part of building Pulse’s legacy and getting us to a place like that is great and it has inspired me every game.

“Coming into the 12 I’ve automatically been taken under their wing. They’re so supportive and I can go to them for anything.

“I’ve seen the likes of Liv (Tchine) and Funmi (Fadoju) who have also been in this club for such a long time, they’re people I’ve always strived to be like.”

And Phillips is by no means just making up the numbers.

Three starts so far in the league means she has been a crutch for Pulse at centre and a pivotal figure to play alongside, and stand in the absence of, Jade Clarke.

While the youngster is unimpressed at times with some of her designated roles within the team, Phillips is revelling in being part of the club’s family.

She said: “I’ve definitely been labelled the baby of the team, not by choice but I’ve had to take a few hits being the young one.

“We’ve got this huge dice we roll for our forfeits and no one wants to take it home.

“Instantly people were like “Izzi, you’re the youngest you’re going to have to take it”.

“It’s that idea though that we’re all one family.

“A lot of us are homegrown and have come through the Pulse pathways but we also have so many people from all different parts of the country and the world.

“It adds so much because not only do we have London as a key part of our identity but we acknowledge everyone’s different style of play.

“We always have a bit of that extra flare because of that.”

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Image: Megan Ewans

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